img class=”align-left” style=”border: 0px none; margin-left: 20px; margin-top: 5px; float: right;height:190px” src=”http://www.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/TSHEad.png” border=”0″ alt=”free time tracking software” />Do you do consulting? Do you work in a freelance capacity from time to time? Well then you know how hard it is to keep track of the time you spend on individual projects and sub-projects.
I used to find that a big chunk of my day was devoted to tracking and reporting on my progress and time spent on tasks.
Now I found a little free time tracking software application called TimeSheet. The small 1.6MB download should not fool you. It is a very powerful and useful application which has made my life MUCH easier.
After a quick installation you will see a new icon on your system tray. If you hover your mouse over the icon you will get a learning mode, add rule, pop-up window like the one below:
You can see it knows the app I am working in and the title of the app window. Now by altering my workflow slightly I can track what site I am writing for. All I have to do is add a temporary keyword to the post’s title to have TimeSheet automatically calculate my time for each site.
I add a MUO to the title of my post or an askTheAdmin.com to designate which site I am writing for. Then when I mouse over the TimeSheet system tray icon I can set a rule like so:
You need to add a keyword to the The Application Title Contains box and then add a project name. I find that it is helpful to use the same word for both. The application will then prompt you to create the project.
If you open the main program’s window you will see it is now tracking your project as well as the default task. I like to leave default in there so I can have a baseline for how long I am actually working. This helps me put the numbers into perspective.
Now if I was doing some network documentation for another client I could tag that window as well. For example:
I started my file name with my “Code” and then I filled in the learning module add rule wizard appropriately like so:
Any application you will work on for a given customer only needs to be set up once and then the TimeSheet free time tracking software can do its magic. We can check all of our existing rules by clicking on the rules menu item on the main window like so:
That will bring up this window:
From in there you can modify or add a rule manually. Now we will take a look at our built in reporting features by clicking on the report menu item right next to the rules item that we clicked on previously:
You can break down the reports into a daily timesheet or specify by project and drill down into more specifics. The best part is that you can export to Excel so you can submit detailed timesheets to your customer with your invoices. To do this just click the Excel button at the top of your report screen.
How do you keep track of the time you spend on individual clients? We would love to hear from you in the comments! We have also covered a nifty Adobe Air free time tracking software app that does time and expense tracking as well as timesheets. You can check that out here.