A Punch Clock App for Your Writer’s Office

2015-06-17 Clock fleur de lisHere we go – the latest installment in my forever-ongoing series on time management. I found the coolest new tool to help keep me on track – one of my favorite hacks yet!

It’s an app for your smartphone called, simply, Time Recording. It basically works like a punch clock – but with lots of other features that help you track how you’re spending your time.

Checking In, Checking Out

Screenshot_2015-09-27-09-27-35 Check In Check OutIt’s most basic feature is to simply clock in and out with the push of a button. The screen will tell you what time you clocked in, how much time has run since then, and how many hours you’ve clocked total for the day.

Forgot to clock in or out? No problem! The app makes it easy to edit your hours with the “Add Check In” and “Add Check Out” buttons.

Task Tracking

Screenshot_2015-09-26-21-23-38 Tasks HighlightedThis has got to be one of my favorite parts about the app. Not only can you track your hours, but you can also track what exactly you were working on during those hours. For instance, the app is running right now as I write this, and I have the task tagged as “Blogging.”

The task tracking feature gets even better, but I’ll elaborate on that later.

Work Unit Notes

Maybe tagging your hours with a particular task isn’t enough. Yes, yes, I’m blogging. But which blog am I blogging on? (I have two.) If I want to be more specific about what I’ve been working on, all I have to do is tap the little notebook icon, and it brings up a window where I can wax eloquent on what I’ve been up to.

Screenshot_2015-09-26-21-23-38 Work Unit Notes Highlighted Screenshot_2015-09-26-21-25-25 Work Unit Notes Dialogue Box

Data and Number-Crunching

This is where it starts getting REALLY good.

So you’ve put in your hours for the day. Or the week. Or the month. There’s a bar across the bottom (labeled “day,” “week,” and “month” where you can review the hours you’ve put in. Once those tabs are open, you can choose which day, week, and month you want to review.

Two of these tabs have some special features:

  • Both “Week” and “Month” will let you organize your work according to “task.” (So yes, use that “task” label!)
  • “Month” will tell you, at the very bottom, the average number of hours you work per day.

And then there’s my FAVORITE feature. The Task Matrix.

Under “Day,” “Week,” and “Month,” you can click on “Task Matrix.” This will break down your hours according to task, telling you not only how many hours you spent on each task in the given time-frame, but what percentage of your time  was spent on a given task.

Screenshot_2015-09-26-21-21-12The reason I love this feature is because it lets me set certain goals for how much time I’m spending on certain tasks. For instance, blogging is a time-eater. I love my blogs, I want to keep working on them, but I want to do it in as efficient an amount of time as possible. The Task Matrix lets me see what percent of my time I spent on blogging every month. So far this month, I’ve spent just 13% of my time on my blogs. Not bad! If I can keep it down around the 10% mark, I’ll be happy.

Writing is currently sitting around 17%. That can be explained by the fact that I was putting out and marketing a print edition of Journaling to Become a Better Writer. But still, I’d rather have writing in the 25% – 50% range. Something to work on!

This app lets me see right there on my screen that I’m not allocating my time correctly. I can browse the rest of the spreadsheet to see where I’m spending too much time, and make adjustments during my next work day.

Conclusion: Get the App

2015-06-17 HourGlassThis app has been a real boon to my work as an author. It goes above and beyond merely tracking my hours, and makes it easy to see not only how long I’ve worked  but what I’ve been working on, and thus how productive I’ve been. I love data, but hate number crunching. This app does it all for me! The design isn’t particularly pretty, but I still give it five stars. Go check it out! You can find their website right here: Time Recording app

 

 

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