An app to quickly track time on projects, and at which hours?
January 13, 2021 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by this twitter thread on how even innocent after hours 'free' work can spiral/support crunching, my new years resolution is to put a halt to mine. Im looking for an app that will help me be more mindful, with v quick entry by project (4). There are hundreds of apps out there and this is not exactly time management but more mindfulness of time spent. Perhaps a goal setting app would work? any iphone app suggestions?

My formal work hours are 37, but I guess Im spending far, far above that and at crazy hours of the day. Because these happen in short increments also outside of normal work hours, and because I was passionate about my work, I have long ignored that time spent... recently however my enjoyment of the work has fallen sharply, and my quality of life/recreation/fitness time has been decimated. Im determined to get it back!

My aim is increased productivity/more genuine 'worry free' leisure time by being more attentive to actual time spent /when time is spent and by graphing it out over a set period of time (say a 2 month trial) is to become more realistic in time management and also better at governing time management habits. I also need to cut off all the free labor I am giving my workplace because I am not being disciplined about when and how long I respond when something arises.

Quick entry of time would be very useful- for example I have seen apps that you can 'pop' a bubble for each glass of water you drink (as a goal). Is there something similar that would help me look back at a graph at the end of each week? I

I have an iphone, I love the pomodoro method, I use outlook for scheduling appointments with others but not for my own time planning in advance. The app I am looking for at this point is more a tool for mindfulness of how/when/on which projects Im spending time, by looking graphically and accurately at those hours in retrospect.

App suggestions and techniques to govern the 'free labor' given to the workplace are both very welcome!
posted by iiniisfree to Technology (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
One thing I use for this is - I have a physical 8-sided widget that sits on my desk and I rotate it for each task/project I'm on. It forces me to do a thing in the actual physical world each time I start and end a task, which helps me be more mindful of it, and makes the start/stop feel more... concrete.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:07 PM on January 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

This is sort of the holy grail for all of us who are billable in 15m increments. There was a thread here within...time has no meaning anymore, but probably between November and Now, in which several people all agreed one specific tool was especially good for this.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:20 PM on January 13, 2021

Toggl might do it.
posted by jmfitch at 12:34 PM on January 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

Completely agree with the Toggl suggestion. As easy as it gets. @Tomorrowful, I love that idea of tying the changing of tasks to a physical object, and will be picking that up myself!
posted by sonofsnark at 2:59 PM on January 13, 2021

Nthng Toggl. I used the free version for years -- may still be available.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 5:08 PM on January 13, 2021

I once forgot to turn toggl off. It later claimed I had spent 75 consecutive hours on a project. No. If I wanted to remember to turn stuff on/off, it would almost be just as easy to write stuff down, which is how I used to do it. At some point, I came across an app meant for lawyers, which would record the title of the document or screen you had up every few minutes, and keep time that way. I was very intrigued by it but I didn't was to pay SAAS; I also didn't want an outside company keeping track of my time. Then I stumbled upon Qbserve, which does the same thing, but for a one-time fee. It's set up to track your hours 24 hours a day, as well as put your totals into a folder you specify. Barring project renaming and so on, you never have to think about it. The developer keeps it very updated, and it's sort of my ideal. Bonus, I actually corresponded with the developer briefly, and he was a great guy. I think it may only be for Macs, but if you've got one I highly recommend it.
posted by Violet Blue at 7:03 PM on January 13, 2021 [2 favorites]

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