A deep dive on how Clockk’s tracking works

This document is your guide to understanding how Clockk’s trackers work. What do they track? How do they track? What don’t they track?

There is no “timer”

Matrix 'There is no spoon' meme, showing a clock over the spoon and the caption 'There is no timer'

In Clockk, there is no timer.

There are only interactions — the apps and websites you use on your computer. These interactions are grouped together to form blocks.

An example of captured time showing in Clockk Insight
Time tracked on a web app showing in Clockk Insight
An example of captured time showing in Clockk Time
Captured time showing as multiple “blocks” in Clockk Time

Even though there is technically no “timer”, it’s still helpful to think in terms of a “timer” that starts and stops automatically as you use your computer.

How the trackers track time

Clockk’s trackers (desktop app and browser extension) track the time you’re active in a window. When you click or type, the “timer” starts. If you walk away from your computer, the timer automatically stops. Come back and start typing, and the timer starts again.

Clockk joins similar interactions together. If you use Twitter for 3 minutes, walk away for 2, and then use Twitter for another minute, Clockk will count 6 minutes of Twitter time.

Drawing illustrating a person using Twitter with a short break
Total time tracked in Clockk on Twitter is one block, 6 minutes long.

Clockk completely stops the timer at 10 minutes. Let’s use the Twitter example again: you use Twitter for 3 minutes, walk away for 11 minutes, and use Twitter for another minute, you now have 4 minutes of Twitter time.

Drawing illustrating a person using Twitter with a long break
Total time tracked in Clockk on Twitter is two blocks, 3 and 1 minutes long.

Clockk starts & stops the timer whenever you start & stop doing something. You use Twitter for 3 minutes. Then you switch to a Google Sheet and you spend the next 8 minutes there. Then you start working in Quickbooks for another 5 minutes. Clockk will report 3 minutes for Twitter, 8 for the Google Sheet, and 5 for Quickbooks.

Clockk tracking 3 different apps being used sequentially
Clockk tracks 3 blocks: Twitter (3 minutes), Google Sheets (8 minutes), and Quickbooks (5 minutes) for a total of 16 minutes.

The tracker counts concurrent interactions separately. You are working on a Google Sheet for 28 minutes, but in the middle of it you engage in a hilarious 😂 Twitter thread, going back-and-forth for 12 minutes. Clockk will report the same time twice, as though you never stopped working on either.

Clockk tracking 2 apps used in parallel
Clockk tracks Google Sheets (28 minutes) and Twitter (12 minutes) used in parallel, for a total of 40 minutes.

Clockk tracks projects, not apps

Clockk also has an unusual bias about what it tracks. The rule of thumb is that Clockk tracks whatever it can unambiguously identify as project work. What does that mean?

You’ll never see Chrome, Firefox, or any other browser in the Cheatsheet. You could be using the browser for any client or project. Clockk is much more interested in the work you’re doing than the app you’re using.

Instead, Clockk looks at the website or web app you’re on and reports that.

The same is true for a lot of other apps on your computer. Video games, the Terminal/Command Shell, Messages, and a lot of other apps simply won’t appear. Clockk has no way to know if the work belongs to a project or not, so it simply doesn’t report it.

The time you spend in your email program isn’t reported either. The time you spend reading & sorting emails could be for any client or project. Essentially, Clockk doesn’t consider reading email to be work. (Writing email is definitely work; we track that differently.)

But what we don’t track shouldn’t be a problem, because most people don’t spend an hour just reading email. This scenario is more likely:

  1. You check your email and you see that you’ve been assigned a task.
  2. You load up a Microsoft Excel document to work on that task.
  3. You go back to your email to read a bit more about the task.
  4. Now you do a Google search for a formula.
  5. Back to Excel for a few edits.
  6. A new email came in. You read it. Throw it in the trash.
  7. Back to Excel.

In this example, you kept interacting with Excel. You were never away from Excel for more than 10 minutes. The time you spent working on this Excel document, in spite of research and distractions, was tracked, and it will appear in Clockk.

That’s it!

It seems complicated, but the rules are actually really simple and predictable.

Clockk’s goal is to accurately reflect the work you did, so that your timesheets become easy and painless.