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TIME TRACKING NOT SYNCHRONIZED

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Ace Contributor
Leonida U Member Since: Mar 20, 2017
1 of 10

Hello. I have been confused about the time tracker because I have observed that it shows different data than the real time. Example : I have logged 29 minutes but in the hours worked today it shows 40 minutes. It was 11 minutes ahead. In another screenshot that I attached, I logged in 6 minutes but the hours worked today was 20 minutes. 15 minutes ahead. I did not delete any screenshot so it doesn't affect any of it. The screenshots attached was not taken on the same day. It was few days apart. I posted this because someone out there might have the same experience too and just want to understand how the time tracker works.

 

Thank you so much!

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Active Member
Paulus S Member Since: Sep 28, 2017
2 of 10

Hey, Leonida,

that's normal

I can say that because Upwork system is recording by the screenshot have been taken

which mean, one screenshot taken is mean you have worked for 10 minutes.

 

and you can't know when upwork will take the screenshot on your computer

Sometimes it is 4 minutes or even 11 minutes, but I am sure it will not pass more than 20 minutes for every screenshot

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Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
3 of 10

Hi Leonida,

 

Please note that Upwork Desktop App takes a random screenshot in a 10-minute interval (10:10 - 10:20 and so on) and logs the segment into your Work Diary. You most likely started the app near the end of the first interval and a screenshot was taken at the start of the subsequent interval, logging both 10-minute intervals. In order to keep your activity levels high, we advise starting the app at the beginning of a segment. Please refer to this Help article and video tutorial for more information, and let us know if you have any questions.

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Community Guru
Richard W Member Since: Jun 22, 2017
4 of 10

Vladimir G wrote:

In order to keep your activity levels high, we advise starting the app at the beginning of a segment.


Hi Vladimir. I can understand why freelancers advise other freelancers to start tracking at the beginning of a segment, in order to work around flaws in the tracker. But I find it astonishing that Upwork itself is now giving that advice, INSTEAD OF FIXING THE FLAWS!

 

In fact there are two flaws, and only the lesser one is connected with activity levels.

 

The major flaw is that the tracker ALWAYS snaps a segment if you start tracking part way through the segment and continue tracking to the end of the segment. A correct algorithm would make the probability of a snapshot proportional to the time tracked, so you'd have only a 10% chance of a snapshot if you tracked only the LAST minute of a segment. Note that the tracker does seem to work correctly if you track only the FIRST minute of a segment. I've mentioned this flaw to you before, so sorry for repeating myself! 

 

The lesser flaw is that the green activity level bars in the work diary show the number of minutes when there was activity, even when less than 10 minutes were tracked. For example, if I've worked tracked 4 minutes of the segment and had activity in 3 of those 4 minutes, I SHOULD be shown as having 75% activity (3/4). But instead I'm shown as having 30% activity (3 bars). If you consider the purpose of the bars to be showing the absolute number of minutes of activity, rather than a %, then it understates the number of minutes, because it fails to show minutes worked in unsnapped segments.

 

Both of these flaws could be fixed by changes to the algorithms. I don't believe they are forced on Upwork by technical issues. I believe they are a result of the algorithms not being thought through carefully enough in the first place.

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Community Guru
Jess C Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
BEST ANSWER
5 of 10

@Leonida U wrote:

Hello. I have been confused about the time tracker because I have observed that it shows different data than the real time. Example : I have logged 29 minutes but in the hours worked today it shows 40 minutes. It was 11 minutes ahead. In another screenshot that I attached, I logged in 6 minutes but the hours worked today was 20 minutes. 15 minutes ahead. I did not delete any screenshot so it doesn't affect any of it. The screenshots attached was not taken on the same day. It was few days apart. I posted this because someone out there might have the same experience too and just want to understand how the time tracker works.

 

Thank you so much!


The tracker counts 10 minute increments, but the screenshots themselves are not evenly distributed. You might have one screenshot at 3:02, which counts your time between 3:00 and 3:10, and then not see another one until 3:17, which counts your time between 3:10 and 3:20. You can have up to 18-19 minutes between screenshots, or as little as 2 minutes between them, but they all count for 10 minutes of tracked time.

 

Best practice is to start and stop your timer on a 10 minute increment - 3:40 instead of 3:45, for example.

 

The tracker is also counting keystrokes and mouse events, which is what the green activity bars indicate under each screenshot. If your screenshot occurs at 3:02 and you go look at the Work Diary right then, you'll probably see that bar is mostly empty. But, when you look at it after another screenshot and you were working steadily, you'll see the bar filled up for that prior segment.

 

Read this guide for clients to get a better idea of how it all works: https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211062278-Check-your-Freelancer-s-Work-Diary

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Active Member
Gert S Member Since: May 26, 2020
6 of 10

@Jess: These 10 minute increments, do they start with your computerclock? My point is, if I start at 10:01 am, which is "towards the beginning of a segment" the timer will run its 10-minutes-increments from there, I understand that, but the screenshot might have occured at 10 straight and I missed it by 1 minute, meaning I'm working a full time segment for free.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 10

Gert S wrote:

These 10 minute increments, do they start with your computerclock? My point is, if I start at 10:01 am, which is "towards the beginning of a segment" the timer will run its 10-minutes-increments from there, I understand that, but the screenshot might have occured at 10 straight and I missed it by 1 minute, meaning I'm working a full time segment for free.


No. Any 10 minute segment with keyboard and/or activity will get a screenshot. So if you start the tracker at 09:11 or 9:15, for example, there will always be a screenshot before 9:20.

 

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Active Member
Gert S Member Since: May 26, 2020
8 of 10

Thank you Petra

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 10

The tracker does not count minutes, as such. It counts time segments.

 

Each hour consists of 6 time segments, each time segment is 10 minutes.

 

So let's take an example. 10 am to 11 am is

 

10.00 to 10.10 - segment 1

10.10 to 10.20 - segment 2

10.20 to 10.30 - segment 3

10.30 to 10.40 - segment 4

10.40 to 10.50 - segment 5

10.50 to 11.00 - segment 6

 

Each segment represents one chunk of time at one 6th of your hourly rate which is charged to the client and paid to you.

 

Provided a segment has activity AND (!) a screenshot was taken, that segment will be billed and paid.

 

To make things easy, fair, and transparent for both yourself and the client it is good practice to always start work towards the beginning of the first segment of your session, and work until the end of the last segment.

 

If you, for example, start at 10.07 there WILL be a screenshot before 10.10 - so the 10.00 to 10.10 segment gets billed. If the next screenshot comes at 10.12 then the 10.10 to 10.20 segment gets added and so on.

 

It evens out, but if you (like me) like a nice tidy work diary with nice full activity bars, then the way to achieve that is the "beginning of first segment to end of last segment" way of working. That way you are paid for what you worked, and the client gets the time they pay for.

 

 

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Ace Contributor
Leonida U Member Since: Mar 20, 2017
10 of 10

Thank you so much!

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