App for tracking time and jobs

sw_ross

Senior Member
Location
NoDak
I’m a one man shop, so only myself as an employee.

Some days I’m working the whole day on a specific project. It might be a larger project where I’m logging multiple days in a row.

Some days I’m doing service work and bouncing around to as many tasks (locations) as I can to take care of customers.

Tracking my hours usually begins when I start the vehicle in the morning and a pad of paper writing down my start time.
At the end of that tasks/job I write down my finish time. Sometimes I’ll forget to write my time down so I have to guess at the end of the day.
Then when I finish my day I spend 20-30 minutes transferring the time over to paperwork that I use for each job.
This end of day paperwork is ultimately what I use for invoicing.

I’m wondering about a phone app that might log my hours and jobs. I probably wouldn’t use it for invoicing because I already use quickbooks.
im just thinking about something that I could enter a job name, then date and hours, and maybe an brief summary of what I did (tasks) during that time.

Any suggestions?
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
There are a couple on an app search, which one fits I don’t know...

Not trying to be a smart butt here, but if you cant remember to write it down and you’ve used pen and paper this long, what makes you think you’ll remember to log into an app and type the information in to that?

I used an ordinary day planner for years and logged everything about the jobs, it just became habit. At the end of the week I totaled...
 

bwat

EE
Location
Western PA
Occupation
EE
I use a free app on my computer called "grindstone" from https://www.epiforge.com/grindstone/. It has been a memory saver for me. It looks like there's a phone app too.

It's basically like a smart stopwatch that you can start/stop on different tasks and enter notes. It helps me when I'm working on several projects in a single day and then at the end of the week it can generate a simple timesheet report for me for the week. I don't have to remember times and hours anymore. Just need to remember to start/stop when switching tasks that are differently billable.
 

sw_ross

Senior Member
Location
NoDak
Not trying to be a smart butt here, but if you cant remember to write it down and you’ve used pen and paper this long, what makes you think you’ll remember to log into an app and type the information in to that?

I used an ordinary day planner for years and logged everything about the jobs, it just became habit. At the end of the week I totaled...
Haha. I agree, whatever format you’re using isn’t going to work if you don’t use it!
As I know everyone here has experienced, when you’re running around putting out fires on service calls sometimes at the end of the day you realize you didn’t write down your time and you end up guesstimating about time on each job.

At the end of the day, besides transferring time to job sheets, I also use a day planner. It allows me to see at a glance where I was on any particular day. It also acts as a backup if I have questions about time justification when working on invoicing. It also allows me to look at my hours month by month for comparison purposes.
 
I use an Android phone so I'm not exactly sure how this would translate to say an iPhone.

I use a free app called Time Meter Time Tracking by Kapp Development.

It has a one-off toggle widget you can add to your home screen. You can have preconfigured types of jobs or do like I do and after the fact go in and add descriptions to the blocks of time created by the widget. It has an extension I use that automatically adds the timesheet information including descriptions to my Google calendar.

Additionally if I'm really behind on my timecard I use Google's location history to show where on a map I've been when. I know some people find the location tracking to be creepy but I have gotten a lot of value out if it over the years.


Rob
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
As others have said if you having trouble remembering to write things on a time sheet at the time you started/finished then you likely won't enter start/finish times with a time keeping app either.

Next best thing to catch those times that you forgot would be location tracking apps as also mentioned. You would at least know when you arrived and left a location and maybe have more accuracy than your best guess after the fact.
 

caribconsult

Senior Member
Location
Añasco, Puerto Rico
Occupation
Retired computer consultant
Just my opinion, but no matter what method you use to track time and billing, some input is required, whether it's pencil on paper, or using a keyboard on your phone, tablet, laptop or whatever. If you don't do that consistently, the reports will be meaningless. I've never heard of an app that can read your mind or sense automatically who you are working for and what you are doing.

I'm not trying to be a smart-alec here, merely giving you the results of lots of experience I had designing custom programming for various businesses. I'd constantly be asked "will it tell me X, or will it tell me Y?" And when I informed the client that a good database will tell you anything so long as you've put in the data, that's when their attention flagged...putting in the data seemed to be the challenging part that no one wanted to do. Good luck in finding something that will work for you...there's a raft of such apps available, certainly one or more should fit.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Just my opinion, but no matter what method you use to track time and billing, some input is required, whether it's pencil on paper, or using a keyboard on your phone, tablet, laptop or whatever. If you don't do that consistently, the reports will be meaningless. I've never heard of an app that can read your mind or sense automatically who you are working for and what you are doing.

I'm not trying to be a smart-alec here, merely giving you the results of lots of experience I had designing custom programming for various businesses. I'd constantly be asked "will it tell me X, or will it tell me Y?" And when I informed the client that a good database will tell you anything so long as you've put in the data, that's when their attention flagged...putting in the data seemed to be the challenging part that no one wanted to do. Good luck in finding something that will work for you...there's a raft of such apps available, certainly one or more should fit.
Correct, some input is required. All I am saying particularly about the Google Maps tracking ability is that if you did forget to log something you possibly can at least look at it and determine when you arrived and when you left a particular location. I never used it for that but was looking at my own history in Maps and see that it seems to work best with key points that are in their data base. It told me the name of the store and arrival and departure times. Work I was doing Friday it gave a location that was a couple miles away from where I actually was, times were likely accurate though. I bet if I dropped my own marker on my map at the actual location it will get it right in the future - it was out in farm land area no major points of interest at this location from Google maps data or paid advertisers to make certain the are noted on the map.
 

