Use Good and Geeky ways to Track your Time

Time tracking

Hours App

I got my hands on the application called Hours. I saw it because someone was looking for recommendations for applications to track time. This application is from a developer that also produces invoicing software (FreshBooks) and this app is to help people who charge by the hour. I have only used it for a short while, but it looks like it could be quite useful to help me track the amount of time I spend with my writing. You start the timer when you are ready to do the work. It is possible it seems, to input a session later if you’ve forgotten at the time you started. All you have to do it to tap on an empty space on the timeline and it will put in an hour long block. Tap on a running block to adjust the starting time or on a completed block to change the beginning and the end times. It’s also possible to have the application give you reminders to set a timer. I can set myself a timer for 10 o’clock in the morning to remind myself to sit down and write.

Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro TimerI could be using the iOS application 30/30 or the Pomodoro application on my Mac to do something similar, but I never seem to remember to switch those on. I’m not sure if they will keep a record of the time that has been spent with it or is it just there to set yourself up for working specific periods. I still like the idea of using one of those applications anyway. Do the 25 minutes work followed by 5 minutes off and then back to the work for another 25 minutes. Keeping this up until the task is completed. Another Pomodoro technique is to have a 20 minute break after for pomodoros have been completed. The way things are going I will have timers and fancy ways of working coming out of the Wazoo and will I be any better organised – It remains to be seen. Have to give it a try though…

Reports from the timer app – Hours

Hours app time tracker

With the Hours application you get it to give you reports. You have a monthly, weekly, yearly and a past 30 days report. It is also possible to have a report for a custom period or for all time. This can be emailed out as a PDF or as .CSV file. It would be nice if it was also possible to do a share out so I could look at the data in a Numbers spreadsheet application, for example. There are a few settings to play with, either 12 hour time or 24-hour time and you can choose to have either hours and minutes or decimals. I think it would be confusing to use decimals when referring to time. You might use decimals if you have to do spreadsheet calculations and 1.5 will work better than hour and thirty minutes for the sums. There are some rounding rules, such as to snap to a certain number of minutes, the smallest being one minute, then five minutes and six minutes. The default seems to be at 15 minutes. I have mine set to 6 minutes, just to be awkward! It is also possible to have notes per time block either switched on or off. When it is switched on, a note can be added per individual time block. When it is switched off you only get one note per day. Geeks like to do it automatically.

Setting reminders

You don’t have to have reminders every day of the week. You could just have reminders for the weekdays. Perfect if you’re using this within work and you don’t work at the weekends. There are three different settings for reminders – The first one will remind you if you haven’t set a reminder by a certain time. I have my set for 9 o’clock in the morning which is my time to go and walk the dog before I start writing. It’s possible to have a reminder to turn any timer off, if they are still running at a certain time during the day. So if you finish work at 6 o’clock, it will remind you that you should stop any timers still running. I work from home and so I decided to set my closing down reminder for 11 o’clock in the evening. If you haven’t been tracking time for a period and this could be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour or two hours, you’ll get a reminder to set yourself a timer and get back to work. Obviously, this is for during the work hours already set.

Hours 2

Hours Timer App is Easy to Use

Hours is a free application and I like the way it works. It’s easy to set a new timer by pressing the green button with a plus symbol in the middle. Give the timer a name and choose a colour, then all you have to do is to tap on the grey clock symbol next to the name of the timer and off it goes. You can only have one timer running at a time which seems reasonable as you can only do one thing at a time unless you’re one of those superwomen. (Multi-tasking is a myth for us ordinary humans.) Set things up for the basic tasks or projects you’re working on and change from the timers you’ve set up, one to another as you need to during the day. So I could have a timer for dog walking, a timer for writing on blogs, a timer for writing for books, another timer for working with photographs and another timer I’ll use for learning stuff. I’ll change from one project to another to keep a proper track of time I spend doing various things during the day. All I need to do is to get into the habit of switching from one timer to another as the day goes by. It would be quite easy to set the timer running first thing in the morning and then to forget about it. So as I change from one task to another it will be as if I’m only recording one thing. At the end of the day I will be kicking myself for not switching timers off or changing to another as I was going through my work during the day. I think that’s going to be the hardest part of using this application, but I like what I see so far. Hours app is definitely worth a try if you want to keep track of your tasks during the day.

Hours App - Tracking time

One More Thing

The Hours app also works with the Apple Watch. So that should make it a little easier and quicker for me to start one of my timers. Now every time I leave the house I will be speaking to my watch to say to Siri – Start Walking Workout and then I will speak to us again to set the timer for dog walking. It’s a good job I live in a quiet neighbourhood otherwise people will be thinking I’ve gone crazy.