7 Time Tracking Tools To Help You Manage Your Time

By Alyssa Gregory

time trackingKeeping track of time spent on client work can be difficult, especially if you have multiple projects going on at one time. And if you’re like me, moving from project to project throughout the course of the day, it’s virtually impossible unless you have a system in place.

Even if you’re not billing per hour on a project, it can be invaluable to track your time. Knowing how long everything takes you:

  • Makes your estimates more accurate
  • Allows you to have a consistent way to track the time of subcontractors or employees
  • Provides a documented accounting of your time should you ever need it
  • Helps you improve your personal productivity

Here are seven time tracking tools to help you manage your time more effectively:

timetracker1. Time Tracker
This is a fairly simple but very functional timer. You can create multiple projects and have multiple tasks for each project. It’s easy to use with the punch-in and punch-out feature, and it’s free. For Mac OS X 10.4+.

2. Easy Time Tracking
Easy Time Tracking is a very robust application that offers time tracking and a lot more. It has the ability to generate invoices, manage multiple projects and tasks, and create reports. It also supports multiple users with access to the same accounts.

bill4time3. Bill4Time
Bill4Time is a web-based tool that incorporates billing, project management and even integrates with your accounting software. It provides mobile access and a desktop widget so you can track your time wherever you are.

4. TraxTime
This Windows-based time tracker offers multi-project management, custom reports and the ability to add a memo to each time entry. You can also customize a number of options including billing codes, military time and time increments.

harvest5. Harvest
Harvest creates a workflow that manages your time, logs expenses, and creates invoices. It’s web-based and free for one user and up to three projects.

6. DOVICO Timesheet
Created mainly for managing employee timesheets and expenses, this web-based application integrates with a few project management tools and can also be installed on your own server.

fanurio7. Fanurio
This time tracking and billing application was developed for freelancers. It’s a multi-platform desktop app that also produces a number of reports so you can analyze your time across the board.

Many project management and accounting applications also have built-in timers, so you may want to see what you already have and start there. There are also other free tools available and many of the paid applications provide a free trial so you can test them out before making a purchase. So give a few a try and see what fits your workflow the best.

  • Todd Budnikas

    Would strongly recommend Toggl. I’ve been using it for a few years now with great success.

  • I’ll add Tick to this list. I’ve used it for a couple years now and still love it. There’s a Dashboard widget (and a Yahoo! widget for Windows users) with a timer, and there’s a free plan. It’s also got a simple reporting UI, CSV data export, a developer API, Basecamp integration, etc.

    • Someone on Twitter just recommended Toggl, too, so two back-to-back plugs must mean something. And I’ll have to check out Tick, too. Thanks for the suggestions!

  • dangebhardt

    I’m one of the developers of LiveTimer.com, an online time and expense tracking service with flexible classifications and billing rates, multiple currency support, detailed start / end time logging, a developers’ API, and more. Please check out what our users have to say about us. Thanks!

  • Neil Hinrichsen

    Have a look at yaTimer – beautiful interface, nice reporting.

  • Bee

    I would recommend also paymo, from http://www.paymo.biz
    It has a desktop application for windows or mac, uses google gears to store time where internet connection is available… you can give it a try, it’s cool

  • Sascha

    I’ve been using SLIMTIMER for some time now. Its free.

  • dev_cw

    I have been using a free app called timeEdition (mac/pc). It is developed by the makers of MAMP, the desktop server. At first it was a commercial application but now it is free. http://www.timeedition.com/

  • dev_cw

    Toggl looks very good. My problem with time (and project) management is the effort it takes to keep up on it.

    • The effort is certainly part of the challenge. What works best for me is keeping my time tracking and project management separate. I need a simple, quick and offline app that lets me jump from project to project, without logging in or dealing with anything else that may slow me down (I currently use Time Tracker). Then I input my time into a project management system. I am actually in the process of migrating to a new PM app, which has a timer and I’ll probably give it a try. But PM is a whole different ball game to me, although I think finally found the “near-perfect” solution! Maybe I’ll talk about some of the PM apps I tested in a future post.

  • Another vote for Toggl. I went from in-house in an industry where multitasking is the norm and clock-watching is greatly looked-down-upon to freelance, and keeping track of time was one of the hardest adjustments for me. Toggl lets me keep track of multiple projects for multiple clients, and made it all much easier.

