There are two types of users for TimeKeeper for Word: Creative Writers and Business Users, each benefiting
in different ways.
The creative writer, working away week after week and month after month on their novel, has easy access to
daily stats such as word counts and time worked. For a certain type of writer — the writer who likes to
track progress and keep a close eye on their levels of commitment and motivation — this can be of huge
benefit. Here at Bad Wolf Software, we have a history of producing high quality apps for Writers, such
as SmartEdit and PageFour. TimeKeeper for Word originated in feedback from just those sorts of writers.
Business Users of Microsoft Word benefit in different ways. They're not looking for motivation. They're
not monitoring commitment to their work. They want to see how much of their working day or week has been
spent working on particular documents for particular clients or projects.
I know this because I am one of them. As well as producing software and web applications for writers, I
work as a consultant for multi-national companies and government agencies. In these environments,
producing documentation is a large part of the working day, even for a software developer. I can't count
the number of times Iíve approached management with lines like “Iíve already spent so much time on this...”
or “Client X has cost me Y days work this month.”
Trouble is, without hard figures, itís hard to be taken seriously when you discuss how much of your
working time is eaten up by demanding clients or complex projects that need to be explained
in detailed documentation. Itís so much easier to be able to say “Iíve spent 27 hours 13 minutes
on this document over the past two weeks. Hereís a daily breakdown.” And itís so much
harder to be ignored.
On top of this, TimeKeeper for Word makes billing clients for time worked that little bit easier. Though
it only measures document working time, it does lend weight to the hours you charge your clients for, and
it makes it harder for apologetic staff to downplay the amount of time theyíve spent working on projects
and documents. (Yes, that does happen!)
TimeKeeper for Word makes all of this possible, and the best part is it runs in the background, working away as
you work. You only see the results when you choose to.
Once installed, TimeKeeper for Word begins recording the time you spend working on each document.
Working time is not the same as the time a document is open. In order for time to count against your working
total, you must be active in the document: typing, moving up and down within the document, etc. If you take a coffee
break and leave your document open, TimeKeeper will stop recording automatically and only restart when you begin
Many people already use time tracking utilities to record working time. The problem with all of these
utilities is that they rely on your conscious action to switch them on or off. If you forget to start a
timer for 20 minutes, those 20 minutes are not recorded. If you leave for a short break and donít return
to work for half an hour, the timer keeps running unless you remembered to turn it off.
You donít need to worry about that with TimeKeeper for Word. Itís always on, always running, always
recording, and brutally honest — once it sees that you have stopped working for a minute, the timer
will stop, making it a reliable and truthful indicator of your actual working time. If youíre used to comfortably
inflated figures, reassuring you that yes, you have spent two hours writing today, be prepared for a surprise
when you look at TimeKeeper for Wordís figures.
Daily totals are displayed in a simple table to the left of your document, as is a grand total, but
this table only appears when you consciously open the TimeKeeper for Word menu ribbon and click the
Document History button. You may choose to do that each day, once a week, or only every month.
Your working history for a document is stored in a new TIMEKEEPER file that sits in the same folder
as your document, and carries the same name. If this folder is a Dropbox or OneDrive folder, then the
TimeKeeper figures will follow you across different PCs — so long as TimeKeeper for Word is
installed on each PC.
Once installed, TimeKeeper for Word requires no maintenance or activity on your part. It does its job
even if you never look at the results. Install it, and carry on with your work.