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Track your PC usage with Motivate Clock

14 December 2015, Mike Williams

Motivate ClockYour project is urgent, the deadline imminent – but PCs have so many distractions that it’s easy to get pulled into doing something else, without even really noticing.

Motivate Clock is a free time tracker for Windows which makes it quick and easy to understand exactly where you’re spending your computer time.

Installation is straightforward, no adware or registration required. Launch the program afterwards and everything you need is presented in a compact console.

The simplest way to start is with “Manual Mode”, which just records your time usage with a couple of clocks: “Work” and “Rest”.

Click the “Work” tab, and that clock starts to tick; click “Rest” when you’re taking time out; hit the Pause button if you’re leaving the system, and Motivate Clock keeps track of what’s going on.

Motivate Clock

Simple reports list the apps you’ve used and your overall work/ rest balance

Clicking “Open statistic” at any point displays your work/ rest balance, both as a total time and a percentage. That’s about as basic as any analysis can get, but still useful – just seeing how much time you spend not working could be a surprise.

Motivate Clock also supports project-based tracking, a smarter mode where the program automatically detects when you switch from one application to another.

Setup is still easy, just hit “New Project” and specify the applications you’ll be using for work. Motivate Clock then monitors the current window, and increments the “Work” clock for applications on the list, and the “Resting” clock if you switch to anything else.

This immediately gets you more detailed reports, as the program now lists the time spent in individual applications, as well as the overall Work/ Rest balance.

One obvious problem here is that applications are defined as just for “Work”, or just for “Rest”, and that doesn’t reflect the real world. You might use Skype to talk to your colleagues, or your kids, and Motivate Clock won’t be able to tell the difference.

Still, the program can at least track your web usage in more detail with the aid of some optional browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox and Opera are supported).

Install whatever you need, then drag or drop work URLs into your project. Use your browser as normal and Motivate Clock increments the Work clock when you’re accessing URLs on the list, and the “Resting” clock if you head off somewhere else.

Motivate Clock isn’t the most sophisticated of time trackers, but it handles the basics well, and is so simple to use that at least you won’t waste any time setting it up. Worth a try.

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