A year ago (which ironically is the last time I wrote something here) in a January post I elaborated on timetracking.
I’ve now been using timeular for a little over a year. This makes this the perfect time to review not only timeular as a tool but also my use of it and whether I achieved with the tracking what I anticipated.
Timeular is the SaaS time tracking with octahedron hardware tracker. Which I did order in the beginning - but have not been using ever since after the first weeks. It is a neat idea and likely for people who mostly work from the same desk it anticipates turning the tracking of time from “recording on what I’ve worked retrospectively” into a deliberate “am now switching my task/activity from X to Y and flip to that side” and as such the time tracking is a side effect of deliberately focusing ;) When I started with timeular the tracker lacked granularity (eight sides and each side reflects an activity). The granularity has been addressed recently with the ‘Quicktrack’ feature. If a side of the octahedron is not assigned and the device is flipped to this side the Quicktrack dialogue will open.
My intentions with timeular
Originally I chose timeular for two outstanding reasons:
- Easy integration of calendar
- Wide range of supported clients
Ironically I didn’t use the integration of the calendar for a long time at all (more later on that). Mostly, I use timeular from within the application on my Mac or Linux machines. The iOS/iPadOS apps are OK - but not a focus of them. To be fair: timeular refers to the mobile applications as ‘mobile companions’, which already communicate they’re not full-blown. The web portal works just fine in a browser on the iPad so that is not even really a compromise but a good way to work with it.
The very strong points of timeular in my scenario are:
- Very good way to gather insights on where time is spent
- Very good exporting of time tracking details
How I work with timeular
To dive into this, I’ll explain how I work with timeular:
I need to track my time for the SCS project. While the OSBA requires me only to track the number of hours worked on a daily base, I do want to know in which areas I do my work. I want to be able to drill down where I spend my time to be able to judge whether my time is spent well.
As a volunteer, I’m involved in a couple of NGOs. This ranges from my work on the board of the OSBA to the work I do at Sea-Watch. I want to track that time and also budget my time. Not budgeting the time means that I easily lose track and spend more time than I should - which then creates a deficit elsewhere. Timeular introduced budgets a while ago - with these, budgeting is a piece of cake. Furthermore, I run a side business where I need to track time working for my clients.
Each of my work areas (SCS, OSBA, SW, …) is in timeular speak a ‘folder’. Within each folder, there are a set of activities. Additionally within each time tracking entry one can work with tags. The combination of folders, activities, and tags allows us to quickly gather insights and export entries. For the documentation of my work time as part of the SCS Project, I export all activities from the SCS folder as PDF and Spreadsheet and have perfect documentation of how I spend my time with whom to work on what.
As part of my weekly retro process, I’m looking at the time spent in the last week to asses whether I roughly spent the time according to my budget. As part of the weekly retro, I first look at the outcomes of the week - if I have a mismatch between what I anticipated (eg. planned for the week) and the outcome typically the look at the timeular insights clearly shows where that time went instead.
Timeular works with #tags and @mentions. Using these entries can be even further analyzed and broken down.
Timeular allows the integration of calendars that can be then viewed as an overlay. This is called ‘Calendar context’ and is part of their automated tracking option. The calendar context allows Google Calendar, Apple iCloud Calendar, Outlook Calendar as well as other ‘Other calendar’ (which basically means an ICS-File behind a URL). Sadly their ICAL-fetcher is partially broken as it does not follow redirects, as such it currently is not working with Calendars that come from Open-Xchange - specifically tested with mailbox.org.
A recent addition to timeular is automated tracking. With that timeular records the activities on your machine in order to give suggestions for the tracking. Timeular emphasizes that this data is only gathered locally on your machine and never leaves it. It does help to re-cap items especially if one did lots of little tasks.
Since the first year of my subscription is almost over, the purchase of the tracker gives two months of subscription extra, I went and assessed whether it is time to move on and swap timeular for something else. With my subscription, I’m on the Personal Pro Plan, which is 9,60 EUR/Month. With the export options, timeular fits perfectly in my workflow with submitting hours to my primary work. This being an absolute no-brainer - while at the same time having detailed intel on what I’ve done with my time to see where I could improve is the most valuable feature. Conclusion: for me, timeular is currently the perfect fit.
Addendum - 2024-01-09
The above mentioned bug with the calendar integration was reported to me to timeular about four weeks ago. Yesterday a new version of timeular was released. Then changelog mentions “The calendar integration wouldn’t work with links with redirects. Now it follows all the way through to your precious events.” - wohoo! I tested it: and it works now just fine. Yeah!