In the spirit of personal time tracking, I thought I would share my method as well. I’ll write a follow-up, or amend this post, with the relevant source code at some point.

I started tracking my time a few months ago so I could have data to back up questions about how much I time I was giving to studying, working, cooking, chores, friends, etc. The solutions I found for tracking personal time didn’t mesh with the way I wanted to track time:

  • Interface The UI should be intuitive and simple; after all, there are only a handful of actions I care about.
  • Privacy 1 and Access My data should remain mine and mine alone, accessible whenever I want. Some of the things I track are personal, or at least would give someone else a bit too much insight into my time for my liking.
  • Granularity I want to be able to track things down to the minute.
  • Portability I need to be able to track time wherever I am. The ideal solution would be on my phone or watch.

I ended up implementing my own solution which combines Tasker as a front-end on my Android phone with Google Calendar as a back-end.

I’ve exposed three functions through Tasker (in order from left to right):

  1. Time Track: Start Opens a category menu and starts tracking time for the selected category.
  2. Notify Queries the calendar and displays the sum length of all events, grouped by category, which ended today between 00:00 and 23:59. This does not include the current time tracking duration.
  3. Time Track: Stop Stops tracking time; creates an event in the calendar.

Clicking the first button opens a menu which lists time tracking categories I’ve used before. I can also add a new category, by entering the new category name into the text field in the lower left, or remove an existing category by long-pressing the name.

The active time tracking is shown in a notification, which includes the option to move the start time forward or backward in increments of one minute. I’ve also included the notification generated by pressing the second button in this image.

I also have a script which sends me an email every Sunday evening with a daily breakdown and a reminder notification which is triggered after one minutes, then every 15 minutes, when I’m not tracking time.

Going forward, I’d like to analyze the data once I have a solid month or so where I’m using the tool regularly.

  1. Whether Google Calendar is private is left as an exercise to the reader. ↩︎