My Time: A free app for time-tracking

[Editor’s Note: I appreciate your patience while I had to take a little hiatus from Little Square. I’m back now! – Shelly]

If you’re in the business of providing a service, such as a web designer or an animal trainer, you probably charge your clients by the hour. So, just for you, the QuickBooks for Mac team built a free app you can use to track your time and import it into QuickBooks so you can invoice your clients for that time.

How it works: Debbie’s Parrot Paradise

To show you how My Time works, let’s take a look at Debbie’s Parrot Paradise. Not only does Debbie have a shop where she sells parrots and all their parrot stuff, she also offers singing lessons to parrots for which she charges a handsome hourly rate. As we all know, people will do anything to have their parrots sing Puccini.

Debbie starts her My Time file

Debbie has just downloaded My Time, so let’s see how she sets up her file. When she first opens the app, My Time asks her if she wants to link her My Time file to the QuickBooks file she has open. You can use My Time without QuickBooks, but Debbie wants to be able to easily transfer data back and forth between My Time and QuickBooks, so she links her file.

Note: If Debbie had employees, each employee could create their own My Time file to track their time. In that case, she or the employee could use the pull-down at the bottom of the window to select their name from a list of employees. But since it’s just Debbie, she just chooses her name.

Debbie adds an activity

Debbie has been hired to teach opera to an African Grey Parrot named Bernard. Bernard’s human, Gina, brings him to Debbie’s Parrot Paradise for his first lesson. When she’s ready to start the lesson, Debbie goes to My Time and adds an activity. Activities are tasks you’re doing for a specific customer

See where Debbie selected “Gina Han” as the Customer, “Parrot Training” as the Job, and “Singing Lessons” as the Service. Remember when Debbie started her My Time file she linked to her QuickBooks file? Here’s where that’s important. Debbie already has this customer, job, and service item set up in her QuickBooks file so she can just select them here. When your My Time file is linked to a QuickBooks file, anything you select from these lists must first be created in QuickBooks first.

After Debbie clicks Add, the timer starts for Bernard’s lesson at the top of the My Time window. The activity she added is listed under Current Activities and the lesson she is currently timing is listed in the Time Log.

When the lesson is over, Debbie clicks Pause ( ) to stop the timer. The total time for the lesson is captured in the Time Log.

Debbie adds time to the activity

The next time Bernard comes in for a lesson, Debbie doesn’t have to add an activity for teaching him Puccini. All she does is select the Gina Han-Parrot Training-Singing Lessons activity under Current Activities and clicks Play (). In the Time Log at the bottom of the window, a new event in the log is added for the lesson Debbie is currently timing. When she’s done, she’ll just clicks Pause (  ) to stop the timer again. Now there are two different sessions in the Time Log for this one activity.

Debbie enters a lesson that happened in the past

One day, Debbie travels to Bernard’s house in an emergency session before he is to go on stage as Rudolfo in La Bohème at the Parrot’s Dinner Theater. Because she did not have My Time in front of her to start the timer for the lesson, Debbie enters the lesson in My Time as a past time event when she returns to her shop.

To do this, she double-clicks the Gina Han-Parrot Training-Singing Lessons activity to edit it.

At the bottom of the window, Debbie clicks the + to add a time entry. She then enters the dates, time, and duration of the lesson. If she needs to, she can also select another entry and make any changes.

Debbie sends her time to QuickBooks

At the end of the week, Debbie clicks “Send to QuickBooks” on the My Time window. The time events she captured for the week are automatically entered in QuickBooks. Now when she creates an invoice for Gina, Bernard’s human, QuickBooks tells her she has outstanding time and billing costs and how to add it to the invoice.

So that’s My Time. If you’d like to download My Time and try it for yourself, you can download it from Intuit Labs. And while you’re there, check out the other nifty apps at Intuit Labs.

About Shelly King

Shelly King works for Intuit as a member of the QuickBooks for Mac team. She’s the Managing Editor for Little Square and its main contributor. Shelly grew up in the South until 1994 when the Internet called her to Silicon Valley. She’s done a lot on the web ever since. Little Square was her idea. Yep, it’s all her fault. See all of Shelly's articles

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