Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 06, 2016, 02:18:15 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: time/activity tracking tool  (Read 3150 times)

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
time/activity tracking tool
« on: February 02, 2012, 05:09:21 PM »
this is less a request for a finished tool than it is for some input or discussion on how this might be done (a collaborative snack, if you will)

I have a requirement to track my activities during the day (I'm sure I'm not the only one), trouble is, my record keeping is undisciplined (at best) and I'm most assuredly not someone who can keep a diary or journal.

I have been using a little script that generates a simple popup every 5 minutes, allowing me to input a quick descriptive string of whatever it is I'm currently doing, which is then written to a log file. 

This works fine as far as it goes, but I now have a requirement to capture a little more info for some activity types, and I need to be able to record multiple concurrent jobs...

I've been working on a more sophisticated popup, but it's starting to become a bit more complicated than I was anticipating - basically it provides all the requisite detail for up to 3 tasks and with the output for each to be written as a separate entry in the log.  Trouble here is that I have no idea how to manage the analysis/processing of the logs, ie how to group the task entries together

I've also been wondering about the potential of using delimited strings (eg date/time - task 1 | task 2 | Task 3 | etc), but again analysing and/or processing the output could be problematic

I'm not ruling out an existing solution, if anyone knows one, but I've tried quite a few over the years (guilted into it by various posts banging on about GTD and productivity) and none of them do what I'm looking for (I suppose if they did I wouldn't be here now...)

so, over to you guys

Ath

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,779
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: time/activity tracking tool
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2012, 05:20:31 PM »
I've been running (that's different from using...) ManicTime Tracker, just to record what applications I've been using. I still have to get to the part where I analyze my day/week... :o

And today in some list I saw this Kapow Punch Clock mentioned. (Not really looked at yet, but it's GPL open source, so you can improve it yourself if you like)

Combining that data could get you on track, perhaps?

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: time/activity tracking tool
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2012, 05:39:00 PM »
thanks for the suggestions :Thmbsup:

I've tried a few apps like manic time, but they're not really what I'm looking for - I don't really have a need to track my application usage.  It would include a lot of irrelevant data, and the apps I use routinely are common between activities, so allocating or identifying tasks becomes difficult and/or onerous (something I'm trying to avoid...)

Likewise punch clock type apps.  While they would probably fit the bill, the requirement for me to punch in and out of each task si something I can't guarantee (it's effectively a digital diary).

I'm trying to keep this as simple as possible, and I'd really like to stick with a prompt as that seems to be the only way I can 'guarantee' I'll use/maintain it :-[

PhilB66

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,522
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: time/activity tracking tool
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 07:13:17 PM »

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: time/activity tracking tool
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 07:37:36 PM »
Anuran? http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=20965.0

hmmm, it pretty much does exactly what I'm already doing, albeit with some extra functionality.  It still doesn't allow for multiple concurrent tasks, and you have to make an entry every time (my script prompts with the last entry - if it changes you can just overwrite it)

I'll have a bit of a game with this one and see whether or not I can make it fit...

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: time/activity tracking tool
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 06:28:34 PM »
On the offchance that this is of interest/value to someone else here is 'a' solution (not necessarily 'the' solution)

the script generates up to four popups to enable you to track up to 4 (:huh:) concurrent tasks or activites (this seemed like a reasonable number, plus it was the maximum number that would fit comfortably on my netbook screen)

Screenshot.pngtime/activity tracking tool

first popup is generated on startup, and additional 'tasks' can be added via a hotkey (WIN+1 or WIN+NUMPAD1, and up to a maximum of 4 at any one time) .

each popup displays the task number and the start time in the title bar, and both the duration of that task (in minutes) and the current time in the status bar

Pressing continue hides the window for 5 minutes (after which it reappears)

Pressing Done cancels the window (task) and writes a log entry in the format "DD/MM/YY HH:MM (Duration) - content of the edit box" (the log file is in the same folder as the script/exe).  If the edit box is empty no log entry is written.

There is a 'lunch' hot key as well (WIN+0 or WIN+NUMPAD0) - invoke the hotkey and all tasks are hidden for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes all active tasks are shown, AND the durations adjusted to allow for the 'lunch break'.

Worth noting that by definition this is nagware - that is to say that there will ALWAYS be at least one task window active, ie close all the active tasks and a fresh (blank) task will be presented.  Note that you don't actually have to enter anything for the task to run, but if you don't no log entry will be raised.

The title for this is fairly nominal 'cos I couldn't think of anything better that wasn't already in use - it's an acronym for Damned if You Do...

edit: adjusted screenshot size...
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 06:36:49 PM by Target »

PhilB66

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,522
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: time/activity tracking tool
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2012, 07:30:04 PM »
Damned if You Do = DIYD

The extra 'F' stands for ?

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,605
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: time/activity tracking tool
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 07:41:54 PM »
Damned if You Do = DIYD

The extra 'F' stands for ?

dyslexia...