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Anyone who uses a computer for more than one hour a day can benefit from a time tracking app — whether you need to bill hours for work done at home Make, Send, & Track Invoices Quickly & Easily with Invoicely Make, Send, & Track Invoices Quickly & Easily with Invoicely Invoicely helps you through the entire invoicing process from start to finish. Read More , track your most productive times of day Discover Your Most Productive Hours with This Simple Method Discover Your Most Productive Hours with This Simple Method Build your perfect workday around your energy levels. This simple Excel spreadsheet and a few seconds of work each day could help you change your habits and get more done. Read More , or identify reasons why you aren’t being productive How To Be More Productive When Working From Home How To Be More Productive When Working From Home Is working from home (or to use the term – telecommuting) more productive than working from an office? The debate was re-ignited after Marissa Mayer's clarion call to all Yahoo employees. Just like all blah-blahs,... Read More .

The good news is, there are a ton of time tracking apps out there. The bad news is, do you have the time and energy to try all of them to see which ones’ work best for you? Even if you do, you’d rather spend that time and energy doing something else, right?

Here’s our look at some of the best apps on offer so that you can pick one depending on your needs. But first, if you aren’t convinced that you need one at all, let’s see how time tracking could help you.

4 Reasons to Start Tracking Time

1. Time tracking apps keep everyone honest. How long did it actually take you to finish that office task, write that novel, design that website, or create that mobile app? If you’re just depending on memory, you won’t just be wrong — you’ll be grossly wrong.

This is important when billing a client. You don’t want to bill them for more time than you actually worked, nor do you want to underestimate and get paid for fewer hours. And since most apps can export data, you can show proof of hours worked.

2. Time tracking apps keep you accurate and flexible. They take away the burden of having to maintain your own logs, reducing the likelihood of making mistakes when tallying your hours. Some apps require you to punch in and punch out, but that’s as difficult as it gets.

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Time Tracking Apps Collection and Recommendations

You’re also free to switch between tasks or projects at will. The app will effortlessly handle everything for you. And knowing how much time you actually spend on tasks will make you better at estimating how long future projects or tasks will take you.

3. Time tracking apps can help you identify which projects aren’t worth it. If you look through your logs and find that Project A is taking up 60% of your total time but only bringing in 30% of your total income, you could drop it and look for another client. The important thing is that the app can show you this imbalance.

4. Time tracking apps can help you realize if you’re working too hard 5 Signs That You're Working Too Hard (And How to Fix Them) 5 Signs That You're Working Too Hard (And How to Fix Them) Do you suffer from an insatiable desire to work? Here are some of the signs to recognize this ailment and how you can overcome it. Read More . If you’re consistently logging 60 hours when you thought you were only working 40 hours, that could explain why your job is so stressful and tiring Is Your Job Too Stressful? Here's Your Way Out Is Your Job Too Stressful? Here's Your Way Out It's never too early to move on from a stressful job. Becoming a freelancer can increase your satisfaction, creative freedom, and productivity. And it can be safer to be an independent contractor. Read More — or it could indicate workaholism. Either way, this realization is the first step towards a solution.

Convinced that a time tracking app could do well for you? Great! Here are our favorite recommendations, many of which are free.

1. Harvest

Time Tracking App Harvest

Harvest launched way back in 2006 but didn’t gain a lot of traction until a few years ago. Now, according to the company, Harvest is used in over 100 different countries and has tracked close to 1 billion total hours across its users.

Cost:

  • Free for 1 user with 4 clients and 2 projects.
  • $12/mo. for 1 user with unlimited clients and projects.
  • $49/mo. for 5 users with unlimited clients and projects.
  • $99/mo. for 10 users with unlimited clients and projects.
  • Extra users can be added at $10/mo. each.
  • 30-day free trial is available for any plan.

Notable Features:

  • Manual and automatic time tracking with one click.
  • Mark projects as billable or non-billable.
  • Built-in reporting features that show progress and targets.
  • Log expenses with Harvest’s camera snapping feature.
  • Create flexible invoices based on your tracked hours.
  • Integrate with 80+ apps like IFTTT, Slack, QuickBooks, etc.

