4. Februar 2019
About 7 months ago when I was working on some smaller updates for our apps, I started to track my working hours in my calendar. I already have a work calendar which syncs over iCloud and so when I’m working on my mac it’s easy and convenient to just put/drag a block in the calendar. I wrote the project name in the calendar event title and if needed added some more detail in the note field. Everything I needed for simple and fast time-tracking was already there.
Except for one thing.
So after a week passed I wanted to see how many hours I worked overall and maybe also have it split up by project. I quickly realised you can’t do this in the stock calendar apps on macOS or iOS. So I searched for calendar statistics or similar in the App Store. But nothing.
Of course I immediately thought about building my own app for this. At first my idea was to build some kind of time-tracking app based on the iCloud calendar. But then I saw the potential for all kinds of evaluation and analysis of the calendar data. So my goal changed to build a general app to gain insight and statistics about the calendar.
The app should not only be able to display the total time of a chosen calendar, since I don’t want to add an individual calendar for each of my projects. I want to have one work calendar and the app should be able to filter the vents, based on all kinds of data fields.
Fast forward to 7 months later and Timeview is already in the App Store and does exactly all of this.
So I want to show with a simple example how you can use it for time-tracking. Even though I just wrote a few paragraphs to tell you how it’s not just for time-tracking, I know right.
As explained, I have set up a calendar named „Work“. Thanks to the stock calendar apps and iCloud I have it automatically on all my devices and it doesn’t matter on which device I enter the data.
Now for example I can chose the following format for my calendar events:
Title: „Projectname: Type of work“ (Example „MoneyBook: Bugfixes“ or „Rewind: UI“)
Notes: „Additional details if needed“ (Example „Important! Double-check this before release.“)
Now it gets really cool. First, because the stock calendar apps have autocomplete for the title, when I start to write „MoneyBook“ it already suggests possible titles. This makes sure I mostly use the same format.
Ok now let’s say you want to know your total working hours.
With Timeview it’s really easy. We just add a card, name it e.g. „Work all“ and select only the „Work“ calendar as data source. That’s it. We can switch to weekly or monthly views, or even daily and yearly.
Now we also want to have the data split up by project. We could edit the „Work all“ card. But it’s much nicer to have individual cards for our statistics. So we create a new card, name it based on the project we like to evaluate e.g. „MoneyBook“ and again select the „Work“ calendar as source.
This time we want to filter the data. So we add a new Rule-Block and inside add a new single rule. We want to filter based on the title and so we add „MoneyBook“ as the text. Even better when we add „MoneyBook:“ to be sure (you could also use some hashtag-like notation to make the project names more unique, #MoneyBook for example).
That’s it, now we have a statistic about how much we worked on MoneyBook. We can do the same for our other projects.
At this point I’m sure you already see where this can go even further.
Want to know how much you worked on UI stuff? Add a card with a rule checking for the text „UI“. Want to know how much you worked on UI stuff but for Rewind only? Same thing but also add a new Rule-Block which checks for the „Rewind“ text. Then you have a statistic checking for Rewind AND UI.
You can see when you tap on the Rewind card you’ll get to a list view of all calendar events from this card. As expected it shows only events containing „Rewind“ and „UI“.
Similar you could imagine statistics for how much you worked on bugfixes, or really just everything imaginable!
Want to know on which days you worked maybe too much? Make a filter by duration. For example „duration > 8.0h“.
Another thing I always use is to make a card which has a rule checking if it contains „important!“. I make this card in a red color, so I won’t miss it.
By tapping on an entry in the list view we get to the system calendar-edit view. And in this example we can see the selected event has a note containing „important!“.
You see, this system is so flexible. You can build almost everything with it.
With time-tracking you focus on the past. You want to evaluate your past work hours. But Timeview is also very useful for future events. In the same manner you could add a card which checks for events with alarms set. Or again containing the word „important“ or similar. This way you’ll see at a glance what awaits you in the current week or the coming months. It’s really handy.
I’m sure there are many other use cases which I didn’t even think about. I’m always happy to hear from you how you use our apps. So just let me know. I hope this post gave you an idea of Timeview and if you want to play around with it for yourself, it’s free to try with up to two cards. You can try all features for free.