We thank you for continuing to read our posts! In this particular one, we are going to give you an experience on time management through an app called Tyme. Besides, enhancing your production while exerting the least amount of effort is always a good thing, no?….
Available on Mac OS X & iOS; check it out at http://tyme-app.com
As 2015 closed out, we began to look for another way to track our time, as we were not able to “see” at a glance what we were doing, and how much time it took for us to complete tasks. Previously, we had been using MarketCircle’s Billings Pro software, which (don’t get us wrong) is a pretty serious piece of software (you can check it out at www.marketcircle.com). But frankly, we didn’t need all the features that it offered, as we preferred to track other elements (such as mileage, etc.) of our business through other apps. All we were looking for were: 1) a strong app that was capable of tracking the time we spent on our projects, 2) the ability to track the amount of money being produced on hourly projects, 3) the ability to export the projects or tasks in the form of a PDF so we could properly invoice the client on projects, and 4) the ability to sync projects and tasks across both iOS and Mac.
And so, enter Tyme. It’s available on both Mac and iOS (iPhone and iPad), and a trial version of the Mac OS X version is available within the Mac App Store for 15 days. We initially tried it out on the iPhone, and after it worked so well, we went ahead and downloaded the Mac OS X trial version. When that went well, we went ahead and purchased the Mac version at the beginning of the year.
One of the first things that got us “hooked” was the colorful interface. The founder of this software, Lars Gerckens, really did a great job of placing the emphasis on the projects and tasks through the use of color. But then, it goes further: It’s not just beautiful, this is some pretty powerful software. Some of our “reasons” for why this has proven to ultimately increase our productivity are displayed below:
After we purchased the Mac version (and note: the trial version does not allow you to sync between the Mac and iPhone; you have to purchase the Mac version, delete the app, then reinstall it for iCloud to work properly), we noticed it syncs very well with iCloud. For the past month, we have been able to manage nearly a dozen projects with no problem.
Didn’t we say this software is beautiful? On both platforms, this does not disappoint! As was said before, the emphasis is on the projects and tasks that you do. You can also set your own color to each of the projects, and with each task (which are located within each project), a “variation” of the color you set automatically appears (ex: you set a color for X Project to be red; each of the tasks within that project are “shades” of red….).
You Can “See” What You’re Doing
As you perform your various tasks within a series of projects, you begin to see a colorful, yet simple picture of what you do. On both the Mac and iOS versions, there is a Statistics area where you can easily see (via colors) what you are doing. On the Mac version, you can hover your mouse over the chart to see the number of hours and minutes you’ve spent on a project and task! For “power users,” this feature right here might sway you into checking it out, as this can give you a breakdown of the time taken on the current task, the amount of time you’ve spent working during the day, and an overall “big picture” of how many hours you’ve spent working during the week!
Track Your Money
For many, this is probably the most important thing (especially for freelancers)! As your time is accruing, if you specify that you are working at $35.00/hour, the app will automatically calculate it for you as you go. When it comes to integrity, this one quality (believe it or not) causes us to be “all the more focused” on the tasks at hand so that the client will be charged reasonably for the services rendered.
Now we’ll admit, this became the biggest feature that we looked for when it came to a time-tracking app, as this would allow for specifying exactly what has been done. Tyme has a “Notes” feature included in it, but it’s not immediately apparent. Within the Tyme app, the “Notes” feature would come up when you have completed a timed session, not when you are beginning the timed session…. All in all, that is a good thing, because it makes perfect sense to specify what you have done after you’ve completed your work.
As was said above, this feature helps greatly in helping to invoice clients for services! It gives you the option of exporting a specific project, or a series of projects in the form of a simple PDF. In it, you can specify the Date, Start Time, End Time, Duration, Amount and Notes. It also shows a list of the timed sessions you completed within each task…. We will admit, there is some color missing from the PDF, but we can “suffer it to be so” for now. At the end of the day, what matters is that the client is able to see exactly what they are being charged, and why.
While the day is going forth, and work is being completed, this feature can prove to be helpful in keeping you focused. It’s available within the Notification Center on both iOS and Mac, and features a simple breakdown of the time for the current task, and the times for the day and week, along with other details such as when you started working today, and when you have finished working. It also shows the number of “Breaks” you’ve had during the day, as well as a reminder for the next upcoming deadline.
OK, A Few Caveats & Notes
Now, although the app is beautiful and powerful, the only caveat we “ran into” was at the beginning of using the Tyme apps. To be honest, one of the first things that you have to learn when using it is that you have to “shift” your mind into thinking how the app thinks…. What do we mean? Well, when we first started using it, we were “wired” in our brains to think that you have Projects, and within Projects are Tasks. We initially thought that Tasks included only one “timed session” (i.e. from 1:30pm – 2:15pm, etc.). However, here’s the catch: When you create Tasks, you have to look at each one as a “blanket” of smaller “timed sessions.” For example, let’s say you have a Task named “Website Revisions.” Instead of creating multiple Tasks for different days (as it may take you, say, 4 days to do it), you keep it as one Task. As the days progress, and you continue to perform the Tasks, you simply “turn on” the “timed session” by clicking/tapping on the record button in either iOS or Mac. Then, when your session is done, you click/tap again on the record button, and you then can specify exactly what you’ve done….
Potential Scenario: How To Use Tyme
SO, all of this is nice and good, but what’s an example of “how” to use this thing? Here’s a thought: