Apple

How to track work time using the Hours app for iOS

Managing and logging your work hours can be a bit of a pain, especially if you deal with multiple clients and multiple projects. Fortunately, a new iOS app called Hours can make this process easier.

Hours for iOS

Freshbooks, Harvest, and a few other online invoicing solutions can also track your time, but sometimes you just need something simple that can track your schedule, get the total number of hours you've worked per week, and help you manage multiple projects and multiple clients. With Hours for iOS, you can do just that. Continue reading, and we'll show you how to use this new app to track your own projects.

What you'll need

Creating a client and project

After installing and launching Hours, creating a new client and project is easy, and they can be done in the same fell swoop (or at least in a few taps) by following these steps:

  1. Go to the Today view by tapping Today in the main calendar view
  2. Tap the Add new timer button from the Today view (Figure A)
    Figure A
    Figure A
  3. Enter a Project Title, Client name (optional), then select a color that you'd like to represent the specific project (Figure B)
    Figure B
    Figure B
  4. Tap the Add button

Once you've added the project, it will appear on the main screen above the Add new timer button that you tapped before. You only have to add the project once, and it will show up on each of the days that you select in the calendar.

Starting a timer

Once you have a project, you can start tracking your time more efficiently using the Hours app. To start a timer at the current time, all you need to do is tap on the clock button that appears to the right of the project that you wish to begin tracking.

Once the timer has started, it will begin counting up the hours that you've worked on the project ( Figure C). You can easily tap on the clock icon for another project to begin tracking those hours, plus switch between projects very easily. The time line at the top of the Today view will give you a visual indication of how much time you've spent on projects for the entire day.

Figure C

Figure C

The timeline at the top of the Today view will visually indicate the projects that you've worked on throughout the day.

The timer will continue tracking your time, even if you navigate away from the Hours app or lock your device. To stop the timer, you just need to return to the application and tap on the clock icon. The timer function will end, finalizing and recording the project hours spent for that timed session.

Tapping on the project in the timeline ( Figure D) that appears above the listing of projects will give you a new view that lets you change the project that the time is assigned to, change the start and end times, add notes, and delete, split, or specify a break time.

Figure D

Figure D

Tapping on a project in the timeline lets you add notes regarding what you worked on for more detailed time tracking.

Exporting reports

Once you've recored all of your time, it's an important feature to be able to export the recorded time and projects out into a format that you can either archive or share with a client. Fortunately, exporting reports is very easy in the Hours application.

To export your time for an entire week, simply follow these steps:

  1. In the Today view, tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
  2. Tap Reporting
  3. In the reporting section, tap the Weekly Report button in the title bar to change the report period (Custom, 30 Days, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, Al Time)
  4. Specify the time period using the sliders
  5. Tap the Export button in the upper, right-hand corner
  6. When you do this, you'll be asked if you want to export All clients (Figure E) or just only a custom one
    Figure E
    Figure E
  7. Next, you'll be asked if you wish to export all of the details with the notes or just a summary
  8. Finally, you'll be asked if you want the report exported as a PDF or as a CSV

Once you've set all of the options, a new email will open with the PDF or CSV already attached, ready for you to address and type in any additional notes.

Do you use the Hours app for keeping track of your projects? If so, tell us about your experience. If not, which app(s) do you use instead? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

About Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox