Here’s my deal. By day I slave over a hot keyboard in the cubicle mines of a major Chicago-based insurance company. By night I become an aspiring graphic designer, by which I mean I do design work for those few, poor souls who are willing to pay me for what I know.
Hey, it was either that or politics, so I decided to do something honest and useful for my life. If you’ve read my work on TeraTalks you know I collect graphic design apps on my Mac, but I’ve also waded through a number of time tracking apps which track tasks and projects. Here’s a quick look at one that’s extremely good, gets great reviews, and costs about the same as a cheap lunch.
The time tracking app is called Daily and it takes a unique approach to usability by asking you what you’re doing. From then on Daily knows specific activities, tracks when you start, and how long you’ve worked on a task, and when you stop working. That results in more accurate time sheets for your work.
Daily starts tracking when you start work on your Mac but doesn’t ask you what you’re doing right away, but as you work, it asks you– through a pop-down Menubar window– what you’re doing, and gives you a pop-down list of tasks you’ve assigned. That way there’s a more accurately recorded list of what you’ve worked on.
Daily lets you view every activity session, and time sheets can be viewed and edits for any specific time; day, week, month, whatever.
That means you can see exactly when you start and stop work, and determine not only the amount of time devoted to a task or project, but which times of the day when you’re the most productive (from a billable hours perspective, of course).
There’s a built-in silent mode which automatically records pre-defined activities without any interaction. The built-in scheduler has an option to start and stop recording as needed. And, of course, Daily exports the recorded data to CSV files so they can be dumped into a spreadsheet or billing application.
Daily is one of the sweetest, simplest, most effective Mac time tracking apps I’ve used. It features a day, week, month, and year view, auto-completion for activity entry saves time, and is smart enough to understand relative dates like ‘last Friday.’
Everything most of us who track time to make money is there except a billing component, but there are many of those around. Power users will appreciate the many global keyboard shortcuts.
If Daily is simple and inexpensive then what about it is complicated? Some of the terminology used in learning Daily is a bit odd, possibly because of its Dutch language roots, but that’s overcome in a moment. There’s no trial version though, as Daily is Mac App Store only, but check out the reviews.