There are several things issues that really annoy me as a tech savvy teacher!
- Having apps that don’t sync across devices – come one people it’s 2016!
- Hearing people tell me how lucky I am to be a teacher because of all the time off I get!
- I hate buying an app and then having to pay MORE to get all the features!
- I really don’t like the current trend of subscription based services that the software world is going to. I want to buy it and know that I will be able to use it!
OK… so no that I have that off my chest let’s talk about keeping track of all that time I spend as a music teacher doing stuff for my job that is “off the books” or “behind the scenes”.
OfficeTime ($7.99) by Productive Monkey Ltd is an amazing app that is simple and quick to use that lets me track hours worked as well as expenses.
OfficeTime has apps for iPad/iPhone (buy once use on both by the way), AppleWatch, Mac and PC
I decided this year and last year that I wanted to track my time using this app to give me better insights as to where my time was being spent the most. Just how much time did I actually spend on getting prepared for Band Camp every year? How much time did I spend on re-arranging music or transposing parts? How much time did I spend in that music library, sorting, filing, and keeping track of that music we played?
So the cool thing about this app is that I get to set it up any way that I want it to be set up. Of course that is also a down side as well – It is taking me a while to actually figure out how I should set up the app so that I can break my work down to best keep track of it all. For instance, a big area I want to keep track of are performances. Think about it though – how detailed do you want to go? Some performances are for the Fine Arts and some are for Sports. What about keeping track of set up and tear down times or getting the music around for that concert and doing music arrangements? I still am not fully happy with the way I have everything broken down. The other issue is that in my case I only wanted to track those hours outside of the contracted day so in other words if I organized uniforms during my regular scheduled prep time during the school day, then I do not enter that into this app.
In my case I created Projects for the big things I wanted to keep track of. So here are some of my Projects:
- Band Camp
- Instrument Inventory
Then I created categories so that I could get into greater detail. Here are some of my Categories:
- Band Boosters
- Drill Writing
- Lesson Planning
- Loading and Packing
- Music Notation
- Music Arranging
- Setting Up
- Performances – Concerts
- Performances – Sports
I then made sure the app was on my iPad, my iPhone and my desktop as well. This would give me the ability to have easy access to keeping track of each of these areas (in theory anyways). Then I went to work. Then I immediately forgot to keep track of what I was doing – silly me, adding one more thing to do in the heat of the moment! The nice thing is though that it is just as easy to go back later and add in events/expenses as it is to do it at the actual time of the event. If I actually do remember to start a timer when I start doing something then I usually forget to stop it anyways. So my way of using the app is to go back after the fact or even sometimes enter whatever events are coming up for the week ahead. The bad part is that sometimes I do have to guess at how long it actually took me to complete something.
When you set up your Categories you also are given a chance to setup how much you should get paid per hour for these hours you spend. Since I am paid a yearly stipend I really am not ever going to see an hourly wage that I earn. Of course that is one of the reasons I am trying to keep track of some of this. So I went ahead and entered an hourly wage for each category. This also will help justify my “extra” pay I get because I am a Band Director and the school knows I spend more hours working outside of the contracted day. In my case I am totally guessing at what an hourly wage would be (low balling it on purpose)
When everything is entered this app will for sure give me a much better sense of where I spend my time, where I spend too much time and where I should maybe spend more time. This app will also give me good insight as to which months I do more of something so as to help me better prepare my calendar – Uniforms for instance are mostly concentrated in August and in November. The Desktop version of the app gives me fancy little pie graphs so it’s even easier to take a look at what is going on.
Now I just need to remember to actually enter and track everything. One way that OfficeTime helps with this is that I can integrate my iCal right into this app and OfficeTime will pull events from my calendar into OfficeTime without any intervention from me. I enter my event into my calendar anyways so why not let OfficeTime pull it from there!
OfficeTime on my Mac allows me to keep my iPad, iPhone and Desktop all in sync with each other. It just works – it’s fun to see my Desktop update after I’ve added a bunch of events on my iPhone.
If you are looking for a great way to keep track of your time then OfficeTime would be an awesome way to accomplish this. In fact there is even a free version of the app for you to try out!
Give it a whirl and then the next time you hear someone telling you how lucky you are that you get ALL SUMMER OFF – whip out your OfficeTime and show them the REAL story!