A simple and fast Time Tracker on iPad and iPhone with iOS Shortcuts

August 29, 2021 | Reading time 4 minutes

In the past I used several time trackers for keeping track on my time, but found them cumbersome. This Shortcut is a mini Time Tracker app that lets you keep track of you time. In this post I show you how to create this Shortcut. You can also download it and read the blog for setting up the Time Tracker on your iPhone or iPad.

How the Time Tracker works

After the initial set up, you just tap the icon and it starts tracking. You don’t need to launch an app or go to a web page. It will prompt two input question:

  • The name of the activity: this can be a customer, project or something else.
  • Remind me in X hours: this is for setting a reminder so that you don’t forget the Time Tracker.
A prompt window from the Time Tracker Shortcut, asking for the name of the activity.

The Time Tracker now runs until you stop it. It creates a calendar event and a reminder for tracking the time and sending alerts. The Shortcut will delete both items at the end.

When you’re done with your activity, just tap the icon again. It now asks you to add a remark. If you don’t have any remarks, tap Done. The Time Tracker will open Numbers and you see the added activity including your inputs.

You get two more questions for removing the calendar event and the reminder. Both questions must be answered with Remove.

Read on to add and set up this Shortcut on your iPad and iPhone.

Step 1: install the required apps

As you see, the Time Tracker Shortcut requires a few apps:

  • Shortcuts
  • Numbers (comes with your iPhone and iPad)
  • Calendar (comes with your iPhone and iPad)
  • Reminders (comes with your iPhone and iPad)

All these apps are made by Apple and free to use.

Step 2: create a Numbers document

The Time Tracker Shortcut uses a Numbers document for saving activities. You find a link for downloading a copy of this file at the bottom of this blog. If you want to create your own Numbers document with the default settings of the Shortcut, you must name all items (document, sheet and table) Time Tracker. Otherwise the Shortcut won’t work. See the image above as an example.

The Shortcut adds these data:

  • Calendar Notes (this is the description of the activity).
  • Start Date.
  • Date (this is the end date).
  • Time Between Dates (measured in minutes).
  • Provided Input (this is optional and is the added remark).

Step 3: Time Tracker settings

After downloading the Time Tracker Shortcut, you need to adjust a few settings in the Shortcut. The link for downloading a copy of this file is at the bottom of this blog.

Calendar
Choose a calendar for adding the time tracker events.

Shortcut Action for Calendar where you set the calendar that the Shortcut uses.

Reminders
Choose the list that will be used for the time tracker alerts.

Shortcut Action Reminders where you choose the list in Reminders for setting alerts.

File Path
This is one of the most important settings, because this is where you store the data from your activities. By default the Shortcuts app uses the Shortcuts folder on your iPhone/iPad or iCloud drive. You choose the location in the Documents action where it says Service. If you use the Toolbox Pro app you can choose other locations. For now we use Shortcuts folder, but you can create and choose another folder.

In the Documents action, add the name of the Numbers file to the File Path. The path will be /Shortcuts/Time Tracker.numbers.

Shortcut Action Documents for selecting the File Path of the Numbers document.

That’s the settings you need to adjust. You can change more, like the number of hours for reminders, but that’s not necessary.

Step 4: add the Time Tracker mini app to your home screen

The final step of the set up process is adding this mini app to your home screen for easy access. I added it to my dock so that it’s always within reach.

  1. Open the Shortcut in the Shortcuts app and tap the blue circle with the three dots next to the Time Tracker.
  2. Tap Add to Home Screen.
Settings in the Shortcut App for adding the Time Tracker Shortcut to your Home Screen.

You can now change the title (optional), add the Shortcut to your Home Screen and drag it to the dock. All you have to do for triggering the Time Tracker Shortcut is tap the icon you just created.

Downloads