Satellite Orbiting Earth

Product/Service Name

BubbleTimer

Brief Description

Knowing where you spend your time is the key to effectively achieving your goals but tracking your time to the second is just a waste of time! With one click on BubbleTimer, a web-based application, you have bubbled in 15 minutes of time. You get a handle on where all your time is going without any fuss or complexity. Everything great in life gets done by working at it a little each day. Set some goals for how you spend your time, spend less time on time wasters, and watch your life change as you achieve things you didn’t think possible.

Target audience: Anyone too busy for complicated time-tracking applications. Anyone that thinks they could achieve more if they had better control over how their time is spent.

Volume of business: 2,124,825 minutes bubbled as of 12/29/2008.

BubbleTimer

BubbleTimer

The Inspiration

I discovered David Seah and his Emergent Task Timer PDF at the beginning of 2008. Within weeks of starting to use David’s printed worksheets to discover how I was using my time, I realized I wanted to take emergent task timing to the web. I knew that I could build on the idea and make it more convenient and useful. ~ Sean Johnson, Founder of Snooty Monkey, LLC

Key Features

  • Track time. Bubble in time in 15 minute increments (takes just a few minutes per day).
  • Set time-use goals. Set goals for how to spend time — e.g., “I want to watch TV for no more than 60 minutes per day.”
  • Manage activities. Add activities for which you want, or remove activities for which don’t want, to track time and set goals against.
  • Analyze time use. See a breakdown of how time is being spent and goal achievement. And create attractive print-outs for any range of dates.
  • Share with others. Share the time for certain activities with friends or mentors, or keep everything private.

Future enhancements: The immediate release plans are for more flexibility in setting goals, user-entered notes, activity categories, and for more flexible access to BubbleTimer including iPhone, mobile, and desktop widgets.

Benefits

Gain insight into how you spend your time, enabling you to identify areas in which you might be wasting, under-utilizing, or over-allocating your time. (Check out “5 Reasons Why Time Tracking is Good for You” for some more potential benefits.) Real-time feedback on how well you’re achieving your time-use goals allows you to proactively avoid misuse of your time.

Costs

$20 per year, but you can be tried out for free.

Similar Products/Services

There are a lot of various time-tracking tools, but most of them, as far as I’m aware, aren’t web-based like BubbleTimer, with the exception of Freckle and RescueTime.

Opinions from around the Web

  • Positive: “There are plenty of time-tracking applications out there; we’ve reviewed more than a few over the years. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no innovation left in the field. Case in point: BubbleTimer, which wants to make tracking your time into an effective time-management tool rather than focusing solely on billable hours.” (WebWorkerDaily)
  • Positive: “BubbleTimer is…very simple. [It] takes a very unique approach to time tracking that we haven’t seen elsewhere. Rather than typing in the amount of time you’ve spent on a task, or choosing from a drop down menu, with BubbleTimer you fill in bubbles that represent 15 minute increments.” (SitePoint)
  • Positive: “Based on the Emergent Task Timer worksheets from David Seah, BubbleTimer is a quick and easy to use web application for budgeting, tracking and working towards time management goals.” (Lifehacker)

Company Background

BubbleTimer was launched in October 2008 by Snooty Monkey, LLC. Located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Snooty Monkey was founded in 2007 by Sean Johnson, who leads a team of professional designers and programmers in developing innovative web applications.

Smartlife’s User Advice

My immediate reaction to BubbleTimer was: “That’s it? Where are the other n screens that I have to click on and navigate to-and-fro?” But therein lies the beauty, so to speak. Like the bubbling in of your time, everything about this web application is simple and efficient. Most people never uptake, or are quick to drop, time tracking because the traditional methods and mediums for doing so can be a bit unwieldy. BubbleTimer detonates this issue, giving people one less reason NOT to employ time tracking as a means to self-improvement.

BubbleTimer plans to develop activity categories, so I can’t say it should do that. I would like to see, at some point, features that enable me to measure my time-use efficiency. RescueTime, for example, allows you to measure your time-management efficiency by comparing you to the average RescueTime user, similar to how businesses use comparative benchmarking to set targets for process improvement. (RescueTime aggregates the time-use statistics from its user base through tags and generic activity categories.) Once BubbleTimer implements activity categories, it could use the same approach as RescueTime, but it could also employ a couple of other effective methods for measuring efficiency, as I will discuss in an upcoming post.

Bottom line: BubbleTimer offers a simple, flexible, and innovative platform upon which it can bolt on powerful data collection and analytical tools that will turn time tracking into an indispensable productivity tool, especially for those who fit the conscientiousness psychology profile.

Smartlife’s Recommendation: USE IT

Image credit: cristimatei / iStockphoto

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Product Watch is part of an on-going series that cuts through the sales propaganda and marketing hype, and reviews products and services from the standpoint of the user and how they actually help us get more out of life.