Keeping track of your time and the things that you do with it is one of the foundations of being productive. It’s always good to take a look back at your day, week, month, or year and see exactly where your time went to make sure that you are giving your attention to the right things.
aTimeLogger is a free application for the iPhone “for tracking your everyday activities.” Let’s take a look at what aTimeLogger has to offer for time tracking your life.
aTimeLogger has a decent design setup with a grid of buttons for launching activities so you can start timing them quickly as well as a tabbed navigation for viewing activities, logs, categories, reports, and more settings. The background is set to a “chill” theme which is basically a cold looking stone background and with dark accents around the app, but you can simply change this by going to More > Settings > Other > Theme and picking something more to your liking.
With aTimeLogger you can add a time log by simply clicking the button for the log you want to create (like “Work”, “Transport”, “Eat”, etc.), the app will notify you that it’s starting the log (which can actually be turned off in settings) and the timer will start at the top of the screen. The developers made a good decisions to put a “plus” button at the top right of the Activities screen so you could report your own custom log in case you didn’t use aTimerLogger to track it. You can then choose which Activity you want to associate with it.
The Log screen allows you to see your time logs by day, week, or month in either a list form or a handy graph. The graph isn’t too important at first, but once you get a lot of logs in there and become obsessive with the app (like me) then the pie graphs are a great way to look at how your time is spent.
The design of the categories screen is a little clunky and isn’t necessarily apparent what you can do from here. Basically this screen is used for creating, editing, and organizing your groups and activities. You can have groups of groups and a bunch of activities in each group. You can then use the groups for report making and viewing.
aTimeLogger gives the user the ability to create, what appears to be, unlimited number of activities to track, unlimited groups to put these activities in, view logs by day, week, month and get reports on each of your activities or entire groups. You can also export your reports to CSV or HTML for using them on your computer for other purposes.
With aTimeLogger you can import your own custom icons for activities, although the stock offering is pretty great actually. You can also track multiple things at once, say if you are driving to work and listening to a podcast you can track a “Transportation” and “Entertainment” activity.
In the settings for aTimeLogger you can turn turn on quick add and turn off warnings for starting new activities when one is already running. This is a really nice feature as the little popups tend to get annoying after the first one. You can turn off auto-lock of your phone so the interface will stay open when you are in the app. For log settings you can change the view of the logs like turning on multi-line comments, turn on whether your logs are grouped or just a flat list, and in the pie chart you can toggle showing unlogged time.
aTimerLogger allows you to backup and restore your logs with iTunes File Sharing.
The thing that I like the most about aTimeLogger is its ease of use. To start logging some time it’s as easy as starting the app and tapping an activity button. Also, looking at your log history is simple and self explanatory too, just go to the list and see your data. There isn’t a lot of cruft in the app and the developers made sure that aTimerLogger was approachable for anyone that wanted to start tracking their time.
I love that you can also export your reports in CSV so data crunching side can have access to the numbers for even more detailed reports.
What’s not so good
The biggest thing I can’t stand about aTimeLogger is no automated backup of your data; you still have to plug your phone into iTunes and sync it with File Sharing. A simple Dropbox or iCloud integration would fix this pain point.
Also, it would be nice if there was some sort of notification that you could setup that would allow the app to notify you that a log as been running for a certain amount of time. I sometimes forget that logs are running and don’t stop them in time. At the very least you can manually edit the time lapse of your log.