Balance is a timing app for Mac that forces you to manually time your hours • TechCrunch
There are plenty of time tracking apps for Mac that automatically log the hours you’ve spent logging in. Some even offer granular data, telling you how long you spent on a particular app. A new app called Balance takes a slightly different approach to timekeeping, allowing users to manually enter and exit the time they spend in front of a screen.
Libra hopes to help users establish a set of healthy work habits rather than getting granular data on their productivity. It won’t tell you for long that Slack, Microsoft Teams, Chrome or any other app was open on your machine, but will give you a general overview of your overall system usage and time spent in various sessions in a week.
To make this system work, Balance sends you a reminder if your machine has been on for more than five minutes but you haven’t clocked in. Pointing is also easy, just lock your Mac. Unfortunately, if your system goes to sleep, Balance does not save a score.
Since there’s no automatic tracking, the app can’t understand if you’ve taken a break even when you’re away from the computer. It will therefore remind you to take a break after 60 minutes. You can easily fine-tune these settings as per your convenience.
Balance also offers you a Pomodoro timer (25 minutes on and 5 minutes off) via the Focus mode menu. The app sits in your Mac’s menu bar, so you can quickly access all of the options. It shows the active time of the current session by default, but you can override it with the total session time including breaks or time since last break.
Alexander Sandberg, the developer of Balance, says he created the app because he wanted a timekeeper that understood work-life balance. Working from home, he often sat in front of his system well beyond his working hours, he told TechCrunch in an interview, and that’s when he thought of build Libra.
“I chose a manual clocking system for Balance because I think it helps create a ‘ritual’ for checking in and out of work. Especially when working from home, it’s important to have something that helps you differentiate between work time and free time. For example, I’ve heard of people who take a short walk to and from “the office” at the start and end of workdays, even though their office is at home. It’s to help the mind and body make the difference between life and work,” he told TechCrunch in an email.
While the balance is good for getting used to getting in and out, it can take a bit of getting used to. You might have many sessions that you forget to start or end. So you can end up with false positives at both ends.
The Balance is available for free to everyone with the Pro version costing $2.49 per month (or $24.99 per year) as the introductory price. Paid customers will get features like session history with trending data. Balance also gives users the option to export their logs if they want to stop using the app or just want to analyze their data in a different way.
Sandberg said he was building more pro features like a better overview of session history with month and year; categorize and label sessions; and blocking apps and websites to help users focus more.