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Time Tracker - Personal Productivity Lotus Notes Client Application - Coming Soon!
10/06/2009 02:37 PM by Chris Toohey
The other day, I took a 2-day course on Time Management, where I basically learned that my procrastination and misuse of time causes me to be inefficient.
I also learned something that we may all know, but it (at least for me) didn't really hit home: we all get the same number of hours in a day, and time is a finite resource.
One of the take-aways from this course was that I should be using technology to make me more efficient. Notice I didn't say productive, but rather efficient. See, smashing my head against a wall for an hour will produce a bloody mess... it certainly doesn't make that hour an efficient use of my time.
So I've started using more and more of the Calendaring & Scheduling capabilities in Lotus Notes... and not just for meetings and appointments. One of the things I learned is that I need to start allocating time within my schedule to do the things that I need to do - if I need 2 hours to put together a project plan for an upcoming project, I should be blocking out 2 hours from my daily schedule solely for that activity, and treat that allocated time the same way I would a normal meeting: focus on the task at hand, and use the time as efficiently as possible.
I've also started to better leverage the To Do functionality in Lotus Notes - I am tracking individual tasks, marking them complete as I go.
I learned that - for procrastinators like me - creating and well-documenting a task list (making sure to put priorities against each task and ensure that each works towards the project goals) is the best way to both keep focused and ensure I do the items that must be done, not the ones that look like the most fun.
So every morning I have 30 minutes blocked out of my schedule to put together and/or review my daily task list.
Another exercise that is intended to help me see my time wasters - which was recommended both in the training literature and by the instructor - is to keep a time diary. The idea is simple - write what you're doing, when you're doing it, and whether that was an efficient or inefficient use of my time.
At the end of a given day, I should have all of my time for the day accounted for - allowing me to see (when compared against my calendar and task list) where I succeeded and where I failed to make the most out of my time.
... so why am I bringing this up here? Well, aside from the fact that I don't think I'm the only procrastinator here and thought that sharing this information could prove invaluable... I honestly couldn't see myself keeping an ongoing diary of my time.
At first, it felt really weird; like I was spending more time working on the diary than working on... work.
Then I remembered - I'm a developer. There's gotta be a better, easier way of doing this.
So I created Time Tracker, a personal time-tracking productivity application for the Lotus Notes client.
This is a simple Lotus Notes Client Application that allows me to create time log entries, categorize each as Efficient or Inefficient, and mark the start and stop times of the given activity.
Where this really comes in handy is Sidebar Widget:
Again, simple: enter a description for the time, and hit the Efficient or Inefficient buttons. If it's the first entry of the day or if you check off the checkbox on the right-hand side of the description, you're presented with a dialog prompt asking you to set the start and end times.
No check in the checkbox or if this isn't your first of the day? It uses the
last time entry as your start time and
Now() as your end time, and
tracking your efficiency becomes a 1-click task!
I plan on publishing this application once I work out a few kinks (mostly in the Calendar View - nothing major, just not quite there yet from a UI standpoint). It will be a freeware/Open Source application, and I'm thinking of wiring some Readers fields into the backend - defined/toggled via the Preferences - that will allow you to easily put this on a Domino server and have multiple people enter their entries into a single application instance.
Thoughts? Features you'd like to see? I have some time available in my schedule coming up next week where I plan on finalizing the v1.0 release, so let me know what you'd like to see!