Easy time tracking

One of the most important tool in my productivity toolbox, is a way to keep track of what I have to do and what I have been doing. I’ve tried all kind of tools for the job, from simple note taking with pan and paper, to modern task management platforms with mobile apps and web applications. I somehow was never really satisfied, the main reason being that I haven’t found a solution that allows me to do both of these things in a satisfactory way.

Recently I discovered (and fell in love) with taskwarrior. It is a command line tool for storing tasks and dealing with prioritisation. It is super simple and above all, just works in any environment and setting. Even though it has the capability of tracking how long you worked for a task, you cannot really get reports on how much you worked on tasks with the same tag or on the same project.

That is where timewarrior comes into play…

Timewarrior can track your time and give you really awesome reports on what you worked on for specific time intervals. Looks like exactly what you need to track your productivity, either for personal or professional reasons. Problem is, who wants to use a second tool? The more tools you use, the less productive you are, so the whole point of increasing productivity is lost! Well, the great thing about task and timewarrior is that they play really well together. They are actually developed by the same team, and you can connect them in a way that allows you to only use taskwarrior, while timewarrior is tracking your time seamlessly! Timewarrior comes pre-installed with a taskwarrior hook so that when you start a task in taskwarrior, your time is tracked automatically :)


One thing was missing though: A way to visually see what you are working on. A kind of indicator for the desktop to remind you that you are either not tracking any activity, or the activity you are currently working on. I searched on gnome extensions and couldn’t find something, so I did what any geek among us would do: I wrote my own extension.

At the moment, it is a very simple extension, just showing the current activity on the desktop. It constantly checks the output of the timewarrior software and parses the result in a specific format. And it’s pretty useful just as it is, because you avoid forgetting to turn on or off the time tracker. But of course there is room for improvement and ideas for more features. If you find this useful, and you have any ideas, please let me know, either by e-mail, or by adding an issue on the github repository. Pull requests are totally welcome too :)

Tassos Natsakis
Lecturer on Robotics and Biomechanics


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