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Roadmap » Time tracking

50 points | Current stage: Work in progress | Type: Feature


  • Amin
    11 Apr 2018
    The beta version already is very helpful! For time, but also goals it would be great to be able to track rolling averages (strides does that really well)
  • James (Nach Team)
    25 Jul 2016
    An early preview of the Time Tracking lab can now be enabled from the Profile tab of the app! If you're interested, please give it a go, start logging your time, and let me know your feedback on the current experience/feature set.

    Main things I still want to see added:

    - Proper interactive widget for logging time rather than a browser dialog (for now just enter times in some format like "1h30" and they will be recognised).
    - Ability to log time on completed steps directly from the Goal Map.
    - Ability to see at a glance time spent in the Step History Chart, without needing to click on individual days
    - Ability to see how total time in nested steps/sub-goals add up to parent goal (although this might need to wait for )
  • James (Nach Team)
    25 Jul 2016
    @dimitri What are the odds... I'm actually reading The First 20 Hours right now. I like the pragmatic approach it describes - think it's exactly the type of process which would be ideal to augment with Nach.

    Yeah, you're right that it's not very clear how this process would be best carried out with Nach (habits vs repeating steps). I'll probably have a think about this and put an article up on the site at some point recommending a workflow.

    I think it would be a bit of a stretch to see this time tracking feature as a way to enable these type of skill learning goals though. Probably best way to look at time tracking is that it's an extra level of accuracy on top of the existing metrics that were presented (instead of just saying "I completed 3 steps in the Skills category today", you can say "I spent 4h 20m on the Skills category today"). Pretty simple. The other things you mention I can definitely see being useful features, and something I'm quite keen to try and find a neat solution for, but not really related to this feature imo.
  • dimitri
    19 Jul 2016
    This sounds really great!
    Like it will enable some long-term time planning and logging. Really looking forward to it! : )

    True, I'm still confused about the time logging, completed steps and tracker distinction, since one can also input a time reading for a tracker. But perhaps that doesn't matter. I'll just wait to see it.^^

    I think I understood my own thought just yesterday. When I look at my goals, I see three general types of goals: (1) to-do goals (e.g., preparing for travel) requires completing steps X,Y,Z once, packing, visa application, booking transport,... (2) learning/skill building/training goals (e.g., learning to play the guitar or a new language, training to run x kilometers in a marathon), and (3) maintanance goals (e.g., go to the gym X times a week to stay in shape - not to gain or lose weight).

    Type 1 is the classical goal list structure. Type 3 goals are easily represented by regularly recurring habits. I was thinking of how to best represent type 2 goals, as well. One way would be again through habits. However, learning and gaming principles suggest further factors might play a role here: You can set proficiency stages that you want to reach to motivate yourself (milestones, probably sub-goals are best suited for this). Josh Kaufman recommends precommitting to 20 hours of practice to learn anything fast and reach stage one (Blocking these 20 hours for practice will be possible and would show with completion of steps and sub-goals). Finally, from language learning, we know about spaced repetition, which is designed to counter the forgetting curve (e.g., repeat a new word immediately, then after 1 day, 2-3 days, a week). By repeating the same step a couple of times before completion, and spacing out repetitions over longer and longer periods, you can memorize anything permanently. I was trying to wrap my head around whether the new features would enable this, too (as a side effect :)), or whether other features like repeat X times are a better way to track learning goals.
  • James (Nach Team)
    18 Jul 2016

    1. So, despite the similarity in names, "time tracking" (maybe more accurately called "time logging") and "trackers" are completely different features.

    I can see how there could be some benefits to tying the time tracking entries to goals, and maybe one day Nach can have "smart trackers" which automatically mirror things like time logs over to tracker readings, but for now I don't think it makes sense to conflate those two systems.

