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My boss wants me to write a logs about what I do during my work day, and he wants me to write how much it takes to perform the given task and details.

Something like:

  1. Revising the CSS of the main page 20 minutes / done
  2. Writing a new module for custumer support 2 days / partially done

is there any software that helps me do so or should I simply write mine?

I really dont like using flat files they just start growing to the infinity.

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migrated from Dec 4 '11 at 15:15

This question came from our site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development.

Mac or windows? – Tim Joyce Dec 3 '11 at 11:02
linux,actually but i can take a windows solution cuz my boss is under windows – Achmas Qchmqs Maladé Dec 3 '11 at 11:05
Notepad++ or Excel. No need for new applications when you can achieve it with what you have! – Gaʀʀʏ Jul 5 '12 at 15:54

14 Answers 14

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Our company had us using Freshbooks with this widget to make sure they were sending out all billable hours. I have also used toggl in the past and liked it but quickly grew out of it as our projects started to become more custom jobs than just creating a wordpress site.

Now we use LiquidPlanner and they do not have a really convenient way of time tracking so I am now using the API to build us a widget.

I have fought this time tracking issue for years because it seems no one has yet to build a solution that is tailored to my needs.

mactimelog was really cool but it doesn't seem they have the equivalent to this for windows. But the cool part about it was that it spit a detailed report or just a text log file. And it was mostly all command control so it felt kind of nerdy.

Good luck, finding a time tracker you are comfortable with is hard. I usually use one for 2 weeks, then think of some kind of functionality that would be cool but missing from my time tracker so I start to look again.

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For Mac, Time Tracker ( does quite a nice job too. It allows you to put your tasks into categories. And it's free. – EOL Dec 3 '11 at 12:04
i will try those and come back – Achmas Qchmqs Maladé Dec 3 '11 at 12:44
i tryied them and it feels like i need mactimelog, but i am under linux so i guess i will just code mine,using PyQt – Achmas Qchmqs Maladé Dec 3 '11 at 13:13
I use TimeDoctor to great benefit – noesgard Dec 11 '15 at 9:53

Emacs org-mode

Emacs org-mode supports the complete workflow of

  • capturing / note taking
  • planning
  • monitoring status of tasks and projects
    • add status like TODO, CANCELLED, HOLD, DONE
      (preset defined, but keywords can be customized very flexibly)
    • creating custom "agenda views" (e. g. todo or projects lists with subsets of your todos)
    • add start or deadline dates to your tasks
    • add tags to sort your tasks in addition to hierarchical outlining
  • time tracking
    • easily clock-in to a task on your todo list (agenda) by Shift-I
  • reporting / documentation



  • platform independent
  • all features available with keyboard shortcuts
  • very flexible and highly customizable
  • supports complete workflow from brainstorming/note taking over planning/doing up to documentation and reporting
  • actively developed with very supportive community


  • maybe difficult learning curve in the beginning, if you're not yet familiar with Emacs and its concepts


With Emacs and org-mode, you can create tasks and clock in/clock out of them with a keyboard shortcut:

"Org-mode allows you to clock the time you spend on specific tasks in a project. When you start working on an item, you can start the clock. When you stop working on that task, or when you mark the task done, the clock is stopped and the corresponding time interval is recorded. It also computes the total time spent on each subtree of a project. And it remembers a history or tasks recently clocked, to that you can jump quickly between a number of tasks absorbing your time."

Screenshot from

screenshot from


Emacs org-mode also has very flexible and powerful export capabilities (see ) which make it quite easy to create reports in other formats like plain text, html or pdf and share the data with other non-Emacs-users.

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thanks, I've been meaning to look through org mode manual. I haven't tried it yet, but this sounds awesome :D – MeowMeow Mar 7 '12 at 20:27
@MeowMeow: org-mode is awesome! :-) – MostlyHarmless Mar 19 '15 at 2:45

On Linux I would go with Project Hamster.

On Mac I am using timeEdition.

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+1 for Project Hamster on Linux – Mr Gravity Dec 8 '11 at 13:31
+1 thank you,lol :) – Qchmqs Dec 8 '11 at 15:35

I know you don't want that, but I've been using a single worklog.txt file for years, and it works for me. It's easily searchable, and never grew big enough to make the text editor slow down. The file is always open all day, so I can add to it quickly.

After the first weeks, the formatting ended up like this:

  30m : revised the CSS of the main page 20 minutes
  7.5h : new module for custumer support

  4h : new module for custumer support
  4h : issue #3456 with newlines

I often throw in some notes about the topic I worked on. I rarely log times smaller than 30 minutes, and I sometimes skip writing status like 'done'. I prefer appending new stuff at the top of the file.

Every other day I also use the file to feed whatever time-tracking tool the management uses.

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I am using RescueTime for time tracking. Check it out.

It eliminates the data entry portion of tracking which is such a time saver. It also generates weekly reports.

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I recommend ManicTimer ( - as mentioned in the previous post -, too. The software logs the software and files you are currently using. Additionally you can tag your activities with project names.

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Firstly you can try the Pomodoro Technique to manage your time, and secondly, you can use TeamViz (formerly known as "Pomodoro App") to track your tasks.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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I think this is the best way. It combines focus on getting tasks done and accountability with time. You can do the Pomodoro Technique with an app like the above or just with a notebook and pen. It should be really easy to account for the time and show how much progress you are making. – Stuart Woodward Aug 29 '12 at 0:21

gnotime is a pretty decent GNOME/Linux solution for time tracking and journal keeping.

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i will give it a try and i will be back – Achmas Qchmqs Maladé Dec 3 '11 at 12:44

You have several options:

0 - See Zoho Calendar Zoho Calendar

1 - See this: WuNderList

2 - Use Zoho Projects starting at about twenty bucks/month: Zoho Projects

3 - Use a shared location where each employee can save a sheet containing the desired information and provide proper access rights

Don't forget to log the time it takes to log time :)

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I make a time tracking program that is suitable to log your tasks (Windows only), it's called yaTimer

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I'd look at something Autohotkey-esque like QuickLogger at Also - has some great scripts you can tweak without problems. The most important thing is that it's fast to use and not super complicated. Saves to a CSV so you can import it to a spreadsheet and calculate.

Don't overengineer this!

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On my last job I used a simple time tracker program which I annoyingly do not remeber the name of (and is currently searching for it again). It stored its information in text files (xml IIRC), had a list of the tasks you were working on where is kept track of time spent on the current task. The program was developed from approximately someone eastern Europe (Hungary or Polen maybe), and the author had given the program a name which ment work in a (slightly?) negative meaning. Anyone that could comment/update this answer with the proper name?

Update: I remembered the name of the tool: Rachota. It is a simple but highly useful portable java application.

enter image description here

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I recommend you check TimeDoctor which can help you list your entire tasks for the day and tracks time accurately. It can also help you organize tasks depends on priority level or depends on what you desire to do. Using this tool it tracks effectively all of your activities in REAL TIME. This gives you a reading on exactly where you spent your time, and how much of that time was productive or unproductive.

It includes tracking all you computer activities from websites, applications, documents and etc. that has been actively being used and for how you have been using it. Using this tool is also a great way of keeping your focus, limits wasted time and boost productivity.

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You may find further suggestions about tools to track tasks (Windows) at this page Windows Freeware/Shareware programs for tracking daily tasks? For now, the suggested tools are TSheets, Toodledo, Grindstone, ManicSoftware.

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shareware are not really my thing, i'd pay for something if it is useful , and i prefer free(as i speech) software – Qchmqs Jul 16 '13 at 3:02

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