  • Chris_haddad

    In my experience, I haven’t been able to find something that truly worked out that was computer-based in any fashion. I’ve been using the Emergent Task Timer from Printable CEO with great success for the last three months, and haven’t had a single moment of “what was I doing at the time?”
    Now if only I could submit these directly for my time, instead of having to spend an hour each month submitting to our corporate time/expense tracker.

  • Another web based, easy to use time tracking applicaiton for teams;

    1time – http://1timetracking.com

    Give me a shout if you need any more information on it.


  • I have used SlimTimer for a while. IMHO it’s very good.

  • Jade Ohlhauser

    I like Cashboard – cashboardapp.com

  • Gregory,I have translated this wonderful blog into chinses,to share your wisdom with chinese-speaking peaple.Thamks.
    Here http://www.shke.info/post/7timetracker.html

  • Morris T

    as one of the founders of Bill4Time Time & Billing software I just want to say thanks for the review! We also offer a free version for 1 user called Bill4Time Free.

  • John

    Another great time tracking tool for the small business is Intervals. It combines time tracking with other project management features for companies who need a more comprehensive app.

  • Edwyn

    We were using Excel Timesheet Templates, but then my company switched to dovico timesheet software (www.dovico.com) that you mentioned above and thats working great. It has a lot of functionality (although I am still learning it all) and easy to use.

  • Randall_S

    I’ll add a shoutout for the ClickTime Web Timesheet. It’s powerful and good for distributed teams. We tried Harvest and found it very cool, but the QuickBooks connection was too primitive. ClickTime works very well with QuickBooks for both time and expenses, and that’s what cinched it for us. We also looked at Replicon and FunctionFox – not our cup of tea but well worth a look.

  • xxparanormalxx
  • xxparanormalxx

    wow, my first post and i screwed it up. meant to close the anchor tag. i guess i can’t modify once it’s posted.

  • xxparanormalxx

    fanurio came the closest to the standards billings has set for me. paymo is nice as well.
    i’ve tried many of the listed as well as comments added. don’t like most of them. either interface is too clunky and to make it worst, monthly recurring fees!! sure it’s accessible online but the interfaces were not simple enough.
    hands down, i still give it to billings. billings3.com

  • What about SmartPay, at http://www.GoSmartPay.com? I have an accountant do my invoices, but I’m thinking about switching to electronic billing. I’ve been looking at these suggestions, but I’m having some trouble comparing them — not familiar enough with the options, I guess.
    What criteria do experienced users recommend?

  • Haiming

    I would strongly suggestion another resource:
    Pacific Timesheet
    Pacific Timesheet is web-based timesheet software that provides payroll, project, job costing, time and attendance features in one system. Other modules include automated approvals, billing and pay rates, time-off scheduling, custom reporting, iPhone timesheet, IVR integration, time clock integration and DCAA compliant. We support all major operating systems and browsers. It is available in license or ASP/online.

  • Alex

    Xpenser also added time tracking recently, lets you record billable time from email, sms, im, twitter, etc. I’m using it with GTalk from inside Gmail, really working well for me.

  • Daniela

    Xpert-Timer is also a good choice. It’s based on MS-SQL which I like much better than having my data saved outside my office. The timebar, which is floating on my desktop always reminds me of the projekt I’m working on right now. There’s an invoicing module planned for this summer. It’s worth a try! The software is made in Germany, but the support is fluent in english.

  • Amir

    Shame, the article has a twitt functionality to twitt eh article, but the twitt is 25 characters too long so can’t be twitted!

  • John

    Also check out Intervals, another great time tracking tool built by a web dev/design agency.

  • Kirk

    I use FreshBooks and it is amazing. It’s also free if you only have a few clients. Highly recommended and have gotten positive feedback from my clients on the invoicing, time tracking etc…

  • I would like to recommend OroTimesheet for time tracking and invoicing.
    It is really easy to use and very affordable.
    It helps me keep track of the time I spend on each project. I can easily create an invoice from my timesheets. I used many timesheet software over the years and this one is my favorite.

    It is free to try so make sure to visit the company’s website at http://www.orologic.com/

  • I would like to recommend OroTimesheet for time tracking and invoicing.
    It is really easy to use and very affordable.
    It helps me keep track of the time I spend on each project. I can easily create an invoice from my timesheets. I used many timesheet software over the years and this one is my favorite.

    It is free to try so make sure to visit the company’s website at http://www.orologic.com/

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