    2. Yes it will work with all types of steps. But, making "goals" that are focused on amount of time spent could be cool in future, but again not the initial purpose of the time tracking. The main things it's for initially are: (a) Assign time estimates to tasks to see how much work you've scheduled yourself for a day, (b) Log actual time taken after completing a task, so you can compare with estimates, see how the numbers add up for the goal as a whole, etc, (c) See some neat visualisations that sum up how you've spent your time over a period of time (like the category graph).

    3. Yes, totals will be added across both active and archived steps under a goal.

    4. Don't really get this question - think it's down to misunderstanding about time tracking being part of trackers section.
  • dimitri
    03 Jul 2016
    Hi James, this sounds awesome!!! Thumbs up.

    Here are a couple of points I don't have a clear idea about yet:
    - Will the time tracking go together with the tracker section? There are already targets (~estimated time) there and different types of targets (e.g., cumulative). These are limited to one reading a day.

    -Will it work for all kinds of steps (i.e., also repetitive habits, x in week etc.)? E.g, if my goal is to work out 5h a week, and I do a 2-hour session on Monday and a 3-hour session on Friday, would this add up to tell me, I have reached my goal this week?

    "- Estimates and logged time bubble up to goals and sub-goals and show as totals"
    -Will the total time also show for goals when some tasks have been completed/archived (e.g., in the history section) and others are still to be completed?

    "- It won't be possible to log time for a step on a day without logging a completion for that day (steps can be completed multiple times before being archived - set the repeating type to "Sporadic")"
    - I don't know if this will have any effect on the goal map parts. Probably not. Would it make sense to decouple completion of a step from time spent on it and put in time rather as a reading on a tracker (one reading per day)? Then it would count directly towards the goal (although not toward the single task).
    I have the feeling it's all there already, but I can't wrap my head around how to put it together. Will be curious to see how you implement it. : )

    All the best
  • vmunhoz
    30 Jun 2016
    @james I completely understand! Thanks for the answer
  • James (Nach Team)
    29 Jun 2016
    @vmunhoz I do see what you mean about wanting to be able to track time spent multiple times per day, but with the current setup there's not really anywhere it would make sense to store that data.

    I think once the agenda ( gets added, that would provide a neat place to provide work in progress timers etc. But yeah, until then for tasks where you're splitting out the time, you'd have to either (a) track total time using another app, or (b) mark the step as complete early in the day to log first time, then continue to increment the time value throughout the day.

    Ok, fair point - with a UI like a popup that stays in the taskbar that would be fine on desktop. But presumably that would only work as a browser plugin, so is a bit outside the scope of what we're currently working on.. no reason we couldn't add it in future though. If you want to build something like that on top of the API (which should be perfectly possible, just storing the incomplete timings in LocalStorage of the plugin) we'd be happy to support you.
  • vmunhoz
    29 Jun 2016
    It is really nice to know that this feature will be implemented and that there will be an API.

    The only thing that I feel a little sad is that it won't be able to log time spent multiple times (2h in the morning and 2h in the afternoon). Basically I'll need to keep tracking time using another app in order to get the total time in a task.

    Another thing that I would love and will not enter is a "play/stop" button. I like the sollution that the plugin "Plus for Trello" made. You can start a time tracking and it will open a small popup that stays in the taskbar showing the current time tracked. (I stopped using toggle and started using this plugin now)

    Maybe with the API I will try to build something like that. A feature for timespent without timetracking makes little sense to me.

    Anyway, thanks James for keeping the good work!
  • James (Nach Team)
    29 Jun 2016
    Hi all, thanks for the feedback - very helpful. I'm currently working on adding time tracking into the site. It should be ready to use within a couple of weeks.

    My plan on the implementation is below. If you have any further comments/suggestions, now would be the time to raise them.

