Get the benefits of systematic task effort tracking and the convenience of free-form quick notes: ctasks supports multiple input time formats and uses a few simple rules to make your tracking effort and life easier. You just write one task and duration per line and you're done. Following line formats are supported:
(optional TAG:) (DESCRIPTION) (DURATION) (optional TAG:) (DESCRIPTION) (STARTTIME) (DURATION) (optional TAG:) (DESCRIPTION) (STARTTIME) (ENDTIME) (optional TAG:) (DESCRIPTION) (ENDTIME)
If the (STARTTIME) field is missing then the end of the previous task (or default work day start time if no tasks for that day) as used as the start of the next task. To make those formats a bit less abstract, all of following are valid examples of 'refactoring' task of 1 hour 15 minutes duration:
refactoring 1h15m refactoring 1h 15m refactoring 1h 15min refactoring 1h15min refactoring 75m refactoring 1.25h refactoring 09:00 - 1h 15m refactoring 09:00 1h 15min refactoring 09:00-1h15m refactoring 09:00 / 1h15min refactoring 09:00 1.25h refactoring 09:00 / 75m refactoring 09am / 1h 15m refactoring 09 AM / 1h 15min refactoring 9am / 1h15m refactoring 09:00 AM / 1h15min refactoring 09:00 am / 1.25h remember-invoice: refactoring 09AM / 75m refactoring 9-10:15 refactoring 9am-10:15 refactoring 09am - 10:15 refactoring 09 AM / 10:15 am refactoring 9am-10:15am refactoring 09:00 AM / 10:15 AM refactoring 09:00 am - 10:15 am
You can also enter negative duration. Negative duration is used to calculate time backwards from current time. So, for example, if your meeting is finished at noon you could enter "meeting -3h" to get entry registered as "meeting 09:00-3h".
You can also write just end time of the task. In that case end time of previous task is used as start time for the new one. So, for example, if your meeting is finished at noon you could enter "meeting -12:00" to get entry registered as "meeting 09:00-3h" (or "meeting 3h", or "meeting 09:00-3h"...)
Not enough to find a suitable style for you? Let us know the details at . Regular expressions welcome. :-)
Prefer to track your hours offline with Excel or OpenOffice? You can do that as well, and still get the benefit of reporting and structured data, online storage, access anywhere and daily backups. ctasks supports seamless download and upload of Excel 97/2000 format XLS files. You can track your hours either spreadsheet-by-project basis or import multiple projects at once from a single spreadsheet using project name as one column.
When you are busy it is easy to lose the big picture. ctasks gives you overview of, for example, how much total time you have spend on the project, what are the most time-consuming tasks, how much specific tasks have taken total time, and how much different tags compare, for example, how much you have worked on tasks you have tagged as 'invoice' vs others. You can also download your work-log in any time zone or time format you want. Besides crunching your tasks offline, this can be useful if your customers are in different time zones or you need to input hours to your customer's system using different date/time formats.
ctasks supports web hooks for integrating task effort reportings to your git workflow. You can write time you spent on specific task directly to your git commit, and the task is automatically logged to the system. Both Bitbucket and GitHub support web hooks, and ctasks works seamlessly with both of the services.
Besides parsing input in multiple formats, ctasks supports reporting in multiple formats and multiple time zones. You can, for example, input your hours in different time zone from your reporting time zone, and still get accurate reports as output. You can also change your time zone and your task times get adjusted automatically. This gives a modern day nomad a robust tool-set for time tracking no matter where you are. (all your tasks are actually stored in UTC, Coordinated Universal Time)
You can also have multiple members in your projects. Everyone can continue tracking their tasks as usual independently, but the reports will give overview where the team spent it's time overall. However, only summaries are given even to admins, so you do not need to be worried of having the tool abused for watching the team over their shoulder — that is not the purpose. We want to encourage everyone to track their tasks and improve their estimates and efficiency. That is the primary goal, not monitoring in micro level what your team is doing.
The main benefit of continuously tracking your tasks and hours is that it improves your future estimates. Everything takes more time than you would guess, and it is easy to forget some important parts of the tasks. Only way to improve your estimation process is to track how well your estimates played out.
When you track your tasks and see the number of hours spend on each tasks, you internally start to prioritize tasks more efficiently and think about time in more conscious way.
It is easy to forget all the effort you put into the projects. What did you actually do whole last week? Sometimes you get a feeling that you haven't been productive, even if it's not true. Perspective and permanent memory of your valuable time spend works as refresher what you worked on last time. This is especially true if you have multiple projects and tasks to work on.