Automate your time tracking

Alon Sabi
Alon Sabi
Apr 23, 2016 · 4 min read

Time tracking is painful, there is no way to sugarcoat it, so what do you do if you absolutely have to keep track of your time (for work related reasons for example)?

The way I approach it is by digitizing my time tracking and automate it wherever possible.

Required tools:

Putting it all together:

The trick is to get things to record “themselves” with as little effort as possible.

We will use Evernote as the place time tracking gets tracked, Trello as a source for things we did during the day, google calendar as a source for meetings that occurred during the day, the phone location for when we get in / out the office (for a break for example, or coming and leaving) and finally IFTTT to “glue” it all together.

This is how it will look at the end:

results
results

Step 1: Evernote setup

For evernote you do not need to do anything. All you need is to know your credentials.

Step 2: Trello

Simply commit to using Trello to keep track of the things you are working on. Have a list called “done” where you will drag things into when they are completed. You can read this blog about setting up your Trello system to track your daily activities.

Step 3: Google Calendar

Simply commit to using Google Calendar as your main calendar, if you already have, no need for anything else.

Step 4: IFTTT

IFTT stands for “If this then that”, it allows you to specify things that should happen when certain events occur.

Initial Setup of IFTTT:

  • Create an account with IFTTT (it does not cost anything)
  • Navigate to “Channels”, and connect the following channels with your IFTTT account (you can use the search box for that):
  • google calendar
  • evernote
  • trello

Recipes setup (See the images with the details for each at the end of the blog)

Navigate to “My Recipes” and click the “Create a recipe” button, and create the following 4 recipes (see the screenshots below):

  1. A Recipe to add a new line with today’s date to a note named “Time Sheets”, this will allow you to clearly see every day, and what we did during that day.
  2. A recipe to add a new line with the day and time whenever a Trello item is completed.
  3. A recipe to add a new line with the date and time whenever a calendar event is due
  4. A recipe to add a new line with the date and time whenever you enter or exist a location (in my case work)

Workflow:

Every now and then rename the “Time Sheets” note to “Time Sheets YYYY-mm-dd → YYYY-mm-dd”. The same night a new note named “Time Sheets” will be created automatically.

I use this mechanism to keep track of my daily activities, and from time to time enter my timesheets into my favourite time sheets app (function point). The beauty if this system is that it captures more than just work related activities, but also personal ones.

That’s it ! life made simple !

See the pictures below for the different IFTTT triggers.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 2.57.20 PM
Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 2.57.20 PM

The above recipe adds a new line with the date every night at 12:00 am

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 3.01.38 PM
Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 3.01.38 PM

The above recipe adds a new line with a link to the Trello task whenever a task in my “life” board (call it anything you like) is dragged into the “Done” list.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 5.57.12 PM
Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 5.57.12 PM

The above recipe adds a line to the note whenever a calendar event is coming up.

location
location

The above recipe adds a new line whenever I get to work or leave work.

alon sabi

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store