BeginIt: A Stunning Way to Track Time

One of the really interesting things about day to day life is how little most people (myself included) are aware of the time they spend doing things. Sure, if you work a typical day job you know you’re at work from 8 p.m. until 5 p.m. (or later), with a lunch in between. However, if I asked most of you to to lay out your day for me you may be able to tell me what you did, but not how long you were doing said events (at least not very accurately).

By this point I know some of you may be asking, “who cares?” I know time tracking isn’t a hobby or activity that is particularly exciting or useful to everyone, but if it is, BeginIt may become your new favorite app.

Getting Started

After you get past BeginIt’s gorgeous splash screen, you’ll be shown a few examples of logged ctivities. To add a new Activity (or as the app says, “to BeginIt”), swipe down on your screen. A new overlapping page will appear on screen with a list of time tracking activities, which Xynyn uses for a brief tutorial if read from top to bottom. Unfortunately, you’ll need to delete each activity, which is done by swiping the color block to the right and then swiping it back to the left.

Your introduction to BeginIt.

Your introduction to BeginIt.

Tracking Time

When you’re ready to begin timing, tap on the text box at the top of the screen (to the left of the Cancel button) and type your Activity description; when you’re finished, tap Done. From here you’ll be driven back to the main page and your timing will begin.

Enter your Activity description in the text box, hit Done and it will appear on the main page.

Enter your Activity description in the text box, hit Done and it will appear on the main page.

One annoyance that’s rather irksome about BeginIt is that there’s no method of stopping your timing. It’s clear that Xynyn created BeginIt with the notion that users would always want to track their timing, but that certainly won’t always be the case (perhaps you need to track time for business purposes or just want to track certain events). A work around that Xynyn proposes in the App Store description is to create a “not logged” Activity, which works, but I’m hoping the ability to stop timing will be added in a future update.

Create a "Not Logged" Activity (or simply kill the app) if you don't want to track a specific activity.

Create a "Not Logged" Activity (or simply kill the app) if you don't want to track a specific activity.

Editing Activities

BeginIt offers a few minor editing capabilities for activities, as well as the ability to set goals (discussed further in the next section); to do either, tap on an Activity from the main page. The first area of the Edit page is the Event, which includes the same time information displayed on the main page. If you need to edit the time you logged, tap the Edit Event button and change the time using the scroll wheel (you can also change the Activity using the text box provided).

The Edit  and Edit Event pages.

The Edit and Edit Event pages.

The second area of the Edit page displays a line graph the shows all the time you’ve tracked under that Activity. BeginIt keeps tabs of all the time you’ve tracked so you can swipe the graph to the right to view previous entries. If you tap on the graph, you’ll be transitioned to a full page graph that allows you to view your progress a bit easier.

The line graph shows your progress for an individual Activity over time.

The line graph shows your progress for an individual Activity over time.

Setting Goals

The last area of the Edit page displays Goals (referred to as a Constant Goal in BeginIt), which must be set up for each new Activity (if desired). To set up a goal, tap the Edit Activity button above the graph (you can also change the Activity color from the Edit Activity page). Start by selecting how much time you want to spend doing said Activity (you can change the default one hour by tapping on it and then using the scroll wheel to change the time), then select how often the goal should be accomplished (e.g. daily, weekly or monthly). Tap the Add A Goal button when you’re finished.

Setting up a goal.

Setting up a goal.

You’ll notice that your goal has been entered and that it’s tracking your goal for only a week. This is a rather curious standard set by Xynyn, but it can be changed with some ease by tapping on the goal, tapping the Due Date, and then changing the date on the scroll wheel (at the moment you can’t go further than a year).

Changing a goal's due date.

Changing a goal's due date.

When an Activity doesn’t have a set goal the text located next to the Activity on the main page will read “No Set Goal.” However, when an activity is set BeginIt will show the date the activity was logged, how much time was logged and remains to meet the goal, and the percentage the goal was achieved.

BeginIt makes it easy to determine if you're hitting your goals.

BeginIt makes it easy to determine if you're hitting your goals.

Creating Graphs

One of the reasons to bother with time tracking is to study your activities, and as a visual person I really enjoy BeginIt’s ability to create graphs from my logged time. To create a graph, swipe down on screen from the main page and tap the graph button in the top right corner. Next, choose the type of graph you’d like to make (pie, line or bar), then tap on the activities you’d like to include in the graph.

Graphing options.

Graphing options.

Next, choose the time range and tap the Create Graph button. BeginIt allows you to save an image of the graph to your Camera Roll, or share it via Twitter, Facebook or Email.

Examples of completed graphs.

Examples of completed graphs.

Final Thoughts

BeginIt is the type of app that won’t appeal or be useful to everyone, which is a real shame. Xynyn has done an amazing job with creating an incredibly stunning app that is just a joy to use. The overall simplicity of BeginIt makes it easy for anyone to pick up and use right away, though I’m still holding out for the ability to stop a timing manually.

If time tracking plays a part of your life, or you’re just interesting in tracking your daily habits, I really cannot recommend BeginIt enough.


Summary

A stunning app that's simple and a joy to use for all of your time tracking needs.

9