    - Time tracking will be available as a Lab feature, which can be opted into (but those who choose not to can use site exactly as it is now).
    - Ability to set time estimates for steps, in hours and minutes (no seconds).
    - Once a step is completed (or failed) from the To-Do List, a box appears next to the name (prefilled with the estimate if provided). This can be edited to adjust the actual time, by typing in figures like "2h30m".
    - Estimates and logged time bubble up to goals and sub-goals and show as totals.
    - Add a graph for showing time logged over the week (and maybe one divided by categories too).
    - Time logs are shown in the Step Summary Chart - each time log is shown tied to a completion (the orange boxes). Entries can be edited from there.
    - Time estimates/logs exposed via API, so it should be possible to integrate with Toggl etc in future.

    Some stuff that won't be included:

    - No time estimating or logging for goals, as this information can be determined from all the contained steps.
    - There will be no actual running timer or start/stop buttons on the website. This is because I don't think that workflow is very appropriate for a desktop. People tend to have Nach open as just one of many tabs, so are bound to set timers going and forget about them, ending up losing their logged time or leaving the timer running for days. When the native mobile apps are out, I think it's more of a possibility, as the timer can remain running in the notification tray.
    - It won't be possible to log time for a step on a day without logging a completion for that day (steps can be completed multiple times before being archived - set the repeating type to "Sporadic").
    - All the time spent on a task in one day must be logged together, there won't be any way to explicitly record "2 hours in the morning, 2 in the evening", for example, just "4 hours total today".
  • dimitri
    16 Jun 2016
    Totally agree. I have been using Jiffy for a month tracking time spent on tasks (it covers most of the important points for me, see 1-5), but it cannot compare time spent with time estimated.
  • Anonymous
    25 Mar 2016
    I think that being able to add estimated times to individual tasks and goal would be extremely helpful, particularly if the total times can be summed automatically in the parent goals.
  • verstandinvictus
    11 Dec 2015
    personally, I don't need granular tracking, but I would love to have a "this task counts as X tasks" option - like, #3 as a shortcut when naming a task would say "This counts as 3 tasks" and that would be reflected in all reports, graphs, etc.

    This way when I'm using Nach for productivity tracking I don't have to discern "oh, a bunch of those tasks were simple stuff like "email this dude" but then there's that one programming task that took me 3 hours and they count for the same", or break the long tasks up to an unreasonable level of granularity when entering them.
  • dimitri
    11 Dec 2015
    I agree with all and would also like to see a toggl API, too. For me, time tracking should measure various things (in order of descending importance): 1. Time spent on each task 2. Time spent per task added up to time spent per goal each week/month/etc. 3. weekly overview 4. Manual input if you need to set a record straight 5. buttons for starting the timer, stopping (i.e. task completed) and pausing the timer for as long as you want while doing other tasks 6. separate metric to input estimated time for each task in advance and compare your plans vs. actual time spent afterwards 7. When a task is completed and you've had time to celebrate :), then nachapp should suggest the next task(s) on your calendar, to-do list etc. for tracking. 8. a default time tracker for when you spend time not associated with any specific task and the possibility to assign time to tasks later (which would also work using point 4).
  • Anonymous
    01 Sep 2015
    I'd like to see a countdown timer to when goal or task is due or is supposed to be completed. For example it would be helpful to see to number of days, weeks or months, as opposed to just a date. It would give a better perspective knowing that I have to complete something in 18 days or in 6 months, 6 days, 4 hours.
  • achamess
    09 Jul 2015
    And perhaps, rather than building a new time tracking system yourself, you could integrate with existing ones? I use Toggl (, which is very ample. Perhaps you could just allow one to track the time on a task?
  • dballski
    27 Apr 2015
    A visable time clock as one is completing a task is motivational and also keeps one focused. This is an important feature.
  • LauraHibberd
    15 Apr 2015
    Similarly - I'd love to see time estimates on tasks. Allow me to input estimated time, then show totals for each sub-goal, goal, etc.
  • dballski
    23 Mar 2015
    Would like a Start and Stop button on each task and then reporting system for a given time period to show how time was spent.