This simple time tracking program has some useful extra tools for helping you focus
Tracking how much time has been spent on a particular task is a big help to being productive. Some time-tracking devices can get rather complicated but WatchMe is simple to use and also tracks how focussed you are on particular jobs.
Installation is quite simple as the download is a compressed folder. Extract the files and double-click on the WatchMe icon to start it. This does mean that you will need to create a shortcut and copy it into the Startup folder in the Start Menu if you want it to start automatically.
When WatchMe starts for the first time there are five timers set up and ready to go, one of which has an alert.
Changing the name is as simple as typing in the text box and the arrows to the right of the timers can be used to move them up and down through the list. Notes can be added to each timer so WatchMe can work as a to-do list manager as well.
It is possible to run more than one timer at a time if you don't ban this in the options. The seems slightly at odds with what we think is the strongest tool in WatchMe: the Focus watcher.
This keeps an eye on how many times you have switched jobs over the last hour. The idea of this is to stop you from flitting from one thing to another, which is a big productivity killer. Of course, it requires using the software honestly but it's a good visual indicator of how you are doing.
Timers can have alerts set on them to work after they have been active for a certain period of time. This can either show a message, sound a bleep or even start another program.
Although you can choose where to install WatchMe, the file containing the amount of time spent on different tasks is saved into your User Folder in Windows. The exact location can be found by clicking on the Help menu and then About. There's no option to change this location, which is a shame because WatchMe would make a great portable app to store on a USB key. Students working on different computers on campus for example would find this a useful option.
Sadly that's not the only problem with the records file. The records are stored as an XML file, which is good because XML is a plain text format but there are no tools for summarising how your time has been spent. This is stark contrast with alternatives such as Klok or Time Edition. Time is recorded as clock ticks that will need to be converted to a human-friendly equivalent and there is no record of when the time was spent.
If you are more interested in tracking your time for the motivation rather than detailed records, WatchMe is a good program that is easy to use.
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