Time Tracking and Reporting

One of beorg’s extensions is to help you track time spent on tasks. When the Task Timers extension was first introduced it was only really useful if you also used clocking in Org mode on the desktop. As well as developing beorg I provide development services for third parties working on projects on either a day rate or for a fixed price. When I’m at my computer I track time in Org mode by clocking in and out of tasks so I can keep track of how much budget is left on fixed price projects or how much to charge clients when charging for time spent. Org mode has lots of powerful tools for reporting on time but they aren’t necessarily that easy to use. beorg 3.8.0 introduces some new functionality to the Task Timers extension to give some simple reports on logged time.

Logging time

Tracking time in beorg is simple. From the Agenda or Tasks tab long-press an item and select Start Timer. When there is a running timer an icon will appear at the top of the screen. You can tap the running timer icon to either jump straight to the task or stop the timer. You can also start/stop a timer from the task itself.

I prefer to have a single file into which I track all of my time as this makes it easier for generating reports. My time tracking file is organised by clients and projects. For example:

* Current projects
    ** Big Corporation
        *** Internal App
        *** Customer App
    ** Local Startup
        *** Booking MVP

For small projects I’ll log time directly against the project. For larger projects, or for projects where I charge by the hour, I’ll add items to group exactly how I’m spending my time. Tracking time is not only useful for financials but also to analyse where I’ve spent more or less time than I expected so I can estimate projects better in the future.

Time reporting

I have a number of regular clients. Here are some examples of how tracked time differs between them:

It is vital that I keep careful track to see whether I’ve spent enough time on some clients, for example those where I’m doing a particular amount each month, when invoicing how much to charge clients for work done by the hour, and if I’m not going to go over budget for fixed price projects.

The new time reporting feature in beorg makes the above super simple. I go to the Current projects item (I like to use the tag Bookmark and a saved search so I can access with only a few taps.) Then I tap the timer icon and select Report. I can then quickly switch between Daily, Weekly, Monthly and All Time reports.

Money

There are a couple of properties which you can add to projects in beorg to help convert between time and money. The first is HOURLY_RATE. Add this as high up in the hierarchy as possible. When you create a time report the number of hours will be the time multiplied by the hourly rate and shown where appropriate. The second is FIXED_COST. Adding this to a project will show that exact amount in the All Time report. This can be useful in getting a handle on how much has been earned from projects. beorg will automatically total hourly and monetary amounts.

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