Since 2010 I have been keeping a record of all my development work in Google calendar. Day by day each of the tasks I have completed are recorded. I originally decided to do this due the agency I was working at the time, introducing a really crap piece of time recording software. This was the first company that I had worked for which required me to fully account for my working week. There was no chance after each piece of work I was going to log into the timesheets software trying to figure out where the job was I needed to log my time against. Instead I would quickly log all tasks in my calendar, then come the end of the week I would finish up a little earlier than usual and set about the painful task of copying all my time over before the Friday deadline. This process quickly became second nature.
Sadly when I started out I added the events against my works Google account so when left I didn’t have those records any more. That wouldn’t usually be a worry as you’ve logged all your time at that company, but. As time went by I started to see numerous occasions when logging my time in the calendar had been rather beneficial.
When you get asked how long a task took you to complete, you can do a simple search in your calendar and all the days/hours you recorded are available instantly. Instead of having to search through all logs in some time keeping software.
At the company I currently work for it is not a requirement to log all our time, only when working on client specific developments. But even now I will often be asked ‘How long did you spend on x feature? That is going to be billed to the client.’
Even for future estimates if you have a requirement for a blog section to be added to a website as an example, you can look back how long your last one took you to give a pretty accurate estimate.
If like me you don’t keep a portfolio or such with all the sites you have worked on, chances are if you have ever worked at an agency,I bet you can’t remember them all. But knowing the sites and the features you worked on may be really useful for your next interview.
Throughout my career I’ve used numerous different software and online tools for timekeeping and the user experince has definitely improved and it’s certainly not as much of a chore as it was with my first experince. But even now I think having your own log can definitely be beneficial.
Hopefully this post can inspire other developers into taking this approach to timekeeping.