It's all about your time
Time Sink tracks the time you spend in the Mac programs—and their associated windows—as you use your Mac. It does this automatically, so you can go about your work without even thinking about Time Sink.
A table-style view (top left image above) shows usage for both foreground and total time, and can be easily sorted by name, foreground time, or total time.
A report-style view takes that same information and presents it graphically, for an easy at-a-glance view of your activity.
This report can be grouped by usage (as in this page's top right image), or showing natural foreground/background usage patterns over time, as in the below screenshot.
There's much more you can do with reports, though, as you'll soon see...
Pool your efforts
To help you track related activities, Time Sink uses Pools, which are simply collections of related windows. Creating a Pool is as simple as dragging and dropping a window (or application) from the Applications section of the Time Sink window to the Pools section.
Windows can exist in more than one pool, and you can add informational notes to Pools, to help you remember their purpose.
You can also automatically group related windows together in a pool, just by using an asterisk to denote the variable portion of the window's name, as seen here:
Pools make it incredibly easy to group your activities in any way you wish.
Dock or menu bar—your choice
Time Sink can operate in two distinct modes: as a traditional Mac OS X application, complete with Dock icon, or as a menu-bar-only program. Which mode it uses is completely up to you.
On first launch, you'll be asked to choose between these two operating modes:
(Don't worry, this isn't a test—there is no right or wrong answer.) Choose the mode that works best for you…if you don't like your choice, you can always change modes via Time Sink's Preferences.
Reporting and exporting
Time Sink's reports are simple to use, yet powerful enough to help you track your activities over long periods of time. Here are just a few of Time Sink's reporting features:
- View reports as activity over time, or summarized by foreground time (or total time).
- Select report time periods by entering actual values, or simply dragging on the Reports window.
- Set the sort order for the Reports window by changing the sort order in the main Time Sink window.
- Auto-export usage reports every day.
- Show only currently-tracked applications in reports, or show all applications for which Time Sink has data.
- Exporting a report is as simple as pressing a keyboard shortcut.
- Specify which fields you'd like included in exported reports.
Exported reports can be opened in Excel, FileMaker Pro, or any other program that can read delimited text files.
Set and forget…if you want to
Despite all its features and tracking abilities, Time Sink is incredibly easy to use: just launch it, and forget it.
Out of the box, Time Sink automatically tracks the time you spend in all your programs (and windows within those programs), and creates reports showing your usage of those programs (and windows)…all without you having to do anything other than launch the program.
As far as getting started, that's all there is to it. Without any further work on your part, Time Sink will begin tracking your activity, recording your running programs and associated windows.
So don't let Time Sink's powerful abilities fool you: it is incredibly easy to get up and running with Time Sink.
But wait, there's more!
As you might expect of a Many Tricks program, Time Sink has a few more abilities up its sleeves.
- Prevent tracking of specified applications and windows by adding them to a blacklist.
- Automatic suspension of usage tracking after a specified idle interval.
- Add new windows to existing pools, and drag windows between pools as you wish.
- Show or hide inactive items and inactive pools.
- Optional auto-reset of application and pool timers each day.
- Choose between colored or black-and-white menu bar icons.
As you can tell, a lot of thought went into making Time Sink both easy to use and powerful enough to get the job done.