Any freelance, temp or contract worker will face the same issue at some point. How to track and justify the hours worked on a project? For some jobs this is the basic way to bill clients. Keeping an accurate record of your activities is not only a way to get paid for everything you’ve done, but also to show your client the effort that has gone into it and that you’re serious and methodical about everything you do. As I already mentioned in previous reviews, since your iPhone is always with you, this might be the perfect tool to keep track of the projects you have worked on wherever you go, without any excuse.
You can either use the app to time every project and subtask you're working on -imagine a chronometer- or simply recording the hours worked loosely, which is not as fun or accurate.
During the first launch the app will intuitively guide you through the main areas: the main screen is a timer type display with prominent pause and done buttons. Here you can see your current activity and see the amount of time you have spent already with it. Simple toggle controls also allow you to see accumulated time on the same screen (last entry, today and summary).
If you decide to keep different tasks for the same project or client under the same folder, TimMate will give you the total amount of hours spent on it - which I believe it's an important part for freelancers when they plan their day.
More importantly, TimeMate will also give you a clear overview of per day and per hour, which is also important for future reference and to keep your client updated. Of course, all the fields can be edited in case you have forgotten to pause an activity or have forgotten to use the app one day.
A great overview of your work
If you want to keep records of every minute of your work, you might want to show them off in a beautiful fashion. TimeMate includes a review pane that can be very useful to visualise your work, using simple bar and pie charts with all the information you’ve already have. It’s worth investigating the different options that the app includes: you can’t really create your custom report, but you can filter them by projects, tasks or dates.
On top of that, all these can be exported as part of an HTML email that I found rather good looking and professional (the colour scheme matches some templates you see in Apple’s Keynote). You might not want to email these directly to clients, but they are a great starting point for your reporting and might save you precious time instead of importing to Excel or whatever you do now.
Finally, a calendar view will display your completed activities filtered by day, week or month. The format is similar to the default Calendar app and all the tasks appear as appointments, to give you the idea. I can see myself using this part for planning my day, spotting easily the parts of the day when I am more productive and play around that.
Notice that so far I have focused on professional uses of the app, but you can easily extrapolate those to other activities. Students can use it to prepare exams, parents to keep track of children’s activities and gym enthusiasts to monitor their workouts. The app is certainly open to accommodate this uses, or just track any other regular activity that your OCD requires.
Overall, TimeMate is a perfectly designed little app with the user in mind. I can help to think that the developer was probably coding an app for his own use... It really shows that level of care. Feature-wise, TimeMate delivers in the basics with its simple timers and organisers. I think it’s the additional extras such as the report pane that elevates the app to something more than a bland productivity tool. Using all the recorded information to organise my workflow and improve my productivity is something I wasn't expecting and that might convince me to keep using TimeMate everyday.