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Author Topic: Best way to track the time you spend on each project  (Read 19296 times)
mouser
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« on: November 11, 2007, 09:15:57 AM »

I think this has come up before, but i couldn't find a good thread on it.

I want to do a more orderly job of tracking how much time i spend on each project.

  • I'm not really interested in a program that detects which programs i have open and assigns specific programs to specific projects
  • I am interested in something that lets me really easily manually switch between projects
  • Something that gives me good visual feedback about what project i am working on.
  • Makes reports suitable for text copy and paste

Any suggestions?
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2007, 11:00:47 AM »

To help clarify what i'm interested in.. im more interested in properly billing people for time, rather than in figuring out what kinds of things i do on the computer.
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OGroeger
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2007, 11:08:00 AM »

I used Working Time Tracker. It is very flexible in reports and exports. I used the export to a csv file, than loaded the csv file into excel and from there using a Macro and "SendKeys" i moved the data to Navision, which was the company time tracker. :-)

Unfortunatly, the development seems to be dead.
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tranglos
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2007, 11:28:27 AM »

To help clarify what i'm interested in.. im more interested in properly billing people for time, rather than in figuring out what kinds of things i do on the computer.

For this purpose TimeSnapper (www.timesnapper.com) is apparently suitable - at least this was the design of the program and many people use it that way. Its basic function is periodically taking screenshots, which you can then replay as a kind of a slide-show to track what you were doing all day (or all year). This is supplemented with powerful reports and timesheets, so you can find out exactly how much time you spent working in a specific application. It will even run the screenshots through OCR, so you can extract text.

Overall, it's a very well-written utility, and actively developed. The support is instantaneous, pretty much like yours, mouser smiley I waited all of two minutes for a reply. Two things to watch out for:

1) it's a .Net application, take it or leave it;

2) It uses online activation. You get two license codes for installation on two machines. After that, if for example you ditch one computer and get another, you need to email them for a new set of codes. That was my support request they responded to within 2 minutes, but I must say I was already non-plussed at having to email them and _ask_ to regain use of software I'd paid for. Got to say also though that the author is a really sweet guy, and though I had a rant ready to be written, after the quick and corteous response from him I wasn't going to give him any hard time about the licensing scheme - though it is a bad idea.

I don't think TimeSnapper will do any project management for you, but it will automate tracking the time spent very well.

.marek
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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2007, 11:32:49 AM »

TimeSnapper is indeed a nice looking program.. i keep wondering if i should make a similar simpler program out of my screenshot captor code.

However, i think that would be more appropriate for someone wanting to see a complete look at how they spend all their time.. I'm more interested in something where i can quickly click on tray to say "i'm working on project X now" and then "i've stopped working on project X" etc.
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tinjaw
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2007, 11:52:59 AM »

I don't know off-hand, but I would start with...

David Seah - Doing Time in Excel
http://davidseah.com/blog/doing-time-in-excel/

and in general...

David Seah - The Printable CEO™ Series
http://davidseah.com/blog...the-printable-ceo-series/
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NigelH
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« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2007, 11:54:47 AM »

A little more expensive than TimeSnapper, but probaby more in line with what Mouser is looking for.
Really great tracking and billing features etc..
See Timeless Time & Expense
This is not as cheap as Timekeeper, however it's pretty good software for $49.
As there is interest in this category, perhaps they can be contacted regarding a discount for DC members.

Timeless Time & Expense
 http://www.magsoftwrx.com/singleuser.htm
http://www.magsoftwrx.com/screens.htm
http://www.magsoftwrx.com/featurecomparison.htm

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tomos
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« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2007, 12:06:01 PM »

To help clarify what i'm interested in.. im more interested in properly billing people for time, rather than in figuring out what kinds of things i do on the computer.

have a look at SQL-Notes (Beta) e.g.
http://sqlnotes.wikispaces.com/Time+tracking
http://www.donationcoder....c=10432.msg84924#msg84924
http://www.sqlnotes.net/

I'm only getting to grips with it but certainly has lots of potential (I think, once i figure it all out..)

I'm more interested in something where i can quickly click on tray to say "i'm working on project X now" and then "i've stopped working on project X" etc.

Skrommels TaskLog
http://www.donationcoder....rommel/index.html#TaskLog
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=4358.0

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Tom
mouser
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2007, 12:12:34 PM »

I knew there was a dc small utility to do this but couldn't remember which.. there might even be another from the NANY project.

Actually TaskLog is very close to what i'm looking for.
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mouser
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2007, 12:23:34 PM »

By the way this would be the perfect kind of utility for someone to code for the GOE Contest this month  thumbs up
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Arjen
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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2007, 02:09:20 PM »

Hey mouser,

Long time no see!

If I would adjust WorkCoach so you can also manually switch projects (instead of matching active program and title), would that be what you're looking for?

Greetings,
Arjen.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2007, 03:55:54 PM »

You can use ToDoList2 to do this.

Just put project name into the list and press the timer button. When you want to switch to another project, you just press the button on that. Or stop it when you want.

