Track your time with Eternity Time Log
I love to work, and I love being productive when I work…
I have always been fascinated by how to work more efficiently and get the most from my work time and leisure time. I have tried keeping time logs manually in the past but only managed to keep this up for a few days before losing interest.
Until… I came across an app called Eternity Time Log for the iPad and iPhone written by Marcin Komorek at Komorian Software.
So what do people use Eternity for? I emailed Marcin, the app’s developer, and he kindly replied as follows…
|It seems to be so many things to so many people. Professionals and freelancers use it to track their time spent on projects, with clients and use it to charge accordingly. Some users just like that it forces them to structure their daily lives. For some the simple fact of having to tap start for everything they do make them rethink and revaluate what they pick next. Some like the fact that you can only track one thing at a time and they literally don’t want me to implement multiple timers. Some are just employees wondering where their 8 hours of day job goes and would like to have some fun showing their bosses a very detailed report Some want to know how they spend their time to secure healthy doses of productive work and guilt-free-play. Some just gather the data to be exported to Excel where you can do things you can’t on iPhone or iPad. For me it’s a combination of things: focus, productive work, guilt free play. So the app is not to answer the question what time tracking will do for you. It’s more like asking questions: Are you consciously spending your time? Do you know what were you doing? Do you think you should know? And why? Some users already know and are looking for such an app and some will just start wondering (I hope).|
I have been using this app for 3 months and I am in seventh heaven. This app – for me – is so well designed that I am still using it every day, and loving it!
What makes Eternity Time Log so wonderful is that it is simply so elegant and easy to use.
I bought the paid version once I gave the free Lite version a brief try out.
My 12-year-old son, Toby, still uses the Lite version to log when he starts and stops doing his homework every day so I can check that he’s doing a minimum of 5 hours a week of concentrated work.
Here are some photos I grabbed from the Komorian Software website…
What I love so much about this app is the ease with which I can start and stop the timers, and edit the data.
For example, if I start writing a new ebook for my Triumph Over Challenges website, I might realise after 10 minutes that I haven’t started Eternity’s timer. So I launch the app, click Start on “write content” and dial back the start of the timer by 10 minutes.
If I stop writing, and 5 minutes later I realise that I forgot to to stop the timer, I can go to the app, tap Stop, and dial back the end time by 5 minutes.
This may sound simple, but this facility is missing from SO many apps.
Case in point: Read More, an excellent app for logging the books I’m reading. I love it because, when I enter the number of pages in a book and then read for, say, an hour, when I stop reading and tap in the page number I got up to, Read More tells more than I am x% through the book and it’ll take me 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete it. Boy, I love that! It motivates me to ‘read more’ as soon as I can! However, if I forget to start Read More’s timer as I start reading, I can’t dial back the start time to x minutes earlier.
The consequence of Eternity Time Log being so elegantly programmed is that I use it a lot during the day: it takes seconds to select an activity and set a timer going.
I asked Marcin how he has his app set up. This is how he responded. (Ignore the bullets (•) — they’re just to tidy up the formatting of this list). The ‘>’ sign means that there’s a ‘>’ on the screen on the right-hand side, so tap this word to see a sublist…
- work >
- -komorian >
- chores >
- – shopping >
- — meal
- washing >
- – morning
- sport >
- – bicycle
- – basketball
- – weights
- play >
- – reading
- health >
- – walk
Here’s how I’ve set up Eternity for now. The ‘>’ sign means that there’s a ‘>’ on the screen on the right-hand side, so tap this wordto see a sublist. Text in italics and square brackets are my notes for you…
- car >
- – school run
- – swimming run
- – shopping
- – other
- exercise >
- – stepping
- – swimming
- – weights
- – walking
- work >
- – site work [working on my sites and clients’ sites]
- – creating content
- – client preparation
- – client call
- – admin
- – mentor call
- – Dragon dictating [dictating text into Dragon Dictate]
- – keyword research
- – writing ideas
- – study
- – surfing
- play >
- – Guardian surfing [online version of UK newspaper]
- – app surfing
- my fun sites >
- — AAE site
- — Mac/iPad site
- — PaynesBlog [working on my family blog]
- – info surfing
- – book surfing [surfing Amazon etc for books and reading reviews]
- – laptop leisure
- – read the papers
- – Apple surfing [Apple-related news and rumour sites]
- – socialising
- – videos [watching training videos / webinar replays]
- – movies
- cleaning [household chores]
- family time >
- – with Catherine [my wife]
- – with Toby
- – with Felix
- – with boys [together]
- – Skype mum
- – Skype Mike
Marcin commented further: “For Skype, email and other repeating cross-hierarchy things you can define and use tags. They can be later used in report filters. There are no tag-centered reports yet (as there are activity-centered ones), but I think of adding them, which would make the reporting more flexible.The rule of thumb is: activities for general structure, tags for cross-hierarchy things.”