oldsparky52

Senior Member
Correct, some input is required. All I am saying particularly about the Google Maps tracking ability is that if you did forget to log something you possibly can at least look at it and determine when you arrived and when you left a particular location. I never used it for that but was looking at my own history in Maps and see that it seems to work best with key points that are in their data base. It told me the name of the store and arrival and departure times. Work I was doing Friday it gave a location that was a couple miles away from where I actually was, times were likely accurate though. I bet if I dropped my own marker on my map at the actual location it will get it right in the future - it was out in farm land area no major points of interest at this location from Google maps data or paid advertisers to make certain the are noted on the map.
You gave permission to Google maps to track you?
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
You gave permission to Google maps to track you?
Apparently I did at some time, even if I wasn't totally aware of it. I just went to check out that feature after this thread was started and found out I already had tracking enabled, and probably has been for years.

Hasn't killed me yet.

Like anything there is a risk. Their advantage isn't malicious (to any extremes anyway if there is a conflict of what is malicious) but rather to use data to know your interests for customizing ads for you. Turning off their features probably won't stop ads, will just make them more general rather than customized according to data they have on you.

Other than them using it for ad purposes, I don't think anyone else is able to see that data unless you choose to allow it to be shared, which can have some useful purposes, but I can see more dangers involved with that as well. I'm more concerned about some the people that share their every move on social media. Right person sees their posts and realizes they are hundreds of miles away and knows they have easier chance of burglarizing the home or something like that.

If you are one that avoids all tracking at all costs, you won't be able to use many conveniences of many applications, and wouldn't even have a membership on this site. This site doesn't collect much data compared to many others, but you do have to give them some information to become a member.
 

oldsparky52

Senior Member
I use my phone for phone and messaging. I read the fine print on a couple of apps I was going to download, but the permissions were beyond what I was willing to give.

My daughter was one of those tell you everything you are doing types, but it seems she has been slowing. I agree with your concerns on this.

I do not have access to this site from my phone.
 

caribconsult

Senior Member
Location
Añasco, Puerto Rico
Occupation
Retired computer consultant
Interesting discussion. I would never have thought of using maps to track client billing but apparently there is a way to do this. If I had to pick something to track time for billing, I'd probably try a calendar or task mgmt app. There was an old program (not an app) called Timeslips. It was for a computer or laptop but it did a excellent job of tracking your billing of clients. Surely there is something equivalent out there but it may require a trial period to see if it gives you what you need. I was old school and used a little agenda calendar book with hand written entries but that sounds so archaic today.
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Durango, CO, 10 h 20 min without traffic from wing
Occupation
wire pulling grunt
I use my phone for phone and messaging. I read the fine print on a couple of apps I was going to download, but the permissions were beyond what I was willing to give.

My daughter was one of those tell you everything you are doing types, but it seems she has been slowing. I agree with your concerns on this.

I do not have access to this site from my phone.
Phone apps and location data are pretty benign. Google is transparent on the information it gathers on you, and to a greater degree than Apple let's you have control over what data it keeps. It's your internet service provider you need to keep an eye on most. They are logging every single click you make and selling all that data to anyone that pays for it.
 
Correct, some input is required. All I am saying particularly about the Google Maps tracking ability is that if you did forget to log something you possibly can at least look at it and determine when you arrived and when you left a particular location. I never used it for that but was looking at my own history in Maps and see that it seems to work best with key points that are in their data base. It told me the name of the store and arrival and departure times. Work I was doing Friday it gave a location that was a couple miles away from where I actually was, times were likely accurate though. I bet if I dropped my own marker on my map at the actual location it will get it right in the future - it was out in farm land area no major points of interest at this location from Google maps data or paid advertisers to make certain the are noted on the map.
If you open up the Google timeline on a computer you can click on the gear in the lower right and select "Show Raw Data". It then will show you a map of every single time stamped location point that had been collected for a given day. I find it helpful because I will occasionally work at one house then another across or down the street and I'm able to tease apart when I left one job and started at the next.

Rob
 
If you open up the Google timeline on a computer you can click on the gear in the lower right and select "Show Raw Data". It then will show you a map of every single time stamped location point that had been collected for a given day. I find it helpful because I will occasionally work at one house then another across or down the street and I'm able to tease apart when I left one job and started at the next.

Rob
Yeah that could be really handy for recreating hours that you forgot to write down. I have been meaning to try it. I am not worried about the privacy. Obviously I'll just leave my phone home if I am out doing some crimes. 😇
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
If you open up the Google timeline on a computer you can click on the gear in the lower right and select "Show Raw Data". It then will show you a map of every single time stamped location point that had been collected for a given day. I find it helpful because I will occasionally work at one house then another across or down the street and I'm able to tease apart when I left one job and started at the next.

Rob
Cities it might work better than it does in rural areas. Like I said the other day I worked out in the country, it gave location of a point in nearby town and for a duration that should be close to time I spent there, I never went into the town that day either. That point was at least 2 or 3 miles from where I actually was. But at same time it told me name of place in another town I did stop at to get fuel and time spent there was likley pretty accurate as well.

Now I'm betting if I put a personal mark for that location it will get it right every time I go there, but only for my user account. need to try that just to see. Will be doing more work at that site off and on over next couple months.
 
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