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Time plays tricks on our minds. You may have realized that you tend to overestimate time for many projects. And underestimate it in some others. Planning fallacy can disrupt all your projects. Time trackers can help you better estimate where your time is slipping away. Then you can visualize your time and put together a more efficient workflow.
Here are five beautifully designed time trackers to visualize your time in different ways.
1. 144blocks (Web): Track Your Day in 10-Minute Blocks
Divide your day into little chunks and see where they go. This simple idea was showcased by blogger Tim Urban in Wait But Why, his popular blog. You can try out this idea with 144blocks, an online time tracker that splits the 1440 minutes in a day into 144 little colorful blocks.
The 10-minute intervals might be too microscopic for tracking time every day. But attempt it for a day or two and you just might capture the little atoms of time all of us often disregard.
After all, an enjoyable 10-minute phone call seems shorter than one from a telecaller. A simple email that takes a minute to answer can have split our attention from the more important tasks that follow. The colorful 144 blocks come together to draw the day for you.
Use it to find and plug the little leaks in your time management plan.
2. Life Calendar (Android, iOS): Visualize Your Life in Weeks
Then again, ten minutes might be too tiny for you. So let’s look at an app that gives you a bird’s eye view of an entire week. Looking at bigger time scales might work for you if you like to focus on big goals. Or you are someone who uses scheduling to plan with weeks, months, and years.
Life Calendar is a mobile app that wants you to look past a single day. It is a lightweight way to track your life with a bit of journaling.
Each week is a little box on the screen. Color code each box to signal your moods and achievements. Attach notes to each block and capture your thoughts, insights, successes, and failures. You can go back to view the colored blocks and see how the past has panned out.
3. Orbit (Web): The Simplest Time Tracker Online
Orbit is the simplest time tracker you will come across, other than a spreadsheet. It does away with fancy buttons and analytical reports. The above screenshot is all there is.
Colorful orbs are the containers for your tasks. You can rearrange them with a drag and drop. Add more orbs and give them different colors to visually space out the activities you want to track.
Press the tiny playhead to start tracking. Sign-up for free, start tracking and see your reports in a simple time log. Orbit is perfect if you want a minimal time tracker that doesn’t fuss over every second.
4. Donut Dog (iOS): Gamify Your Time Tracking
Successful time management is all about focus. Smartphones are the enemies we carry around in our pockets. Gamification has tried to help our focus with apps like HabitRPG and Forest. On Donut Dog, you get to eat a donut if the dog agrees.
Pick your task and then start the timer. As long as you focus and do not use your smartphone, you will be rewarded with a “donut” every ten minutes. If you change or close the app the machine will stop and the session will end. Earn points and get to the next level. You can get on the challenge board and compete with friends too.
Donut Dog helps you engage in time sprints. Take your smartphone addiction out of the equation and you might be able to develop a better work schedule.
Ironic that an app is working against your smartphone addiction? True, but the cure and colorful interface should be a good habit starter for kids too.
Download: Donut Dog for iOS ($1.99)
5. CodeMirror (Windows, macOS): Time Tracker for Coders
Coders get into the flow. Good programmers will tell you that time seems to stop when they are having fun with code. So it’s obvious a coder’s idea of time might be a bit different from others. The minutes might not matter as much as progress.
CodeMirrow is a plugin for an IDE. The dashboard will allow you to see not only coding time on a project, but also that time based on language, file, branch, or project.
The CodeMirror dashboard is being built for different development tools. Right now, you can use it with JetBrains IDE. The detailed metrics could give an insight into your weak areas and where you need to level up. All data is stored locally, so privacy is not a deal killer.
You Have More Time Than You Think
You too have 24 hours like the rest of humanity. There’s no way to buy a second more, but you can always “steal” time from unproductive timesinks and put them to better use. That’s why a time tracking exercise is always recommended. Even if you do it for a few days, it will reveal those invisible killers.
Only then you can exterminate them and boost your productivity. These other time tracking apps will be happy to do the job for you.