Timing for Power Users 💻
If you prefer to watch a video, you can watch this video tutorial instead:
Welcome to the final lesson of our course!
Today, we'll look into a few tips that help you get the most value out of Timing.
Not all of these tips might be relevant to you — in that case, just pick the ones that work for you!
Tracking Time Manually
(Manual time tracking with Tasks is available in Timing Professional and Expert.)
Timing already does a very good job of automatically tracking what you've been up to.
However, sometimes that's just not enough — for example when you have to track time spent in meetings.
That's why Timing also lets you track time manually from its menu item:
If you start a task via the menu item, Timing will ask you for a few details, then assign all subsequent activities to this task:
After the estimated duration, Timing will ask you whether you're still working on that task.
And if you want to save even more time, you can open that dialog at any time by simply pressing ⌃⌥⌘T!
You can also quick-start past tasks from the menu item.
If you select Ask for Activity after Being Idle, Timing will even ask you what you did whenever you return to your Mac:
(Filters are available in Timing Expert.)
Timing's primary means of categorizing time are Projects, which we discussed a few lessons ago.
Projects are great for measuring what you've worked on, i.e. what project your time was spent on.
But given that any activity can only be in a single project "bucket", they are not so great for figuring out how you worked — e.g. whether your work consisted mostly of web browsing, communication, writing, development, web design, or something completely different. This distinction can often be recognized by which app you were using at the time.
That's where Filters come into play.
You can access them via the corresponding button in the toolbar: Filters contain the activities matched by their rule, and they can overlap.
Unlike projects, you can't assign individual activities to them — they only work via rules.
You can think of them as a kind of "saved search".
That makes them well-suited for keeping track of the kind of work you did —
for example, you could have a filter called "Graphics" containing all your graphics apps.
That way, you know exactly how much time you spent doing image editing, even if it is spread across several projects.
They can also assist with assigning time to projects:
Most likely, you don't want to create a rule to assign all your image editing apps to a single project —
you do image editing work in more than a single project, after all!
But if you know that today all image editing time was spent on a particular project, you can simply select the "Image Editing" filter and drag all activities onto that project.
That way, you can combine the automation of a project rule with the flexibility of manually assigning activities as needed!
(Available in Timing Professional and Expert.)
So far, we haven't talked much about Timing's preferences.
But there are a few options you might appreciate as a power user.
For example, the General preferences screen lets you wrap days at a given time:
In this case, any activities tracked before 5am will still count towards the previous day.
That is great to avoid splitting your work day into two when you like to work during the middle of the night!
You can also have Timing collapse short activities to de-clutter its activity list, and decide how Timing should calculate your productivity score.
In case you only want Timing to track you during working hours, you can enable that in the Menu Item preferences:
(You can also pause tracking at any time via the menu item.)
In addition, this screen lets you customize the appearance of the menu item in your status bar, configure idle time detection, and more.
With Timing Expert, some features of Timing (such as creating reports) can also be automated via AppleScript.
Check out our dedicated guide if you want to learn more.
Today you learned:
- That Timing also supports tracking time manually when you need it.
- How you can make your time tracking workflow more flexible with filters.
- That Timing has preferences to shift your workday or restrict tracking to specific hours.
- That Timing supports AppleScript in case you need to automate parts of your time tracking.