Sometimes in the evening I will add entries to Eternity for activities I may not have logged at the time. This is very easy to do.
What’s more, it’s so easy to add text against an activity that I add sufficient details sometimes that Eternity has become a kind of diary: I’m already logging the date and time. It’s trivial to add a few words to explain what I was up to in more detail.
I can then export all the data to my MacBook Pro and review it in Numbers or Excel.
Eternity exports 2 .csv (comma separated variables) files at once: a log of every activity between 2 dates, and a summary report.
The log should be easy for you to get your head around as it displays a line of data for each event you log: date, time, activity, place in the hierarchy, notes, etc.
The summary report looks like this (I’ve put dummy data in it)…
If you look carefully at that report above you’ll see how you get percentages for each area of responsibility in your life both in relation to the whole of the data and to the subsection. (I hope that makes sense!) With this information you can really analyse your time and make decisions to change the way you spend the hours and minutes in your day.
I did find a problem with importing the data into Numbers, where Numbers would sometimes put the date and duration in one cell at the same time which affected what was displayed in the report.
I emailed Marcin about this and he replied as follows…
| Spreadsheets are not perfect in auto-recognizing data formatting.
In case of Numbers you need to help it by:
– selecting the whole column (by clicking on the “B” header) and click on the Inspector (in the toolbar).
– setting the cell formatting as below…
How’s that for a very clear reply? For me, Marcin couldn’t have been clearer. A simple solution with an image.
One final point…
I do not log every minute of every day! I log maybe 60% of each day. I don’t log supervision of our boys’ homework, meal times, what I do between getting up and leaving with the boys to take them to school etc. Instead I record what I want to log. Eternity doesn’t nag me.
Eternity Time Log works on my iPad and iPhone. I use it on my iPhone as I always have it with me.
Marcin was very prompt in replying to my emails, and his responses were very helpful and clear.
1. I have been surprised that I have started using other productivity-type and information logging apps in the past, and abandoned them soon afterwards. I now realise that they weren’t very well thought out. Eternity Time Log puts other apps to shame. Really. And that’s rather annoying, as I now look at other apps and think, “Why couldn’t it work like Eternity? Then it would be great!”
2. I don’t like the visual view of the day much. It looks rather unattractive to me as I’m not a big fan of Helvetica. It looks like this on my iPhone…
3. Eternity Time Log is not cheap. $9.99 is a higher price than most other info logging apps on the App Store. For me it’s worth every penny/cent: I am more efficient in my work, and I’m more aware of how my days and weeks break down. That’s worth far more to me than $9.99. Eternity Time Log has paid for itself many times over.
4. Like many apps, the instructions on how to use the device are not very elaborate. When I first installed the app, I didn’t know what events to input so I could get started logging. I emailed the programmer and he was very helpful, but the site could do with a video going through the app slowly, showing exactly how to get going and how to make the most of it.
I don’t think I can convey just how brilliant this app is in a written review. Eternity Time Log is a universal app for iPad and iPhone (which means that, you pay $9.99 and get an app for your iPhone and another one that’s optimised for the iPad).
If you’re interested in tracking your time, get the free Lite version to try it out: I’m sure you’ll soon be upgrading to the paid version.
In summary: Eternity Time Log is a real joy to use. I have tracked my activities every day for the last 3 months and loved doing so. It really has helped me be more productive: and that’s more money in my pocket, and better use of my leisure time. 5 out of 5 stars. Thank you Komorian Software!