Fortunately, there’s an inexpensive Mac app which does just that. It tracks which apps you use on your Mac and when so you can see how much time you work, and how much time is devoted to diddling around and wasting time.
Time Tracked By Time Sink
The Mac App Store has a number of time tracking apps, though most are used to track tasks for projects, and not intended to track your app usage while you’re not paying attention.
Time Sink does that. It resides in the background and tracks the time you spend on various and sundry Mac apps.
The devil’s in the details, or course, or in the case of Time Sink, it’s the reports that Time Sink spits out.
This is the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it Mac app. Install Time Sink and let it run in the background.
Before you know it you’ll ignore it and get back into your regular habits of using specific apps to work, and others to, well, you know– waste time.
Therein lies the rub– and the value– of Time Sink.
What Time Sink does is simply watch what you do while you’re on your Mac. Email, browser, iChat, App Store, whatever.
All the data that Time Sink grabs can be displayed, sliced, diced, sorted and filtered so give you a quick snapshot of where the day went, which apps are productive, which are time wasters.
GEtting a look at the data is easy, too, as Time Sink is available with a click from the Menubar (or, the Dock). Select a time period and prepare to be impressed. Or, discouraged.
You can also suspend tracking after an interval of time, or prevent tracking of specific apps or windows by using a Blacklist. It’s loaded with plenty of little details, and an option to get all geeky on your bad self by spitting out data for a spreadsheet or database.
Here’s the surprise Time Sink presented to me. I browse way too much, and I’m bogged down in responding to worthless emails way too much (all email is worthless). Productivity apps such as Word and Excel don’t get as much attention as I thought they did.
I can see some value of having an app like Time Sink in a small office environment, or placing it on a shared family Mac, or ever added to a teenager’s Mac. In this case, Big Brother doesn’t accuse, but it could incriminate.