Platforms Available: Web, Mac, Android, iOS

2. Toggl

Time Tracking App Toggl

Toggl is one of the most well-known time tracking apps available, and one could argue that modern time tracking apps owe their popularity to this app. In fact, anyone who isn’t using Harvest is most likely using Toggl — that’s how good it is.

Cost:

  • Free for 5 users with some feature limitations.
  • $10/mo. per user with minor feature limitations.
  • $20/mo. per user with near-zero feature limitations.
  • $59/mo. per user with all features and priority support.
  • 30-day free trial is available for any plan.

Notable Features:

  • Manual or automatic time tracking with one click.
  • Mark projects as billable or non-billable.
  • Built-in reporting features that show progress and targets.
  • Subdivide teams into departments, teams, and/or groups.
  • Timers work while offline and sync when you get back online.
  • Timers are synced across devices, so you can start on your computer and stop on your phone if you happen to walk away and forget to shut off the timer before leaving.

Platforms Available: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

3. RescueTime

Time Tracking App RescueTime

We highlighted RescueTime at the top of our list for best time tracking Mac software The Best Time Tracking Software for Mac OS X The Best Time Tracking Software for Mac OS X Where does the time go? Find out with these Mac time trackers. Read More and we still stand by that judgment. RescueTime is incredible for not just tracking how much time you spend on certain activities, but can prevent you from wasting time on distractions.

Cost:

  • Free for 1 user with basic features and reporting.
  • $9/mo. for 1 user with advanced features and reporting.
  • 14-day free trial is available.

Notable Features:

  • Must install the RescueTime app to your device.
  • Runs in the background and constantly tracks the currently active app or website.
  • Manage categories for apps and websites (e.g. “productive”, “distracting”, “work-related”, etc.).
  • Built-in reports that show your overall activity breakdown.
  • Advanced features include blocking websites at certain times, blocking websites if you spend too much time on them, logging offline activity time, and more.

Privacy Policy: The fact that RescueTime tracks all of your activity — you CAN set a time period for when this tracking occurs — may turn you away due to privacy reasons. Here’s everything that RescueTime tracks so you can make an informed decision to use it or not:

  • Application name
  • Window title
  • Website URL (can limit to certain domains)
  • Start time of use
  • End time of use
  • Operating system username (as dashboard identifier)
  • Computer machine name (as dashboard identifier)

In addition to that:

  • Tracking for specific activities can be ignored.
  • Tracking for adult-themed websites can be disabled.
  • Keystrokes, forms, screenshots are NEVER tracked.

Platforms Available: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android. (You must install the app on one of the non-Web platforms to start tracking activity on that platform, but the web dashboard lets you check your data from anywhere.)

4. LogMyHours

Time Tracking App LogMyHours

LogMyHours doesn’t have the easiest interface to learn, but it is clean and it does grow on you once you get used to the layout and organization of its features. It has one of the most helpful summaries I’ve seen and offers the most granularity in terms of how specific you can get when tracking activities.

Cost:

  • Free for 1 user with 4 clients and 2 projects.
  • $5/mo. per additional user with full features and synchronization.
  • 30-day free trial is available.

Notable Features:

  • Manual or automatic time tracking with one click.
  • Set hourly rates by project, by task, or by person.
  • Set budget limits on a project-by-project basis.
  • Set expense categories for non-hourly costs.
  • Built-in reporting features that show progress and targets.
  • Create flexible invoices based on your tracked hours.
  • Import data from Asana, Basecamp, FreshBooks, CSV, etc.

Platforms Available: Web, Android, iOS

5. PrimaERP

Time Tracking App PrimaERP

PrimaERP may not be the clearest or sexiest name for a time tracking app, but it’s pretty darn good at what it does. Its main selling points are the Attendance and Billing features that work in tandem with the Time Tracking feature, making this the perfect tool for managing big teams of freelancers.

Cost:

  • Attendance and Time Tracking features are free for 3 users.
  • $4/mo. per additional user with Time Tracking feature.
  • $9/mo. per 10 additional users with Attendance feature.
  • Billing feature is free for 1 user.
  • $4/mo. per additional user with Billing feature.

Notable Features:

  • Attendance lets you clock in and out for easy time tracking.
  • Time Tracking lets you see activity overviews and time reports.
  • Billing lets you create invoices based on tracked time.
  • View the entire team’s activity through Attendance.
  • Synchronizes all data to the cloud.
  • Integration with Basecamp, MS Exchange, Google Calendar, Zapier, and other apps.

