Thursday, 14 March 2013

Test day with the time tracker


I decided to have a test run with the time tracker tool. At work I started to track my time today and saved all my activities - the ones that actually made sense - so no tea drinking or looking out of the window entries.

I have to say it was really convenient. Resetting the sheet and adding events is easy. One thing I've noticed is that you really need to see totals. Usually you have more little things to do during huge tasks. The best way to keep the consistency is using the same activity name. So I used simple and easy to remember titles.

At one point I was adding a new event, but right after the action the event was cancelled. So I decided to add an 'undo' like mechanism. It was almost 2 functions, the Controller proxy and the Recorder handler. Just popping the past item and syncing it back to the storage. So that was taken care of.

Then I quickly realized how fragmented my day is. Basically every 10 - 20 minutes I had to do something new. Well, it was a deployment day and I wouldn't even expect anything else from these days. You know, it's just the context switch that actually takes 5 - 20 minutes to get back on track - which is the amount of time you work on something. Anyways, it's life.

Finishing the day was ok, I triggered the end and checked the report. It was bunch of activities and times - so obviously I had to add an aggregator that collects the scattered items and sums them up. I added it as a quick summary list to the end.


In practice you have your time recording system, such as Redmine or Jira - where you transfer your totals. If you're like me having a tiny memory it's crucial to mark the one that are registered. It was handled by a primitive click action that applies a line-through on the list item.

It was good to see immediately how much time I spent on something. Also when a task is in progress you can just check your actual time - it's counting nicely.

I was talking with Ed and he was interested to try it out but he's using Ubuntu. I've found Gnome Do, I knew it's close to QuickSliverApp but I need somebody to verify it Gnome Do can actually handle custom queries.

So the good news it's working and does what is the crucial part of time tracking. Probably I'll add some style and maybe Chuck Norris. Unless there will be other interest on it.

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Peter

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