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But I haven't logged in to FreshBooks since 2015.
Like many other development teams, our company uses FreshBooks to track our time and invoice clients. It's a great tool with all the features we need for day-to-day operations. However, as a programmer, over the years I have failed to use this tool properly, and neglected my time logging duties until it was absolutely necessary. This neglect often required "time logging parties" with other members of my team who had been equally neglectful, which was a kind misnomer for stressful sessions of reading through e-mails, project management tools, git logs, hand-written notes, and anything else to help us remember just how much time we spent working on something.
And, like many other development teams, I work on multiple projects per day -- sometimes per hour!
For me, the most frustrating thing about logging time is essentially having to record my operations so many times. First, when I tell a client what I'm going to do. Again when I code the thing I was supposed to do. Then, I write fairly detailed commit messages describing what I did. Finally, I communicate with the client that the thing was done. And now I have to write all this again in an time tracking tool?! Ugh.
It doesn't often get done. And when it does, it isn't efficient. Time should be logged in-process.
I've tried stopwatch solutions, but they simply don't work when you forget to hit the button. And I'm too busy (forgetful) to hit the button. Or, I get distracted with something else going on, or a client calls, or I need to task switch immediately, etc. etc.
Why can't I just code and have my time tracked as I code?
Well, now I can, thanks to WakaTime.
WakaTime advertises itself as FitBit for programmers, and that's a pretty spot-on description. In the same way that FitBit tracks your statistics just by you doing your everyday tasks, WakaTime tracks your time spent in your IDE of choice (Vim, Eclipse, Android Studio, and many more) and automatically uploads that information to the web. At the end of the day, just by coding, you've got a picture of everything you've worked on for the day. For free.
WakaTimeFreshBooks is a Java command-line client that pulls the time logged for a given day in WakaTime and pushes that information as time entries into FreshBooks. After a couple minutes of setting up my API keys and matching up the WakaTime projects I wanted to log with FreshBooks projects I wanted to send the time to, I was up and running. Simple, yet effective.
On December 28, 2015, I set this to run as a daily cron job, and I haven't logged time since.
Now eventually, I'll have to edit my time sheets to include useful notes for invoices. And I still need to log out-of-band communications, as well as testing and video conferences (although, WakaTime is working on solutions for those things!). But, for now, I know that my coding time has been submitted, and that it's fairly accurate, which is much more than I could say merely a few weeks ago.
And I didn't have to do anything but code.
Software Developer, Solertium Corporation