Time Journal user guide

Document version 1.2 for use with Time Journal 2.5.1+

Time Journal is very simple, while offering great power and flexibility, divided into three discreet areas: Track, Analyze, and Report. This guide will take you through each area in-depth.


Building your clock list.

Time Journal uses clocks to track recurring events and tasks. When you first launch Time Journal, the only option available is to create your first clock by tapping the blue New Clock row.

I recommend creating clocks as you begin performing tasks to reduce the risk of creating clocks you won’t use.

For example, you’re getting ready for bed. Launch Time Journal. Create a clock called “Sleep”. The clock will automatically start running — appearing above the New Clock row. Go to sleep.

When you wake up. Launch Time Journal. You’ll see how long the clock has been running since it was started. Tap the Sleep clock (stop). You’re done.

As you step out your door to go to work, you may want to track your daily commute. Launch Time Journal. Create a clock called “Commute”. When you get to the office, tap the Commute clock (stop). While you’re at it, go ahead and create a “Work” clock.

When you head home for the day, launch Time Journal, tap your Work clock (stop), then tap your Commute clock (start).

Building your list of clocks is quick and easy. Creating them when you say to yourself, “How long do I spend doing…?” builds the habit of taking full advantage of Time Journal.

Child clocks.

Time Journal has the ability to create child clocks (sub-tasks) and run multiple clocks at the same time (track concurrent events).

An example of a child clock could be related to your Work clock. If you are at the office and heading to a meeting, launch Time Journal and tap the child clock list button to the right of the Work clock. Create a clock called “Meeting”. Once the meeting is over, launch Time Journal and tap your Meeting clock (stop).

Running multiple clocks.

Commuting is one of those tasks during which you can do something else, generally. Let’s say it is the end of the work day and you’re leaving the office. Launch Time Journal, tap the Work clock (stop), and tap the Commute clock (start). If you’re like me and live in a city where commuting by public transportation is common, you probably find yourself taking a nap or reading, and might consider a Reading clock. Before launching an eBook app or opening your book, launch Time Journal. Create a “Reading” clock. Then start reading — takes only a few seconds. You are now tracking your commute and your reading habits.

When you’re done reading, launch Time Journal, tap the Reading clock (stop). And, of course, when you walk in the door, launch Time Journal, tap your Commute clock (stop).

That’s it.

Time Journal is designed to launch quickly so starting, stopping, and creating clocks takes a fraction of the time of manual journals and some other tracking apps available; fitting seamlessly into your daily routine.

Creating entries manually (forgetting to track an event).

  1. Launch Time Journal.
  2. Tap and hold the entry button to the left of the clock; the entry detail screen will appear.
  3. Tap the start time to reveal a date picker and set the desired day and time.
  4. Tap the stop time and set the proper day and time.
  5. Add a note if you like. (optional)
  6. Tap the save button in the upper right of the screen.

Editing a running entry (forgetting to start a clock during the event).

You’re in a meeting and forgot to start your clock.

  1. Launch Time Journal.
  2. Tap the Meeting clock (start).
  3. Tap the entry button to the left of the clock; the entry detail screen will appear.
  4. Tap the start time to reveal a date picker and set the desired day and time.
  5. Add a note if you like. (optional)
  6. Tap the save button in the upper right of the screen.

While not as accurate as starting the clock as soon as you stopped what you were doing before the meeting, at least the event will be tracked.

Editing the most recent entry (forgetting to stop a clock).

Your Work clock is running. You went to lunch and have your Lunch clock running. When you get back you’re pulled into something and can’t stop your Lunch clock. Not a problem.

  1. When you get the chance, launch Time Journal.
  2. Tap your Lunch clock (stop)
  3. Tap the entry button to the left of the clock; the entry detail screen will appear.
  4. Tap the stop time and set the proper day and time.
  5. Add a note if you like. (optional)
  6. Tap the save button in the upper right of the screen.

Sorting clocks.

Time Journal has two sorting options for clocks:

  1. Most recently used (default)
  2. Alphabetically

The sort option can be changed at any time by following these steps:

  1. Launch the Settings app
  2. Scroll until you see Time Journal and tap its listing
  3. Tap the option to sort clocks alphabetically

Deleting clocks.

Time Journal is designed, as much as possible, to mimic much of the behavior of native apps. Therefore, you can:

Editing clocks (overview).

Bring up the clock details screen:

Renaming a clock.

From the clock details screen:

  1. Tap the clock’s name to display the keyboard.
  2. Enter the desired name.
  3. Tap the save button in the upper right corner of the screen.

