3 min read


Building a simple time-tracking solution.

So as an early-ish employee and as someone who has his hands a lot of pies, I am extremely busy juggling waaay too many things and being pulled into too many things. This is good for me and bad for me. Good for me because of the exposure to the various different things happening, some examples; design docs, code reviews, 1:1s, calls with potential and existing customers, supporting customer support, solutions engineers and commercial teams, etc. With all the things I said yes to, I noticed that I was missing tasks and deadlines and sometimes outright performing dismally in key areas. I've tried a lot of things but things always felt out of "control".

This quarter, I've decided to take productivity and motivation seriously. I'll be doing a few things:

Morning Routine

Every morning, right after I wake up I'll spend 15mins writing down the following:

  1. Things I was grateful for the previous day
  2. Things I plan to tackle that day
  3. And retrospect on the previous day and how I am feeling that day

Track Time diligently

I will track how I am spending time at work and on what. Currently it looks something like this:

Along with this, I will incorporate the Pomodoro technique to make sure I won't be distracted while working. This will give me an overview of what I was working on when and where all my time is going.

EOD Routine

I will be updating the TODO list and retrospecting on the day. It will be like work / personal journal and I also want to track the feelings over time.


This gives me the ultimate idea for a productivity suite. I am doing several things here, taken from several different books and ideas:

  1. TODO list management
  2. Tracking motivation and feeling levels and assigning tasks for the day
  3. Time tracking

Now, there are 3 different apps for each of the things, for example Mindwave for journaling and tracking feelings and Forty and Kimai for time-tracking.

I want to make sure that I build a single suite that brings together everything but I will start small before expanding, starting with Simpletime: A dead simple time-tracking app powered by Prometheus and Grafana. I use Kimai and it's too complex. I like Forty but it doesn't seem to have the tooling to create dashboards.

I want to start by creating a very simple time-tracker but also expose metrics via Prometheus and power dashboards via Grafana. It'll look like Forty but it will be fully open-source and will be written in Go. I still haven't figured out what the frontend will be in, but hopefully something simple.

If you build it, will they come?

Okay, this all sounds great, but will I have users? I don't know. I have a feeling that people will need it only when they're insanely busy and even then most people have it figured out. But I think the journaling and morning routine are powerful techniques and so is Pomodoro.

I don't think I'll have a lot of users for Simpletime, but once I build in TODO + journaling, I am sure the users will slowly start trickling in. Later I plan to add syncs with Slack and other features / integrations. And I think I can build a suite of tools which work really work well together, but also stand-alone. Lets see!

But instead of just building this in isolation, I'll also work with others who I know will be interested in this product to make sure I build something for everyone.

Wait, did you say OSS?

Yes, it will be fully open-source, but I plan to monetise a hosted version of it. Why? I don't know, I basically don't see why it shouldn't be OSS. If someone is willing to run a MySQL, Prometheus and Grafana for this, I am sure they can also contribute fixes or make some noise :) For those who don't want that trouble I'll be building a stellar hosted solution.

I don't think I'll be adding any monetisation anytime soon, but that is up for debate. I'll react as things evolve.

Whats step #1?

Well I am already tracking time in Kimai, and I have a hacky exporter working for it. My first step is building a nice and useful dashboard with the data. Once I have the dashboard is up, I'll start building Simpletime. I'll send an update next with the dashboard and how it is helping me :)