Your typical waking day has about 1,000 minutes, as blogger Tim Urban writes in Wait But Why. Urban loves to analyse his time by breaking it into chunks, to
Tagged With time tracker
Windows/Mac OS X only: Time tracking application TimeEdition tracks your time in a dead-simple and attractive interface that saves your progress to Google Calendar for accessible-from-anywhere results. Using the application is as simple as entering in customer, project, and task details using the drop-down controls and clicking the Start recording button. Your data is tracked across all projects and can be exported in Excel or iCal format—but the real beauty is found in the options panel, where you can choose to sync your activity with Outlook, iCal, or even Google Calendar. Unlike the previously mentioned gCalTasks gadget that only runs in the Vista sidebar, this application lives in your system tray—with an easy-access context menu that can switch between projects on the fly. TimeEdition is free and open source, works on Windows or Mac. Thanks, Tim Stiffler-Dean!
Just-released webapp Freckle isn't, as it proclaims, a whole-cloth re-thinking of time tracking, billing, and client management, but it is refreshingly light, agile, and easy to get into. Like Remember the Milk and other text-aware apps, it doesn't require learning an entirely new input system, but knows that "1h35m" and "1:35" mean the same thing. The AJAX-saturated interface requires very few refreshes, and the smart tagging system works well for those who tend to "organise" on the fly. The fleshed-out version of Freckle isn't free, but they do offer 30-day trials on any account type, along with a very limited free account. Walk through screenshots and analysis of using Freckle for organizing billable hours and client work below.
Based on the Emergent Task Timer worksheets from David Seah, BubbleTimer is a quick and easy to use web application for budgeting, tracking and working towards time management goals. Set up a series of activities, such as work, physical activity, entertainment and personal projects and click to fill in the bubbles representing fifteen minute periods of time. As priorities change or you end up spending time on one task instead of another, you can change a selection from one activity to another. At the end of the timeline are targets you can set, such as more reading or time at work and less time playing video games or watching television, and the goal will change from red to green (and vice-versa) as you live up or down to your personal goals. Export the data, share it with a colleague or print out a copy to carry with you throughout the day. BubbleTimer is free to try for two weeks with registration, with a subscription costing $US20 a year.
Windows only: See how much time you spend instant messaging friends and crafting PowerPoint presentations with time tracker app JournalLive. JournalLive logs everything you do on a computer, from gaming to email, including who you communicate with and what documents you're working on in applications. It automatically generates all sorts of reports for tracking productivity on the web site, including timesheets—perfect for keeping recording billable hours. The pro edition allows managers to track employees, presumably so hard workers can be recognised and shirkers sent to human resources for a stern lecture. The personal edition is free, the professional edition costs €10 per user, for Windows only. Thanks, owenconnor666!
Windows only: Computer activity logger TimeSnapper takes screenshots of your computer desktop every few seconds as you work throughout the day. Then, you can play back your computer activity to calculate the amount of time you spent on certain tasks—great for filling out timesheets or just getting the hard numbers on how much of the day you burned reading celebrity gossip or, ahem, productivity blogs. The Pro version of TimeSnapper (which is not free), lets you assign certain a productivity score on apps you work in, and will run reports that show your productivity scorecard. A free version of the software, TimeSnapper Classic has fewer features than TimeSnapper Pro, which costs $US20 for a single licence, with a free trial available. TimeSnapper is available for Windows only.
US-centric: Now you can truly see why our commenters dubbed Python the programming language that "can do anything." One intrepid (and hungry) hacker, possibly named Nick Jensen, put together a small script that tracks Domino's Pizza orders from phone call to doorbell ring. Download and launch the script (with instructions at the link), plug in your phone number, and you don't have to get up until that cheese-covered saucer is at the door. It's just another true sign of how life-changing the command line can really be. Thanks, HowToGeek! dominos.py
Windows/Mac/Linux (Adobe Air): Klok, a free time and project-tracking app for the Adobe Air platform, is a great time-tracking solution for multi-platform users, as well as anyone who likes to keep it simple. Simple projects allow you to simply create and describe time entries on a drag-and-adjust grid, or use a template like "Web project" to automatically create sub-categories of HTML, design, text, and the like. You can also use Klok as a work timer using the "Work On" button, and export reports and invoices for clients. Klok is a free download for any system running the Adobe Air platform.
