Time tracking without using timers

Daily provides a better way to track your daily activities without the hassle of toggling timers, switching tasks, or taking notes.

Avatar of Niels Mouthaan
Niels Mouthaan

Time tracking by asking what you are doing

Daily follows a unique approach to track your time. While most time tracking apps require you to toggle timers, Daily works by asking what you are doing. This way, you don't have to let your time tracker know you started doing something (else). We all forget to do this at times, making timesheets inaccurate, which can have significant consequences.

Daily's secret sauce

Daily periodically asks what you are doing, initially after 10 minutes. It will repeat this question every 20 minutes. You can configure these intervals via Daily's preferences. This unique way of working not only makes time tracking less of a hassle but also keeps you away from distractions.

You have two options when Daily asks what you are doing:

  • Select or provide an activity, and apply it by clicking the confirm (✔) button.
  • Dismiss the dialog by clicking the cancel (✖) button.

Dialog asking for activity

Providing an activity

Daily uses an algorithm to allocate time to activities you provide. It will also update the activities you provided earlier. This way, the accuracy of your timesheet is continuously being improved. Consider the following example:

You start working at 9.00. Daily will ask at 9.10 what you are doing. Since you are reading your emails, you provide Email. As you might expect, Daily allocates 10 minutes to Email.

Algorithm behind providing activities (part 1)

After 20 minutes, hence at 9.30, Daily again asks what you are doing. This time you are coding and provide Coding. Daily's algorithm will allocate 50% of the interval to Coding and the other 50% to the earlier provided activity Email.

Algorithm behind providing activities (part 2)

Again after 20 minutes, at 9.50, Daily asks what you are doing. Since you are still coding, you select Coding. Since the activity hasn't changed, 100% of the interval gets allocated to Coding.

Algorithm behind providing activities (part 3)

Dismissing the dialog

You can also choose to dismiss the dialog by clicking the cancel (✖) button. By default, Daily does not allocate time to any activity. Let's consider an example. You started working at 9.00. You provided Email when Daily asked at 9.10 what you were doing. Now at 9.30, Daily again asks what you are doing. Since you are doing something you don't want to track, you click the cancel (✖) button. As a result, Daily does not track the time between 9.10 and 9.30.

Algorithm behind dismissing dialogs (part 1)

After 20 minutes, at 9.50, Daily asks what you are doing. Since you are coding and wants this to get recorded, you provide Coding. Daily allocates the full interval to Coding.

Algorithm behind dismissing dialogs (part 1)

Preserving instead of discarding time

Before version 1.18, dismissing the dialog would preserve time by distributing it over existing activities recorded for that day. It does this by taking into account each activity's duration relative to the total time recorded for that day, hence, pro-rata. From version 1.18 onwards, the default behavior has changed to discarding time as most users were already expecting this. If you prefer to preserve time, go to Daily's preferences, click on Dialog, and set Upon closing dialog to Preserve time.

Recording absence

Daily will ask what you have been doing while you have been away from your Mac. When you provide an activity, Daily will fully allocate the duration of the absence to that activity. However, when you dismiss the dialog, Daily discards the time. You cannot change this behavior.

Download Daily on the App Store