Knowing just how much time you’re spending on particular projects can be important, especially if you charge by the hour. There are plenty of easy-to-use time tracking tools out there, with a lot more features and options than a spreadsheet and a timer. Newcomer Yast has a built-in option that makes it particularly useful for web workers: the ability to share time tracking information with others.
Where many time tracking tools expect you to export reports and then break out information about specific projects or clients, Yast lets you share your tracking information on a project-by-project basis. That simple difference is actually quite important: I can track the time I spend on one client’s project and send off that information, without showing the amount of time I’ve spent on my own projects and without having to do any copying, pasting or deleting of information. All I need to do is share that project with my client.
Beyond the ability to share information, Yast has a simple interface that allows you to switch between projects just by clicking. It is a web-based application, which may make it less useful for some users, but the interface is very visual. You can quickly tell what project you’re currently tracking, along with other details, just by glancing at it. The timer itself is organized along a timeline that gives perspective about how much time you’re really devoting to a project. You can zoom in and out on the timeline to see information at different scales. You can also label specific types of projects with different colors, drag and drop them into different folders and keep everything organized.
Exporting reports on your time use is a matter of selecting the period that you want to look at and choosing a format. Yast offers Excel (s msft), PDF (s adbe) and CSV exports, as well as an online preview. You can also generate reports based on specific projects, or all the projects in a folder. The reports don’t really offer much analysis of how you’re spending time, but since you can pull them into Excel, you can probably run any analysis or comparison that you really want to, although you can get a general idea of where your time is going by taking a broad look at the timeline.
Yast is free to use, requiring only a very simple sign up — just provide an email address and a password and you can start tracking time. The site has been in beta for about a month, which is long enough for the team behind Yast to have already rolled out both performance upgrades and new features, like the addition of exporting to Excel and CSV files. The creators are still creating new features, and are currently working on synchronizing Yast with Google Calendar (s goog).
Have you tried Yast for time tracking? How did it work out for you?