Keeping track of the time you spend during certain activities can be useful for many reasons. The most obvious one that comes to mind is if you are a freelancer that needs to bill by the hour, and therefore need some proof of how much time you spent doing certain tasks. But that’s certainly not all, even if you don’t charge by the hour, it’s still useful to know how much time you’re spending doing certain tasks so that you can then refine your workflow or be aware of how much time you are investing (or wasting).
If your job depends on charging by the hour, you probably already use a time-tracking/invoicing app like Harvest or Toggl. However, plenty of users have tried to get into these apps only to ultimately abandon or forget them. That’s where Tictoc comes in. It’s a drop-dead simple time-tracking app that lives in your Mac’s menu bar.
Tictoc is a super simple Mac app that can help you track the time you spend doing certain activities. Sure, there are tons of similar apps and services, but what makes Tictoc unique and differentiates it from the competition is the fact that its gimmick relies on the features that it doesn’t have instead of the ones it does.
Tictoc makes it super easy to keep track of the time spent doing certain activities, but without being intrusive or hard to understand. It removes the usual features that you might find in similar apps (like clients, projects, invoicing, time tracking of each app, etc.) in order to create an easier experience and a much simpler and cheaper way of tracking time.
Tictoc works primarily through your menubar. If you have any active tasks in the app, they will be shown right next to the menu bar icon with their name and the time they have been active for. Clicking on this area will bring up the main window for the app, which consists of a black, blue and grey menu with just a few elements. In it you will find a list with all the tasks you’ve setup as well as a few buttons for activating or stopping timers.
There are also a few buttons spread around for accessing the settings, creating new tasks, and exporting your data. Below the list of your tasks, there will be some information on how much time you’ve spent in total throughout the day and the week on your overall tasks.
“Tasks” are the assignments that you’d like to keep track of. You can create several of them, and each task that you create can have different sessions inside of it, which are basically different set times where you have worked on the same task. Sessions will be automatically created when you track time at different hours or days, although you can also set manually any period (along with any notes) where you might have worked on the task without tracking time inside the app. To do this, you just need to click on the task and select the “+” button, and then select the date, duration and notes for the session you’d like to create.
Although this feature might not be too obvious, it is possible to track the time of different tasks at the same time. To do this, you need to deselect the “Stop timing the current task when starting a new task”, or hold the Option key when you start timing a new task. Otherwise, the app will stop tracking the current task everytime you try to track another one.
For being quite a simplistic app, Tictoc is surprisingly customizable and well-designed. Even if you’d still like to keep using a project management or invoicing service with this app, you can export all of your time-tracking done with it through an XML/CSV document. It even lets you select the range of dates that you would like to export.
You can also choose the way you’d like your current tasks to be displayed in the menu bar by going deep into the settings. There you can deselect the title and/or the timing of the task from appearing next to the icon of the app in the menu bar. Right there in the settings you can select a default “idle time”, which is the time at which the timer will stop if you haven’t used your computer, as well as choose a keyboard shortcut for the app.
Project managing services on the Internet are a dime a dozen, but Tictoc isn’t really up to the level of any of those apps. Instead, more direct competition for it would be new-ish Mac apps like TimeCop, or even any type of physical timer along with a notebook (sounds very primitive, I know).
I could definitely see myself using this app in the future. I don’t have any need for invoicing by the hour or organizing my projects in a intricate manner, so really the only things I want to use this app for is to keep myself focused on what I’m doing (being tracked helps a lot with distractions, personally), as well as have some hard data on how long it takes me to do certain tasks. If you’re anything like me, then you might also find Tictoc useful.
However, if you already use a proper project management app, you find yourself using most of its features, like invoicing and client support, and don’t have any problem paying a recurring fee for using it, then Tictoc might not do much for you, unless you want to use it as a secondary app for tracking time and then exporting it to your favorite project management service. It really depends on your workflow and the needs that you could have for an app like this. Thoughts?