About 5 months ago I wrote of my woes with time tracking. I tried to find software that tracked my time for me and I specifically called out Rescue Time as a solution. It was not.

The next stop on my quest for better time tracking was a bit extreme. I decided to use a method, detailed by TJ Luma, where my Mac automatically took screenshots every 30 seconds. I could then sort through those screenshots to see what program, file, site etc I was in at any particular time. I ended up with a folder containing seven days worth of screenshots and no desire to look through them.

I solved all of my time tracking problems with a simple reminder. Every day at 10pm my phone buzzes one last time. It’s a reminder that asks “Do you have time to track from today?” For the first week I had things to add to my work log. It was annoying (even with the text expander snippets and Drafts). I started to track my time more accurately while I was doing the work just to avoid the 10pm chore. My reward for building a better habit was that I could go to sleep or read or just relax after 10pm rather than filling out a time sheet.

iPad 10pm Reminder

The reminder keeps my freelance work in check but I just took a position with a design agency and that means accounting for how I spend every minute of my working day. I use Day One as a work journal to handle this. Katie Floyd talked about using Day One on an MPU episode and I always thought it would be a great solution. The software provides a lot more context than a plain text file can with data like weather, photos, motion activity and location. I keep Day One open on my desktop at all times and I record anything I work on with a start and stop time. I’m able to quickly take that info and move it across into the company’s time tracking system.