Tempo isn't the first or only web-based project tracker, but it conforms pretty well to whatever methods you prefer for entering and receiving data—email, Twitter and SMS messages, mobile or desktop browsers, or even RSS feeds. The site is geared toward those tracking personal or group time spent on particular clients, with a tag-based tracking system and all the graph and chart-y goodness you'd expect out of a data-rich site. Tempo is free to use in its "Adagio" version for one worker and one client, $5-$49 per month for incremental versions after that. Tempo
Windows/Mac/Linux (Firefox): Browsing tracker 8aweek is strikingly similar to previously mentioned extension RescueTime, but with two notable differences. First, it focuses only on your web habits, leaving out the desktop app measurement of RescueTime that might not have mattered to those who know their procrastination lies in the wilds of HTML Land. Secondly, 8aweek's preferences are set at the program's site, allowing you to impose a timer on your own list of "Restricted" sites on any browser you use. I'm not a huge fan of browser toolbars, like the one 8aweek throws on to give you quick access to your stats, but you could bypass them with a few links to your 8aweek account. For those looking for a simple cross-system procrastination buster, 8aweek could be an apt solution. 8aweek is a free download, works wherever Firefox does. 8aweek
Windows only: Free, open source application Personal Task Manager (PTM) tracks how you spend your time at the computer. The application is developed to look and feel a bit like the Windows Task Manager, but it's goal is to help you manage a completely different breed of tasks. As soon as you run PTM, it starts tracking what applications you're using and when you're not using your computer and logs all of that data to your database. Once it's been running for a bit, take a look at the mile-high stats and charts to get a better idea of how and where you're spending your computing time. PTM is basically an open source version of previously mentioned trackers like Slife and RescueTime, so if those looked useful to you, this one might be worth a glance. Thanks Manuel! PTM, Personal Task Manager
Windows and Mac OS X: Previously featured Slife, a time management application that shows you exactly how you've spent your time on your computer, has released a beta version for Windows XP and later. As with the Mac version, tracking more than three applications at once requires a $34 license purchase, but one license can enable both Mac and Windows versions of Slife. The Windows tracker can supposedly track any program simply by launching it after Slife, but I had trouble (in Windows Vista Home Premium) getting Slife to recognize anything beyond the default Firefox, Internet Explorer and iTunes—perhaps some of our commenters can let us know how it works on their systems. Slife's basic versions are free downloads for Mac OS X or Windows XP or later; Windows requires version 1.1 or later of the .NET framework installed.
Windows only: Free software site Donation Coder challenged its code-savvy users in November to write small, simple programs that help users better manage their time and tasks. The results are in, they're free, and some of them look really darn useful. Evaluweight, for instance, helps make decisions by providing a customizable grid with weighted factors. AnotherOneDone is a tiny window that simply keeps track of how much of anything you have to do, how much you've done, and how many remain, while Interruptron helps you track when and why you get distracted from your work. All of the programs are free downloads for Windows 98 and later, and each requests that you consider throwing a few bucks the author's way.
Getting Organized Experiment Programs 2007
A new version of the Activity Tracker gadget has been released for the iGoogle homepage. I've mentioned Activity Tracker before when I used it to conduct a time audit of the working week.Notable new features include the ability to expand and collapse your task list (see picture), the ability to drag and drop your tasks to rearrange them, and the ability to add notes to each activity log. You can also edit the activity logs. The full list of new features is here.
For the multi-tasking amongst us, the developer mentioned a cute way to track 2 tasks at once: Add Activity Tracker on another tab and you should be able to have 2 Activity Trackers running on 2 tabs.
We've previously highlighted unnecessary meetings as a workplace practice that should be over, but not all of us call the shots. For those brave enough to point out the cost of unnecessary meetings, or look at the cost of their own time, salary comparison website PayScale offers the free webapp Meeting Miser. The in-browser timer uses actual or estimated salaries of everyone in the room to tally up the cost of a meeting by the second, the minute, or in total. There are lots of personal timers with more functionality out there, but Meeting Miser's narrow time = money focus makes for a persuasive argument. Meeting Miser is free to use, but requires a PayScale registration to save meetings for later reference.