Platforms Available: Web, Android, iOS

6. Freckle

Time Tracking App Freckle

Freckle is a more advanced option for teams that need more flexibility and power than any of the alternatives above. If you feel like Harvest, Toggl, or PrimaERP just aren’t enough, then Freckle may be for you. The interface is a bit hard on the eyes at first, but you’ll get used to it.

Note that most of Freckle’s features are designed with teams in mind, so even though there is a Solo plan that you can use, we don’t really recommend it (at least in terms of value) if your team has fewer than three members.

Cost:

  • $19/mo. for 1 user with all features.
  • $49/mo. for 5 users with all features and email support. Additional users are $10/mo. each.
  • $199/mo. for 25 users with all features and priority support. Additional users are $8/mo. each.
  • 14-day free trial available for any plan.

Notable Features:

  • Manual or automatic time tracking with one click.
  • View activity breakdowns by project, by team, or by person.
  • View overall activity summaries through the Pulse feature.
  • Create billable and non-billable tags and use them to mark each activity that you log.
  • Add expenses to projects for non-hourly costs.
  • Built-in reports are in-depth and informative.
  • Create invoices in multiple currencies based on tracked time.
  • Hourly backups so you never lose time, reports, or invoices.

Platforms Available: Web, Mac, iOS

7. Ding

Time Tracking App Ding

Ding is a simple, straightforward, beautifully minimal time tracker that doesn’t sacrifice any important features. It’s the perfect option if you think that Harvest, Toggl, LogMyHours, etc. are just too advanced or bloated for your needs. Ding isn’t free, but it’s easy.

Cost:

  • $10/mo. for 1 user with all features.
  • $25/mo. for 2 or more users with all features.
  • 45-day free trial is available.

Notable Features:

  • Manual or automatic time tracking with one click.
  • Mark projects as billable or nonbillable.
  • Set hourly rates by project.
  • Set time budget limits on a project-by-project basis.
  • Summary reports that show progress and totals.
  • Use comments on entries to describe tasks done.

Platforms Available: Web, Desktop, Mobile, iOS. (This means that the web app is perfectly usable whether you’re on a PC, a smartphone, or a tablet. However, if you want a dedicated app, there’s only one available for iOS.)

How Do You Track Your Time?

If you want to know why you never have money in your bank account, you need to start tracking every dollar The 6 Things You Need to Get Out of Debt Quickly The 6 Things You Need to Get Out of Debt Quickly Getting out of debt takes a lot of work, but if you know the right tools and strategies, you can get a big head start on becoming debt-free. Read More . In the same way, if you want to know why you never have enough time in the day, you need to start tracking every minute!

And remember that time tracking isn’t the be-all-end-all of productivity. It can help, but so can a few other tricks and tips, like using a good project management tool A Guide to Trello for Life and Project Management A Guide to Trello for Life and Project Management Trello can help you get organized. It's a free tool to manage any kind of project. Read this guide to understand its basic structure, the navigation, and how Trello can be useful to you. Read More or learning to overcome your productivity weaknesses 8 Timeless Tips for Freelancers Struggling with Productivity 8 Timeless Tips for Freelancers Struggling with Productivity For freelancers, there’s always more to do than the minutes in the day. Because everything is out to distract you, being productive is paramount. Here are eight timeless tips freelancers should always follow. Read More .

Do you track your time? If so, is it for business or personal reasons? And what kind of tools do you use to get it done? If you don’t track, what would get you to start? Share with us below!

Image Credit: Aaron Amat via Shutterstock

  1. Michael
    September 14, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I'd like to recommend TimeCamp to everyone who reads it, though it is not on this list, it still is a solid time tracking app that soon will be upgraded to a full-fledged project management software. It has a considerable amount of integrations and features. Best choice for small to middle-sized companies, but bigger businesses also use it.

    • Joel Lee
      September 20, 2016 at 12:39 am

      Cool, thanks for sharing Michael! Never heard of it before, but it looks nice. I'm glad the free version has unlimited tasks and projects for one user, and the pro versions are reasonably price.

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