Find out where all your time’s going
Making an app uncomplicated and simple is usually a smart move, but sometimes a developer can take things a bit too far. This is the feeling we get with ZeitNote, which pares personal time tracking to the bone.
The basic concept is fine, though not unique on OS X; you fire up the app (or just add it to your login items for best results), and ZeitNote tracks the ones you use and how much time you spend in them. ZeitNote’s developer points out there aren’t really any ways to ‘cheat’ the app, but then if you feel the need to cheat, you probably shouldn’t be using ZeitNote or any of its contemporaries anyway.
As long as you’ve spent over a minute in an app, you’ll get feedback from ZeitNote, presented inside a window available from the menu bar. Click on the ZeitNote icon and you see a bar chart that shows the apps you’ve used, and how long you used each of them. Underneath you’ll find a single line representing the entire day (running from midnight to midnight). White areas denote active times on the Mac, and a faded line indicates the Mac was idle or asleep at that time. Select any of the apps in the chart and its usage is then displayed over the aforementioned line. ZeitNote is easy to use, and although it’s not especially beautiful, there’s enough clarity where it matters.
And that’s about it. You can click left and right arrows to view data from other dates, although you can’t jump straight to a specific day. More frustratingly, there’s no means of exporting your data. For personal timekeeping on a purely at-a-glance basis, this is fine, not least given the app’s low price tag. However, it would be good to have access to trends about your app usage within ZeitNote, or at least the means to get at the data it records, so that it can be examined and explored elsewhere. Craig Grannell
ZeitNote is not a bad option for personal time tracking, but it could do with more scope regarding collected data.