Rearranging clocks (adopting).

From the clock details screen:

  1. Tap the parent row to present a list of all available parents.
  2. Tap the desired parent.
  3. Tap the save button in the upper right corner of the screen.

Viewing entries.

See the Analyze discussion on time entries.

Setting goals.

“Goals” is a term of convenience, because they can symbolize whatever suits your purpose. Goals, limits, range, or something else entirely. Having said that, goals are very helpful when analyzing data, and are explained in more detail in the Analyze discussion.

From the clock details screen:

  1. Tap the goals row to enable goal setting for the clock and present three options.
  2. There are two types of goals: per day (default) and per entry (every time the clock is started and stopped). Tap the type row to present the goal type list. (optional)
  3. Tap the desired goal type. (optional)
  4. Tap the upper value to display a time picker and set the value.
  5. Tap the lower value to display a time picker and set the value. (optional)
  6. Tap the save button in the upper right corner of the screen.

As an example, you may want to keep the time you spend in meetings to less than two hours per day; therefore, you would set the goal type to per day. Alternatively, you may want to keep the time you spend commuting to less than one hour in either direction; therefore, you would set the goal type to per entry.

Every goal must have an upper value. So, for our Meeting clock, we would set an upper value of two hours; for our Commute clock, we would set an upper value of one hour.

Every goal can have a lower value. So, let’s say you have a meeting you believe to be truly important that happens every day. This meeting lasts 30 minutes. You can set a lower value of 30 minutes, with the same upper value.



The main screen of the analyze area displays the percent chart. You can specify five date ranges. Time Journal takes all of the entries with stop times greater than the specified start date to examine and start times less than the specified end date to examine. Entries are masked to display the most accurate information.

For example, if you want to see the stats for yesterday, you would select one day ago. Let’s say there are three entries from two clocks:

Time Journal runs the necessary calculations to build the chart. The result is 10 hours total time. Your Sleep clock accounts for 8 hours of that time; or, 80%. The cumulative bar at the top of the screen is displayed with 80% filled with the designated color for your Sleep clock. The remaining 20% filled with the designated color for your Meeting clock. The clocks display with corresponding bars, percentages, and other pertinent information ordered from the clock with highest percent to the one with the lowest. Clocks with no entries are not be displayed.

Percent — child clocks.

The design of the main percent screen mimics that of the clock list. Therefore, viewing child clock data is accomplished by tapping the detail button to the right of the clock. The child clock percent screen functions the same way as the main percent screen.

Standard Deviation.

A standard deviation is a measurement of variation in a given dataset…this is a technical way of saying you have an entry and the first time it runs it took 1 hour, the second time it took 4, and the third it took 7. This results in an average of 4 hours. We can then calculate the standard (average) deviation (variance) by averaging the differences between the numbers in the dataset…don’t worry, Time Journal does the math for you.

To view the standard deviation chart, tap a clock in the percent chart screen.

Time Journal displays the average and standard deviations for the chart as horizontal lines (two entries are required). This type of chart quickly shows areas of inconsistency.

For example, you may discover that some days you get 4 hours of sleep, while others you’re sleeping 12, while others 8. This type of variation for an event like sleeping could indicate erratic sleep patterns that you may want to discuss with your doctor the next time you see him or her.

Just like goals, the standard deviation chart can be set to display per day or per entry. If the selected chart display type matches the specified goal type for a clock, one or two lines indicating the upper and lower values will be overlaid on the chart. This way you not only see how much variation there is day-to-day or entry-to-entry, you also see how much of the data falls within the desired amount(s). If you find you are consistently over, under, or otherwise out-of-bounds, you may want to examine this clock a little further to discern what’s going on. Viewing Time Entries can help there.

Time Entries (overview).

There are two ways to view time entries for a clock:

  1. From the clock details screen — tap the entries row.
  2. From the percent chart — tap the entry button to the left of the clock.

Each entry is displayed with the start, stop, and total duration for the entry. Further, each entry is given a percent bar indicating how much it is contributing to the total of all the entries being displayed. Finally, if an entry has a note, it will also be indicated here.

Editing entries.

Tap any of the entries to see the time entry detail screen you’re familiar with from the clock list.

Deleting entries.

There are three methods to delete entries:

  1. Delete the clock the entries are associated with (see the discussion on deleting clocks).
  2. Delete a single entry (see the discussion on deleting clocks as the same methods are applicable).
  3. Delete all entries being displayed
    1. Tap the desired date range from the picker.
    2. Tap the edit button in the top right of the screen.
    3. Tap the delete all button.
    4. Confirm or cancel when the confirmation appears.


