How I solved my time tracking problem
I’ve been struggling with finding the right time tracking tool that would suit my needs. When I start my work I often forget to start the time tracker, I keep forgetting to switch the tracking task when moving to something else, and I almost never happen to stop the tracker when I shut down the laptop. This has been keeping me away from tracking my time for a log time.
I started to track my time properly only three years ago. The shiny new iOS app Hours won favour with me for a brilliant and intuitive UI I’ve dreamed about for a long time, making it easy to adjust tasks and easily fix tracking mistakes I keep doing. But I lacked the Mac app, which was announced but never came, a web UI was made instead and was not satisfactory to me at all.
An obvious alternative was Toggl, one of the most widely used solution of this kind. A long-term problem with Toggl for me, however, is their Mac app made in Qt framework. I find it far from being intuitive and it doesn’t help me at all with correction of my tracking mistakes. I was recommended to try Harvest, which looks definitely more polished on Mac, but offers no real help with correction either.
Apps like Timing and Timely are way more advanced (and pricey), featuring automatic time tracking based on active applications which I don’t really need. Most of my time is spent in a single app (Xcode), but on different tasks and I also often track away-from-keyboard tasks like meetings.
Then, a year and a half ago, I found Tyme 2 for Mac and iOS. And have been really satisfied with it since. Vojto has summed up nicely the key features in his article, including one time purchase option, iCloud sync, calendar sync and exports, but I would like to put emphasis on features that help me with mistake correction.
First, it’s the great idle timer, which makes it very easy to decide what to do with away time. It’s even possible to put the idle time to completely different task, which I use a lot. The idle interval is configurable, as almost everything in the app.
Another handy feature is the menubar tool that shows the current task and spent time, tapping on it allows to switch the task and even turn back start time easily (when forgot to start it) or stop the task x minutes ago (when forgot to stop it). I use this literally all the time.
The final piece of the puzzle for me was the synchronization of time entries tracked in Tyme 2. In company I work for they use Toggl, but remember, I dislike their Mac app. That’s why I wrote an Applescript script to synchronize time entries from Tyme 2 to Toggl automatically.
I’m really happy with my current solution, making it easy for me to do time tracking while allowing the company to have my data in sync. Do you know about any other Mac app that does time tracking well and makes it easy to correct tracking mistakes? Let me know!