Lots of other stuff too, including links to all relevant info on a project & ability to keep notes.

Free.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2007, 04:02:21 PM by Dormouse » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2007, 04:03:34 PM »

WorkCoach! that's the other dc one i was thinking of!  Yeah manuall switch would be nice -- through a tray menu perhaps?

And thanks Dormouse - i have ToDoList installed but haven't gotten around to using it yet -- didn't realize it could do this.
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urlwolf
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2007, 08:20:49 AM »

maybe timeKeeper (abandonware!) may be worth a look?
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sri
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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2007, 08:33:29 AM »

http://rachota.sourceforge.net/en/index.html
http://goodimprovements.c.../software/gi-time-tracker
http://www.tickspot.com/
http://www.getcashboard.com/
http://www.slimtimer.com/
http://www.taskclerk.com/
http://www.toggl.com/
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ChalkTrauma
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2007, 12:04:46 PM »

I 2nd Dormouse for ToDoList2..

also with some creative XSLT work you can design some really nice reports and publish them as HTML.

« Last Edit: November 13, 2007, 10:36:05 AM by ChalkTrauma » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2007, 12:37:43 PM »

I used spherical time tracker - i think there are cheaper alternatives.

It worked because i cannot be bothered to press a button whenever I change tasks or the phone rings etc. and since this program spies it all, you can get a lot of your schedule automatically. Then as you map documents/folders/URLs to a particular project then 80% of your day is automatically accounted for and you only need to fill in the blanks

Prior to that I used above and beyond - it has a "start work on this" and "interruptions"  mode which helps record where time is spent. I liked the juggling of priorities it allows you to do (in pro mode) but I lacked the discipline to keep pressing the little buttons so I used it for planning and not reporting in the end.
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Jimdoria
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« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2007, 02:43:30 PM »

I've been using TaskCoach for this (open source - www.taskcoach.org) after evaluating a number of free alternatives.

I like the program so far. It's simple and direct with a decent UI. I like that it handles hierarchical task assignment, which maps pretty well to the way I need to report timesheet data for my company.

The detailed views get a bit busy after you've been using it for a while, but this could be because I dump everything into one big tracking file. Breaking things out into monthly files would cure this.

It's still a work in progress - I've seen a few bugs so far - but it's definitely usable in its current state, and is updated fairly often.

I've also been using the AbstractSpoon ToDoList2 that Dormouse recommended. I like it for its to-do features but somehow I didn't really take to its time tracking features. So I've wound up using the two apps side-by-side for different purposes. That's when I remember to use them at all  undecided
« Last Edit: November 14, 2007, 06:36:40 AM by Jimdoria » Logged

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Rohit
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« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2007, 05:00:09 AM »

Mouser,

If you haven't yet found what you were looking for, I strongly recommend Timeless Time and Expense from MAG SoftWrx. I think the software does all that you need, and is very polished to boot. You will probably find it worth the $50 price.

All the best!
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Nxqd3051990
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2008, 07:41:30 PM »

I'm looking for something free, thanks you guys for the list. I use tasklog now, it's very nice but I miss the graphical lag. not text log T.T
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« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2008, 07:10:22 AM »

Hi.

Does any of you guys di some counting of interrupts? I just stumbled across http://www.workingcogs.com/interruptron/ of which I liked the idea very much. Counting interruptions an undisturbed periods of work. But the GUI is somewhat flawed in disturbing other programs including itself. But the counting should in principle be possible with a good time tracking software also.
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« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2008, 10:17:27 AM »

What about keeping track of time in a wiki?
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PPLandry
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« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2008, 11:12:02 AM »

SQLNotes (thanks Tomos!) is a perfect tool to keep track of time spent on projects. You can view the work done by day/week/month, etc, you can filter on projects and view the work done chronologically or by project.

Supports equations to calculate time spent from start-stop times, cost, etc.

Also included is pivot tables/charts to compute the work done (and/or to be billed) per project, per month/year (Pivot requires Office 2000+ installed)

Detailed report of the work done is exportable as HTML and XLS for reporting
www.sqlnotes.net
http://sqlnotes.wikispaces.com/Time+tracking

Best of all, it is free while in beta. 1.0 release is planned in Q2 2008 with a very affordable $49.99 introductory price for a personal licence. (FYI I'm the main designer)
« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 09:13:35 PM by PPLandry » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2008, 02:27:03 PM »

http://www.taskclerk.com/

Hmmm, cannot really figure out how this is working. Deleting task only works part of the time, I cannot see any status or recording of times. Looks interesting and I will try some more, but I really am afraid that this is not a fully functional program.
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bardamu2000
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« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2008, 05:01:30 PM »


Alle except http://rachota.sourceforge.net/en/index.html, http://goodimprovements.c.../software/gi-time-tracker, and
http://www.taskclerk.com/ are web based. Which has some disadvantages

- You can only use them, when online.
- You have to download your data on a regular base or risk losing it.
- You will tell some organisation, what you are doing in your time (I don't want to do this.)
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