This year, in an effort to get a better grip on the ways I generate income, I’ve been looking for a free, simple app that will allow me to track my income easily. I should say that this was my first priority; as a second priority, I wanted to track my time more closely as well.
Although I like feeling organized, I don’t want to spend ages learning how to use software, and one thing that really frustrates me is unintuitive systems with poor usability. Generally, I think the simpler things are, the better. So I was excited to hear about 1DayLater, a new time-, cash- and distance-tracking service that is nothing if not straightforward.
For me to put the words “excited” and “tracking service” in the same sentence is a big deal. I decided not to get my hopes up. But using the service lived up to expectations: 1DayLater seems to be just what I needed.
1DayLater is a free web-based service (additional premium features will be added as the service moves out of beta). Create an account, and you can use the clear interface to enter the “values” associated with the activities that you do: money, time and distance. You associate that value with a client and a date. Simple. If you like, you can add notes to that entry; my entries identify what tasks I completed for each client. There’s also a auto-timer that you can use to track your work in real time. Very handy.
From this point, users currently have a couple of options. The first is “Analysis.” The system can provide you with charts that reflect, for example, the time data you’ve entered, providing a graphical overview of where all your time’s going. This should provide some very interesting (or is that alarming?) information once I’ve been using the system for a while.
The second is “Export,” which lets you download data in OpenOffice spreadsheet format. You can select to download data about a certain client, “value” type — time, expenses, income, mileage — or on the basis of search criteria that you define.
The 1DayLater team is, of course, working on additional features which will include invoicing and mileage claims; these features are likely to form part of the paid component of the 1DayLater service. The Export facility was released as I was reviewing the service, so hopefully these extra features won’t be too far away.
Equally important is mobile access to the service. Those on the go will undoubtedly be disappointed that there are currently no mobile or desktop apps for this service. While this may seem like a big oversight, the 1DayLater blog explains that the team is now working to develop these (not surprisingly often-requested) apps.
Who’s it For?
The brothers who developed this service, Paul and David King, describe their inspiration for the service:
At the start of 2008 we were working separately as freelancers and realised that there was a problem common to both of us — we found it hard to keep track of how much time we were spending on our clients, and that this problem was reflected in our invoices.
As someone who’s in exactly the same place, I find the service is just what I want; a lot of the other software and services I looked at were too complex and detailed for my simple needs. I didn’t need to share my data with anyone else, except maybe an accountant — so what some would perceive as the limits of the 1DayLater service are great news to me.
OK, so the service doesn’t sync with my calendar; most of my time is unscheduled, so this isn’t a feature I need. OK, so it’s a one-person-per-account system; there’s only one of me, so I don’t need to aggregate my data with others (though if I did, I could probably do it manually through the spreadsheet export).
I do think, though, that the present lack of mobile and desktop apps is a limitation that would reduce the convenience of this service for a large portion of web workers — fortunately, not for long!
See For Yourself
You can view the demo for 1DayLater without signing up, but registration is free, so you might as well go ahead and see what the service does for you.
Have you tried 1Daylater? What other time, cash, or expense tracking services can you recommend?
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