Monday, March 14, 2011

168 Hours

168 Hours is an iPhone/iPod app that helps you track how you are spending your time on a daily or weekly basis. It is meant for anyone that has a strong motivation to track their time and can be used for personal reasons, research, work (though it may not be as ideal as other apps for work), etc.

The inspiration for the app came from a lecture by Prof. Harry Kraemer where he discusses the benefits of comparing how you are spending the 168 hours you have each week against your priorities to check for alignment. Furthermore, some articles claim that self-tracking can improve productivity, and ultimately, happiness.

I had plenty of help designing and testing the app from a number of friends and classmates, including Busicow, Ben Thompson, and Stephen Windsor, amongst others.

If you run into any problems with the app, want to tell me how much you love it, or curse at me for how much you hate (it's all good!), please send me an email, and I'll be happy to take care of it as soon as possible. Thanks!

The code for the app has been open sourced through the ASL v2 and can be downloaded here.

Activity List Screen
When you launch 168 Hours, you will see the main screen, the Activity List, which displays a list of all activities available for tracking. On the Activity List you can:
  1. Add a new activity to the list
  2. Delete or rearrange activities. Note, this button will only appear after you have added at least 1 activity. You can also swipe to delete an activity
  3. Start or stop the timer for an activity by tapping on it
  4. View the activity's details via the Activity Info screen
  5. Alternate between the daily and weekly view. The times will change to reflect the cumulative time spent on an activity for either today or this week. The title at the top will show much time is left for either today or this week
  6. Save the information to a CSV log file that can be downloaded from the device via iTunes for storing or analyzing via Excel. By default, the app will store 4 weeks of data

Default Activities
168 Hours has two default activities that can not be rearranged, deleted, or renamed:
  1. Sleep - Because everyday should be grounded by a good night's sleep
  2. Misc - Any time that is not assigned to an activity gets automatically bucketed under the Misc activity. If you forget to start the timer for something you are doing, you can reassign an entry from here to add time to that activity after the fact

Activity Info Screen
The Activity Info screen shows an overview of the time that has been spent on that activity for the last 4 weeks. The cumulative time for the week is displayed at the top with a daily breakdown below. From here, you can:
  1. Return to the main Activity List
  2. Rename the activity
  3. View the individual entries for that day via the Entry Info screen by tapping on it
  4. Switch between the last 4 weeks

Entry Info Screen
The Entry Info screen shows all of the individual entries for the selected day. From here, you can:
  1. Return to the Activity Info screen
  2. Delete individual entries. Swipe to delete is also available
  3. Rename the activity
  4. Edit an individual entry via the Change Entry screen by tapping on it

Change Entry Screen
The Change Entry screen allows you to edit an individual entry. From here, you can:
  1. Cancel the change and go back to the Entry Info screen
  2. Confirm the change and go back to the Entry Info screen. If nothing is changed, then this is the same as tapping on the Cancel button
  3. Reassign the entry to another activity, moving the entry's time to that activity
  4. Reduce the time for the entry. Please note that you can only reduce the time; you can not increase the time

Getting the CSV Log File
After saving the log file from the Activity List screen, you will have an option to email it to yourself.


If you opt to go with email, then you can fill out the form that comes up and send the log to yourself or queue it up for sending later. The log is automatically deleted after the email is sent.


If the email fails for any reason or you opt to not use it, then you can download the log file manually through iTunes.


Connect the device to iTunes and navigate to the Apps window to download the CSV file

Screen shot 2011-03-14 at 1.55.02 PM
The log file can then be imported into Excel for further analysis


What If I Forget to Start the Timer for an Activity?
No sweat! Just reassign a Misc entry with the desired time to the activity


  1. Nice app. This is actually really helpful for lawyers and some bankers who need to track their hours down to like 30 min increments for billing purposes. I'm sure some would be interested to play around with it. It would be great also to have next to every entry a log where you can enter a description for your time spent doing something.

    How long did it take you to code this?

  2. Thanks!

    The log idea is interesting. I may try to do it in the next major release, but to be perfectly honest, the app isn't meant for work tracking. My GF has been using it for that, and she's pointed out stuff that is missing, but other apps can do that well.

    I don't have exact hours, but it was between Jan and mid March. I think probably something like 60+ hours.

  3. Orlando,

    I'm looking forward to the apps approval. Btw, are you still in Austin? I'd like to have a coffee or something and get some perspective on Kellogg. Can you shoot me an email addr?

  4. Hey Ben,

    I'll be in Austin through the end of this week. Feel free to shoot me an email at if you want to chat.

    I'm carless unfortunately, but I'm still happy to try to meet.

  5. Was late reading your response as I was playing a tour guide to some family members that were visiting from Dallas this weekend. Look out for my email.


  6. very good app ! . Loving it ...

  7. Great app, would like to see it sync with other devices (i.e. iPhone, iPad, iPod) using same information. Perhaps a log in ID that could update across the devices, that way no matter what I had in front of me I could account for time instead of only being able to use the one device that I used to begin with. Look forward to seeing more features in future updates. Great job.

  8. I love it ! It would be cool to be able to change the order of the activities in the list, so those activities i do more often could be near the top of th list .... otherwise it is great ! Thanks for creating it !

    1. Thanks. You can reorder the list by tapping on Edit button in the top right and then dragging rows around by the lines on the right.


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