A few weeks ago I put out a tweet asking for recommendations for a piece of software for time tracking:
What I got back was a wealth of options, including:
My requirements for this are quite simple. The piece of software needed to be:
- Simple and non-intrusive to use
- If it is overly complicated to use, or takes a long time to do anything with it, it defies the point what I am trying to achieve
- It has to be free
- I am doing this as an experiment to track various different tasks, and at the minute, I don’t want to have to fork out money. That doesn’t mean that at some point I wouldn’t transition to a paid service
- It has to be able to provide a report on the time I have spent
- In order to be useful, I need to be able to produce reports (in preferably multiple formats) of all the hours that I have worked on a task. Preferably, this would be selectable which regard to which projects to add to the report, which days to report on, etc.
- Usable from my mobile
- It would be good to be able to start and stop timing while on the move and not on my main machine, so having a mobile phone application would be a bonus.
Having looked at the above suggestions, it was clear that it was going to be hard to pick which one to go with. Some I ruled out straight away, based on price and features, others I actually played with before making the final decision.
After a couple days playing around, I decided to give Yast a full trial run, and I am happy to say that I am not disappointed! Yast is fully web based, there is nothing to install on your machine, a big bonus in a corporate environment.
Its interface is ridiculously easy to use (you can see a live demo on their home page), and it’s reporting capabilities are very good. You have the ability to report in CSV, Excel and PDF.
Unlike some of the other packages which track the applications that you are currently using on you computer and automatically creates time entries for you, Yast relies on you starting and stopping a timer, per task. However, I don’t mind this. I simply keep a web browser open with the Yast page open, and when I need to change task, I simply jump to the web browser, and make the switch. This is actually a useful thing, because when people come up to ask questions, I make a conscious effort to make sure that they see me stopping and starting a timer, that way they know that they are accruing time, that will ultimately get billed to their project. Even if I forget to do this, the editing mechanism is, again, incredibly simple to use.
Yast also comes with http://m.yast.com, which works perfectly from my Windows Phone 7, so when I am out and about, I can track my time as well.
All in all, I am very happy with using Yast, so much so that I am using the reports that it produces to provide information to my line manager about what I have been working on. I would very much recommend you take a look at this package if you are looking for help tracking your time.comments powered by Disqus