Quality Time - An app I built one night after dinner

Do you feel like that elusive work/life balance thing isn't working out for you quite like you want it to?

This is how I felt a week ago, so I made a little tool to help me visualize where I was spending my time. I call it "Quality Time" - an admittedly very boring name, but also a constant reminder of what the end goal is - to make sure I'm getting enough "quality" time in my day.

Also of equal importance, it seems, the app can serve as a reminder that you are achieving that balance, for days when you feel stressed and need a something to ground you a bit.

Overview

It's a simple visualization tool. You start by creating a day:

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If you try to create a day in the future, it will just pop you into the current day. You also can't create past days (like I said, simple).

Once you've created a day, simply click or tap on the half-circles within each hour of time to color-code them based on how you spent that time. There's a legond at the bottom of the page, and with each tap, the half-circle cycles through to the next color.

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This gives you a nice overview of your day, and there's also a handy summary view to let you see multiple days at once.

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(Note: the pie chart is accurate - data had changed between screenshots, so the pie chart pictured does not match the data in the previous screenshots)

The Categories

Categories and colors aren't (currently) customizable, but I may add that in the future. Right now, the app features six broad, but useful categories, in a color-blind friendly palette.

  • Sleep - This one is self-explanatory. If you slept, mark it. Sleep is certainly quality time, as it has a big impact on mood and energy!

  • Personal - This is time you spend to yourself, or doing things for yourself. Getting time just for you is important, and we all need different amounts. The app can help you see how much you're getting, and figure out how much you need.

  • Family - Again, pretty self-explanatory, this category is for time spent doing things with and for your family.

  • Friends - Like family, getting time with friends is important, as well, but sometimes it's easy to overlook when you have a lot of committments and a busy schedule. Quality Time makes it a little easier to see when you may not be getting enough time with friends.

  • Work - Again, self-explanatory. If you're working, log it. If you work a set schedule, this will be pretty predictable, but if you freelance or bring a lot of work home with you, tracking work time helps ensure you don't let it eat too much into the rest of your day.

  • Wasted - This category is meant for time wasted not in the sense of lazily relaxing (or intoxicated and actually wasted.... unless you want to). Instead, it's meant for those "well that's two hours of my life I'll never get back" moments - like waiting in line for a half hour at the DMV. If something makes you feel both frustrated and unproductive, it's probably wasted time.

I debated leaving out "wasted" time, since it kind of felt more like mood tracking than time tracking, but in the end, I decided that it was useful, because if you're seeing a lot of wasted time show up in your week, it's probably an indicator that you need to make some changes in your routine.

It's All About Averages

You're not going to get accurate to the minute tracking - for simplicy, Quality Time tracks in half hour blocks. Anything more granular just felt too tedious to keep up with.

Also, you'll often find yourself in situations where you are, for instance, spending time with both friends and family. But what do you track? It's entirely up to you. I recommend you pick the thing that you felt gave you the most value. If "friends and family" time means visiting a friend you haven't seen in six months, "friend" is probably going to win out, but if it means celebrating your kid's birthday, that's probably "family" time.

Likewise, "wasted" time always wins out over anything else when it happens, because it's something I want to be aware of and minimize as much as possible.

Use The Source

If this sounds like an app you'd like to try, you can download the source on Github here: https://github.com/kellishaver/quality-time

Kelli Shaver

Kelli is a full-stack developer with over 15 years of experience. She's also the lead developer at StickyAlbums and the co-host of the Terrifying Robot Dog Podcast.