Herring Activity Tracker

Herring is an activity tracker designed for enhancing productivity in computer-related work.

  • 100% non-intrusive - does not consume your time for tracking
  • 100% private - does not send any data our of your computer
  • 100% open source and plain-text data storage

Herring Activity Tracker records how you spend time at your computer. It creates an activity log consisting of the application names, window titles and intensities of your keyboard and mouse actions. At any time you are getting a clean picture of what you have been doing earlier. Moreover, with a system of user defined rules, it can show you a breakdown of activity categories - like email reading, web browsing, software development or graphics design.

You can use this information for example to:

  • Get rid of this very common feeling at the end of a day or a week, that you have been doing something all the time, but you finished with little progress. Herring shows you where exactly the time has gone. (It is usually communication and tons of little, secondary tasks, which can also be important, but are difficult to be noticed).
  • Get to know, what percentage of time you spend on creative work... and what on distractions.
  • Review all your computer-related tasks and analyse, which of them you should drop or delegate.
  • Tell your customer, why exactly a project you are doing for him/her requires "so much time".
  • Get to know, how much time you actually spend on projects for different customers.

How it works?

Herring activates itself every 3 seconds to check what the top window is. It collects its title and - in case of the Chrome browser - also the URL (but not in Private mode). Then, every 5 minutes it prepares a list of the most frequently appearing tasks and displays them in the "Activities" tab. The 5 minutes window assures a reasonably high resolution of displayed data but at the same time filters out activities of little relevance. The top activity in each 5 minutes window is considered the most important and Herring counts the entire 5 minutes period as its "Top Time". Later, when you need to see an overview of your entire day, it is better to go to the "Summary" tab. Here you can see what the top activities where in the entire day. I suggest that in the summary view you pay attention mostly to the Top Time as it is the best estimate of the actual time spend on a task related to a given activity.

Why activity tracking is important?