To export entries from Time Journal, tap the action button in the top right of the screen on either the percent or standard deviation chart screens.

Calendar app.

If you take advantage of the native Calendar app, exporting to it is a great way to compare estimates and actuals. For example, if you had a meeting scheduled from 1–2pm, you can see how long it took for you to get to the meeting, and how long the meeting actually was.

Time Journal cannot access the Calendar app without your permission (a much appreciated security feature). So, the first time you export to the Calendar app you will be asked to give Time Journal permission to create events.

  1. Tap the export button in the top of the screen on the percent or standard deviation chart.
  2. Tap Calendar from the destination picker.
  3. Allow Time Journal to access your Calendar app. (first time only)
  4. Select a calendar from the presented list.

Spreadsheet (CSV).

To export to CSV format:

  1. Tap the export button in the top of the screen on the percent or standard deviation chart.
  2. Tap Spreadsheet from the destination picker.

The report area (from the tab bar at the bottom of the screen) is a listing of these files. To view the spreadsheet in Time Journal tap the file. From the preview screen, after tapping the share button in the top right of the screen, you can choose to:

Display durations as money

Time Journal has the ability to display durations in two distinct formats: 1) time code and 2) monetary value.

Time code

The default time display in Time Journal uses a standard time code of 00:00:00:00 where the numbers (reading right-to-left) seconds, minutes, hours, and days, respectively. This display is a good way to answer the question of how long a clock has been running.

Monetary value

It can be helpful to know how much performing a task would have cost had you been required to pay yourself or someone else. To switch to seeing your time this way:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Scroll to and tap Time Journal.
  3. If the monetary value is zero (or blank), the standard time code will be used; otherwise, enter an amount in whole units (no change). For example, a value of 10, in US Dollars, would result in durations being displayed as $10 per hour.

Calculating an hourly rate for yourself, if you do not already know, is relatively straightforward. If you have an annual salary, divide it by roughly 2000 (the number of standard working hours in a year less holidays and vacations). If you would like to take it a step further, you can multiply the result of the previous calculation by 1.25 to 1.4, which results in the income a corporation would have to earn, per hour, in order to pay your hourly rate (deducting for marketing, benefits, etc.).

Resetting Time Journal

If you use Time Journal primarily for getting yourself back on track, it might be advantageous to clear out all historical entries; or entries and clocks.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Scroll and tap Time Journal.
  3. Flip the switch for resetting on next launch.
  4. Launch Time Journal and an alert should appear asking what you like to reset.
  5. Select the type of reset you would like to perform: entries only, clocks and entries, or cancel.


Time Journal uses iCloud by default; thereby, keeping all your devices in-sync.

If you wish to opt-out of using iCloud please perform the following steps:

  1. Close Time Journal completely by following the Apple “iOS: Force an app to close” instructions.
  2. Launch the Settings app.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Tap Documents & Data.
  5. Find Time Journal in the list of apps available for iCloud and turn the switch to the off position.

Troubleshooting iCloud on Time Journal


For Time Journal to sync with iCloud the device will need to be connected a network with access to the Internet and iCloud enabled for Time Journal. What this means for the following devices:

Sync Issues

With any app using iCloud, there are multiple techniques for trying to overcome issues. The following lists these techniques in an escalating order (if one does not correct the issue, try the next):

  1. Sometimes, a clock will not appear to be added; or, will not be listed as the child of another clock after syncing with iCloud. In these cases, it may be necessary to delete the clock on one device and add it again; or, change the designated parent clock. (Note: This only applies to new clocks.)
  2. Force close Time Journal and relaunch. http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5137
  3. Restart the device. http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1430
  4. Turn off iCloud for Time Journal (historically not as effective as other methods):
    1. launch the Settings app,
    2. tap iCloud,
    3. tap Documents & Data,
    4. turn off Time Journal,
    5. launch Time Journal,
    6. force close Time Journal,
    7. turn iCloud for Time Journal back on, and
    8. launch Time Journal again.
  5. Reset (hard reboot) the device. http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1430
  6. Delete Time Journal from the device (or devices) and reinstall. http://support.apple.com/kb/TI135
  7. Reset network settings. http://support.apple.com/kb/ts3780 or http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1398
  8. Delete Time Journal iCloud data and uninstall Time Journal from all devices. This is our last resort; however, in the case of data corruption, it's really the only viable one. http://support.apple.com/kb/PH12794