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Tracking My Working Hours

09 Dec 2020 | technology

I tried out a few Pomodoro apps when I study or do work to stop myself from checking the phone. Most of them are quite similar and offer the same functionalities. But the one I use the most is Forest. It’s the most charming Pomodoro that I keep coming back to. The $1.99 I paid for the app has paid for itself many times over in term of my productivity gain. The interface is clean and simple. I can also tag what the time is being used to do and it breaks down those hours for me in nice graphs.

Intuitive Interface

Some apps have a lot of things going on in the interface. Sometimes there’s a mini Kanban board going on and for each task, I need to assign how much time I want to dedicate to it. I think that’s an overkill. If I want to use an actual Kanban, I rather just use a website that offers more functionalities as I’m working. For my Pomodoro, I prefer something that’s intuitive and easy to use. I’m currently using Forest app as I’m writing this post. It’s cheating for me to take a screenshot but it’s for the purpose of demonstration.

Forest App Interface

The simple interface makes the app pleasant to use. I don’t need to fiddle around with tiny texts and different categories on my phone. I choose the tree I want to plant, pick appropriate tag, select the time, and press on the start button.

Great Visualizations

Once I’m done with my time, I can go take a look at how many hours I spent and the forest I have planted. The app does a great job of making everything easy to see. The sense of progress is there when I can see how big my forest is growing with a variety of different trees. Below is an example of my time this month.

Total Hours Spent

While I try to do some work everyday, sometimes I fall short of the target. The bar graphs give me a good idea of when I’m doing that so I can tweak my schedule accordingly.

Another cool feature is the tags I can add to the focus times.

Hours Breakdown

Since I’m planning to go to graduate school in 2021, all I’ve been doing lately is reviewing math courses and reading books. When the new year comes around, I’ll start studying for the GRE and apply for scholarships. One thing I’m currently lacking is a systematic approach to divide my time efficiently between different things. That’s something I plan to create once I get more data on how I spend my time.

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