Getting things done on a computer is tricky business; your productive apps sit right next to the ones that make you unproductive, and occasionally, the one app you need to use to get work done is the very same app that distracts you, i.e., your browser. This is precisely why you need task managers – to stay organized, and to force yourself to work when you really don’t want to. Chaperone is a free Mac app that lets you record tasks by projects, and define which apps you need to complete a given task. Once started, the app monitors your usage of the app(s) and tells you when the allotted task time is over. To help you in being more productive, Chaperone lets you set the task time at the beginning, but doesn’t allow you to modify it afterwards.
The app adds an eye-like icon to the menu bar, which you can employ to add tasks and pause or end them, in addition to accessing the app’s preferences. Click the app’s icon and select Start A New Task… Enter the task’s name and create a project for it. Use the plus button to add apps that you will use to complete this task. From the Task Timer slider, select how long you think it will take to complete this task.
Remember that you cannot come back and change it, so give yourself a somewhat-generous deadline if you can. Once added, click Start, and the app will begin tracking your work. You can pause the task if you like.
By default, if you are not actively using one of the apps associated with a task for over 1 minute, the app will assume you have stopped working on this task. You can change this time interval from the app’s preferences. What it means is, you cannot just leave an app running in the background and expect it to count as work. If you check the Ignore Switching to Finder option, the app will not consider you away from the task when you work in a Finder window.
Once a task is completed, Chaperone notifies you. You can chose to end the task, dismiss the notification or extend the time you want to spend on it. Past tasks, and the time spent on them, can be viewed by selecting the View Past Tasks option from the menu bar icon.
While the app strictly does not allow you to edit the time for a task once it has been set, it would have been a better to have an option for editing the apps associated with a task, something we hope will be included in the next releases of Chaperone.