Every now and then someone comes up with a clever new way of doing something on our Macs that’s so perfect we wonder why it wasn’t done already.
TimeTable is such a utility. Alright, many of us use iCal for daily projects, scheduling, but not for tracking our time.
TimeTable tracks what you do in iCal and gives you a simple way to track hours, bill for your time, keep a record of projects in iCal.
There are all kinds of invoice and billing systems available for the Mac, though few of them are as simple and elegant as iCal, which many of us use because it’s well, it works.
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could use iCal for your projects, any and all of them, to track the time you put into each project? Yes, certainly. After all, we’re using iCal already, so the only challenge is the find some way to add up the hours, list them by project or calendar, right?
That’s it. That’s exactly what TimeTable does. When you use iCal you can set it up by using different calendars, either for projects or by client.
There’s just no easy way to calculate all the hours, therefore, billing for time isn’t easy in iCal.
Unless you’re using the very handy TimeTable, the little database that tracks what you do in iCal, then gives you detailed information about each calendar or project, so you know where your time goes.
This is a very attractive, valuable Mac utility. Think of it as an extension to iCal. Instead of buying an expensive and complex billing or project tracking application to track and list your time separate from iCal, TimeTable integrates with iCal by pulling up, filtering, displaying your iCal calendars as projects.
Just as elegant and simple is how iCal works with your iPhone. Whatever shows up on one shows up on the other. So, you’d expect TimeTable to work with iCal on your iPhone or iPod touch, right?
It doesn’t, but all you have to do is sync your iPhone or iPod touch iCal events back to your Mac, then TimeTable pulls all the hours from iCal and gives you reports you need.
Even without actually working on your iPhone, TimeTable does the job. Track time simply by creating a new appointment in a specific calendar within iCal. NOt bad for $15, huh?
iCal quickly becomes the project tracking application we’re already using. If you have more sophisticated needs, TimeTable also exports CSV files which can be used in more comprehensive invoicing, billing, time tracking, or spreadsheet applications.
In short, iCal becomes a good way to track your work as if it’s an iCal event.
There are a few drawbacks, though minor, depending on your project tracking and billing requirements. TimeTable isn’t a sophisticated invoicing application. It simply pulls data from iCal, lets you filter by calendar or project, which is great for billing.
TimeTable is also OS X Leopard only. Tiger users need not apply.
I can’t tell you how many different project tracking and invoicing utilities I’ve looked at through the years. They have a number of things in common, including higher cost, higher learning curve, ongoing complexity.
iCal? I already know how to use it, and setting up calendars as projects is a breeze. TimeTable simply reads what’s there already and gives you detailed reports—perfect for Mac users who need tracking, but for whom cost is an object.