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Time Buckets

Gregory Consulting is pleased to announce the release of Time Buckets for Windows Phone 7 or 8, our time tracking application. Time Buckets provides a natural and simple way to track the time you spend - project by project, activity by activity, whatever way you want to track it. You create one or more "buckets" and then let time flow into the buckets - the app doesn't need to have focus while time is being recorded, in fact your phone doesn't even need to be on. You can look and see how you're spending your time over a day, week, month, or year at a glance.

by activity
Here, no bucket is active. Click the falling drops button on the AppBar to set an active bucket. This user has named the buckets as actions.
   by project
Here, the Project 1 bucket is active (accent border around it and stripe under the navigation buttons.) This user has named the buckets as projects or clients

Made a mistake? No problem. You can toss an extra 15 minutes into a bucket with a single tap, or take 15 minutes out. You can "go back in time" to turn off time flow into a bucket, or to switch it to a different bucket. And you can edit any bucket, any time. Your data is backed up on request to your SkyDrive, and you can export a CSV if you'd like to do some analysis. After all, tracking your time shouldn't be complicated, timeconsuming, or something you don't dare forget. Time Buckets is simple, supportive, and adaptable.

Want to Get Started?

TimeBuckets is available from the market place, download it now! There is also a Windows 8.1 version. For Windows 10 and Windows Phone 10, you want the Universal version, coming soon.

Adding a bucket

When you install Time Buckets, the first thing you'll want to do is add a bucket to capture time in. Click the ... to bring up the Menu and choose New Bucket. You can name your buckets whatever you want and use whatever kind of colour scheme you want. Some people make the background colours meaningful (green for billable work, blue for personal, that sort of thing) while others want a different background colour for every bucket so the live tile will remind them what they're collecting time into. Once you have one bucket, when you add another you will see the ones you already have. Not only will that help you keep things distinct or the same, you can click a bucket to reuse the colours for your new one.

Pin to Start

Once you have Time Buckets installed, consider pinning it to your start screen. The live tile shows an empty bucket when you're not accumulating time. When you are sending time to a bucket, the live tile draws the bucket half full of the background colour for that bucket, and includes the bucket name underneath that.

Accumulating and adjusting time

Using the button bar at the bottom is the simplest way to track your time. Click the falling drops button to toggle sending time to the selected bucket (which will be drawn with a highlight when you select it.) Add 15 minutes to the selected bucket (when you're on the hour view) by clicking the + button, or take 15 minutes away with the - button. (You can collect more or less than an hour of time each hour if you want, it's up to you.) Just realized you're still sending time to Project 1 but you've been working on Project 2 since 10:30? Leave the time sending to Project 1, select Project 2, click ... for the Menu and choose Switch in Past. You can enter the time you changed projects and the time will be moved from one bucket to the other, and time will flow to Project 2 from now on. Realize you stopped working a while ago, or switched to something you don't track? Leave the bucket you're sending to selected, and on the Menu choose Deactivate in Past. Or if you weren't collecting time, but you've been working, select a bucket and choose Activate in Past.


There are 6 views: hour, day, week, month, year, and all. On each view you can use the navigation bar to move forward and backward with the arrows. The Home button takes you to the current date and time. The Auto button next to it navigates you automatically. When it's active, if you're on the hour view at 10:59 you'll be seeing the hour that spans 10:00 to 11:00, and when you glance back a few minutes later you'll be seeing the hour that spans 11:00 to 12:00. If you don't like that, turn Auto off and you'll stick on a selected time span until you navigate to a later one, no matter how much time passes.

Realize that yesterday's totals are a complete mess? Navigate to the hour that includes the wrong part, select a bucket that has too much time, and on the Menu choose Transfer Bucket. Type in how much time to take from it, and select what bucket to send it to. Or choose Edit Bucket and just change the time that accumulated in that bucket during that hour. (You can only make changes to the time that accumulated when you're on the hour view. The other views are for seeing how your time was spent.)

The Transfer function is also useful when a project ends. If you don't want to track that time separately any more, you can transfer it all to some sort of archive bucket.

On any view, bring up the Menu and choose View Settings and you can hide the whole view (to make scrolling sideways faster) or change the sort order - alphabetical by bucket name, buckets with the most time first, or buckets that most recently got time first. Each view is independent so your hour can be "most recently used" first, while your day is "most time first" and your week, month, and year are alphabetical.

You can also bring up the Menu and choose Settings to bring back a hidden view (just uncheck it from the Hidden Views list) and to govern whether empty buckets should be shown and how buckets are considered "old" and not shown.

Export, Backup and Restore

You can keep copies of your time on SkyDrive. Bring up the Menu and choose SkyDrive. Since Skydrive only supports a few file types, we save .txt files, but inside them we use two different formats. Export writes a comma separated values (csv) file - after you rename it from .txt to .csv you can open it with Excel and make graphs, track trends and totals, and manipulate your data however you want. Backup writes a file of XML. You can restore from an XML file any time. You might want to adopt a naming convention like May5bak.txt or May7csv.txt to help you tell these apart when you're restoring. Or you could keep them in different folders on your SkyDrive.

After you choose SkyDrive on the Menu, click the link to Backup, Restore, or Export. The first time, you'll need to sign in to your SkyDrive account and consent to the application accessing it.

When you're doing a backup, don't press Back or the Windows key until you see the message that your backup is complete. It won't continue if you leave the page. (If you want to check that your backup is good, just open it in notepad. If it ends </BucketsBackup> then you have a complete file.)


Should you come across any issues be sure to let us know, please email and let us know things like "What phone are you using?" "How many buckets did you have?" and a description of the behaviour.  If you can take a picture of your screen with a camera and include it with the bug report, we'll be super grateful.

We’d love it if you could drop us a quick email with your story about how you are using the application and what it has made possible. Screenshots are welcome! And if there’s something specific you do by hand with your information that we could add into the application for you, please let us know about it.

Things to be careful about

Once you direct the falling drops into a particular bucket, you don't need to keep the app open, or even keep your phone on. We just record that at this time, you started on Project 1 or whatever your bucket is called. Eventually you will send the drops to a different bucket or turn them off, and then we'll subtract to work out how long you spent working on Project 1. As a result there are two times you should NOT be sending the drops to an active bucket: