A simple, precise command-line based time tracker

pip install tt-time-tracker==1.0.4


tt - A command-line based time tracker

tt is a small stateful command line time tracking application implemented in Python. Simple basic usage looks like this:

$ tt start my-project 14:15
$ tt note 'Got the business folk to talk to IT. Went well.'
$ tt stop now

Alternatively you can skip the colon when entering times:

$ tt start my-project 0915
$ tt stop 1020

tl;dr Installing using pip

What is tt?

tt is a simple command line time tracker. It is based on ti, by Shrikant Sharat and Trevor Bekolay and is written in Python. ti is in turn inspired by both timed, and the elegantly simple t.

As opposed to its predecessor ti, tt is mostly aimed at cli versed IT consultants or other professionals who need to precisely keep track of their time spent working on multiple projects and issue customer invoices based on their entries.

Logical structure

tt is made up of two main logical modules:

  • the actual time tracking module, that handles creation and editing of time entries (the C and U in CRUD).
  • the reporting module, which handles the evaluation of already entered time information (the R in CRUD).

Time boxes

tt enables the user to record their effort in the form of time segments or time boxes.

A time box is defined by:

  • a name
  • a starting point
  • an end point
  • optional notes


$ tt start my-project 14:15
$ tt note 'Twas an extremely difficult call we had this afternoon'
$ tt stop 18:00

Stateful time box definition

Another, somewhat hidden dimension is the current date - or day - which is implicitly today, your machine's current date, unless explicitly overriden by using the environment variable TT_CURRENT_DAY:

$ export TT_CURRENT_DAY="2023-08-30" 
# note the ISO formatting
# any tt commands issued in between here and the unset command 
# will refer to the 30th of August 2023

$ tt start future-task 00:00
$ tt note "Hoverboarding isn't what it used to be"
$ tt note "Also, I'm probably sleeping right now"
$ tt stop 07:00


Statefulness++ for your convenience

In addition to the implied current date, tt saves the outcome of any successful command you've issued in a centralised JSON file. This means that there is only one state of tt for your entire user session. You can start a time box in one terminal window, add notes to it in another one and finalise the time box in a third terminal.

The location of the time entry database can be specified via the environment variable SHEET_FILE. The default location is ~/.tt-sheet.json.

To make your custom DB location persistent, just add the following line to your ~/.bashrc as demonstrated here:

export SHEET_FILE=/home/johnson/timesheets/time-entries.json

Please consider backing up this file regularly, so as to avoid any data loss.

To correct erroneous entries, you can either edit this file directly or, alternately, use tt's built-in edit function.

You can process the data from the time entry DB with any tool of your choosing. tt provides you with some basic reporting that might or might not make sense for your purpose.


Adding a new time box:

$ tt start fav-customer 12:15
Started working on fav-customer at 12:15.

$ tt status
You have been working on fav-customer for about 2 hours, since 12:15;
It is now 14:12.

$ tt stop now
So you stopped working on fav-customer.

start and stop can take a time argument of the form HH:mm, HHmm or the keyword now at which to apply the action. They store the times normalized to GMT in the database, taking into account the DST values for your timezone.

Therefore beware when editing the timestamps in the DB file directly - this type of time arithmetic gets brainfucky really quickly and you will probably cock it up!

Enhance your time box with notes and tags:

The note and tag commands only work if an active (open) time box exists, i.e. if the stop command hasn't been invoked yet:

$ tt note "implement new user authentication"

Tag your activity for added reportability:

$ tt tag private

Change entries:

By setting a default text editor (console or gui-based) in the environment variable EDITOR, you can easily correct mistakes. Just add the following line, referencing your favourite text editor to your ~/.bashrc and enable fast time entry correction.

$ export EDITOR=vim
$ tt edit

This will open your time entry DB using the specified editor in the handy YAML format. Once you save your changes and exit the file, the changes will be persisted back into your SHEET_FILE.

See your entries:


Get a log of all activities with the log (or l) command:

$ tt log


Get a list of all your individual log entries in CSV format, so that they can be imported into your favourite spreadsheet editor

$ tt csv

$ tt csv | grep 2018-01 ### will show all entries you logged in January 2018

$ tt --no-color csv | grep 2018-01 > /tmp/jan-2018.csv ;
libreoffice /tmp/jan-2018.csv

The last command allows you to break out of the console and takes you into the realm of spreadsheets. The --no-color parameter makes sure that the terminal's color markup does not end up in your csv file.


Get a report for your project, grouped and summed up by day:

$ tt report customeur

$ tt report customeur | grep 2018-10

$ tt --no-color report customeur | grep 2018-10 > /tmp/oct-2018.csv ; libreoffice /tmp/oct-2018.csv

Same trick applies here. Beware that the CSV separator is in this case the pipe symbol |, since semicolons are used for concatenating all the different note entries into one big note field per day.


Doublecheck your entries per month and gain an overview of your effort throughout the month. No more blindspots.

When calling calview with one parameter, the application assumes you want to have the calendar view for the supplied month and the current year.

$ tt calview 7

Specifying a different year for calview is done like so:

$ tt calview 1 2054

This last command will show you the working days of January 2054.

And here's some example output:


There is no proper validation of time entries as of now:

  • should your end time be before your starting time, this will be reflected in your reporting. As of version 1.0.3, the end time needs to be after the start time of the timebox.
  • should the timeboxes defined for various projects overlap, this will be reflected in your reporting.

Installing using pip

Executing the following command should get you up and running:

$ python3 -m pip install tt-time-tracker

Before you start using it, make sure you have your environment set up - the location of the time entry database and the editor - by adding the appropriate environment variables to your ~/.bashrc or similar.

export EDITOR='vim'
export SHEET_FILE='/home/johnson/timesheets/time-entries.json'

Make sure you replace the values with ones that make sense to you.

Installing from source

After having checked out the sources by cloning this repo, change into the new folder and execute the setup script.

$ git clone
$ cd tt/
$ python3 clean install

And you're ready to roll.

Now make sure you add the two export statements to your ~/.bashrc, in order to have full control over tt.

export SHEET_FILE='/home/johnson/timesheets/time-entries.json' 
export EDITOR='kate'

Obviously: replace the values of the parameters with ones that make sense for you.


If you merely want to test your code changes live, you don't really need to "install" the program on your system. You can instead just execute the file with the arguments of your choosing:

$ ###assuming you are in the correct folder - the one where is located
$ python3 start my-awesome-project now


Remolded into tt by @dribnif

Based on ti originally created by Shrikant Sharat (@sharat87), and maintained by (@tbekolay).


MIT License