Re: Time Tracker: any way to implement idle alert or visually indicate time is tracking?

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6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

I'm using a base to track my time on projects/tasks. I use these times to create estimates for clients and to create invoices. It's great to have the built in time tracking in Airtable, but I've made the mistake many times of walking away from my computer or switching tasks only to realize later that the timer is still running.

Does anyone have a good solution / workaround for this?

I can think of two things that would help this:

1. Idle alerts. Most of the time tracking software I've used will alert me if I don't do anything for a specified period of time. If I forgot to stop the timer at the end of the day, the next morning, I get an alert that I've been idle for x hrs and a prompt to keep tracking, stop the timer now, or set the end time of the timer to when the idle period began. Currently, this is particularly tough in Airtable since the Tracker doesn't make distinctions between timed sessions. So if I've worked on a project off an on for days, the whole total is thrown (instead of only the most recent session). I could address the "whole total thrown" issue by creating a "sessions" table linked to tasks and use the time tracker on those instead.

2. To have a visual reminder that the timer is running. It's not usually convenient to keep the Airtable window visible. A timer in the menu bar would be great. A possible workaround would be starting the Airtable time tracker from a Stream Deck switch key so that the button image on the Stream Deck could be toggled.

Another option would be to use an external time tracker, but for the solutions I've found, I'd need something like Zapier to trigger the external tracker and/or to get the tracked time back into Airtable. (Clockify, for example, can be triggered right in an Airtable window w/o any 3rd party connection, but the times recorded aren't added to Airtable).

I thought I'd check here to see if anyone had a better solution before digging into some of the complexity involved with my ideas.


5 Replies 5

My initial thought on this is that you'd need an external Time Tracker App on your system that monitors the requirements and can identify if you're working/idle/socialmedia, and then that app posts to an Airtable Automation webhook when it triggers on events. 

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Thanks for the reply and sorry for my slow response! I have seen those kinds of auto-activity trackers on external time trackers. It's a cool function, but it's not a priority for me. I think your webhook approach may be the way to go regardless.

Webhook automations are really easy to setup - a bit of a learning curve if you've never used them before, but straight forward once you have an understanding of how they work. If you're new to the game of Webhooks, I recommend the app Postman, it's great for working with Webhooks, and also the newly introduced Airtable Table Sync API - which can be used to sync a CSV - so for example, your local app could punch-out data to a local CSV, and then once a day, you could then Sync that CSV to Airtable (with Postman, node.js, or whatever app of your choosing).

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

I've done a little bit with webhooks, but definitely still working through the learning curve. Postman looks great - thanks for the rec. And Airtable Table Sync API sounds very promising for my purposes - thanks!

I’ve been using the newly added Airtable Table Sync Api with a CSV file now for a week or two, it’s wickedly powerful. You can even modify the original CSV with extra columns, and update them into Linked fields etc, and also config the sync to either delete or keep records.

Highly recommend!