One of the things that worries most processionals involved with freelance work is to keep accurate track of the hours worked. This might be the case in other jobs where they need to take time worked in account. Some might do it on a piece of paper, there are some desktop applications, but today I'm covering what I think is a good alternative: TimeLog [iTunes Link] from Stefan Furst.
Timelog makes tracking worked hours easily. The first challenge if to know for how long one has worked. As in other desktop applications, the user will need to start recording when starts working. In Timelog, simply add a new log and click a red button to start recording. Similar to the iPhone's built in stopwatch, it will continue counting even if you exit the app. You have the option to pause and resume for your convenience.
What is really useful here is the capacity to tag or assign a category to the task you are undertaking. Project allows you to separate tasks for a particular client, while categories state what kind of work is being done, including the fee per hour. In case you forget to stop the time, you can tune if later on, even if that misses the point of the app in my opinion. It should really only be used to give round numbers.
All the time logs will be kept in a chronological list for you to see the most recent. This searchable view allows you to easily change between projects and tasks from the same screen. Simply click on the red button and a nice animation will indicate what you're working on. One of the small problems I see is that TimeLog doesn't allow you to change the fee per hour for avery individual project. Let's say I change the price for one of my categories, it will change retrospectively past projects. In that case I would create a new category entry for a particular project, but this is not ideal, I'd like to be able to set different fees for different clients.
Interface wise, TimeLog is neat. I love good app design and this one is very simple, easy to understand, and with the right amount of eye-candy to keep using the app. The grey-ish style reminds me of some Tapbots apps. The developer uses a palette of grey and red to represent present time and in recording buttons. The icon however is not so great and has some colors not present in the app in the current version.
A productivity app like this will need some minutes of your time to customize it to your needs. There is a video tutorial to give you an overall look right there in the app, so there is no need to skim through tutorials and manuals. TimeLog offers several ways to sync with the separate desktop version or export the data to iCal, and even allowing you to tweak details included in emails or even in plain text. For being from a third party developer, TimeLog has managed to create information and be able to export it in many formats to be able to combine it with other iPhone or desktop apps (think of invoicing as the obvious next step). If you always have your iPhone with you, why not keeping logs with it. If you are still looking for a solution that works for you, I suggest you give it a try.
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