Effectively Track Your Computer Time (And Bill For It!) With Chrometa
<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/chrometa-title.jpg”>For any web-warrior who spends the majority of their time working at a computer, the ability to track your time is crucial. Both from a productivity standpoint and from a billable hours standpoint, the ability to capture your working time is very important for the business. There are lots of time tracking applications available so let’s find out what makes Chrometa stand out from the pack and why you might want to use it.
At the heart of the Chrometa 2.0 time tracking application is a desktop service built upon a Java framework. You can download it today for Windows and they are working on a Mac version which should be released within a month or so.
Chrometa 2.0 has been out for a while now, however the developer recently dropped the $99 price tag. You can now receive a free license key for Chrometa 2.0 at this location. The license key works with version 2.0 of Chrometa which is available for download here.
After installing the software (and any necessary Java components), Chrometa will launch and start collecting usage data on your machine. Ignore it for a day and go about your normal business activities. After you come back, you will see a screen with your most frequently used programs.
After you use it for a few days, you will start to see some trends emerging. Categorizing your applications will allow you to break apart the time you use for projects or personal use. This can then allow you to bill for that time where you might not have kept accurate time previously for that project.
Privacy is always a concern with time tracking applications. Chrometa has this covered by allowing you to clear your private data or even password protect the Chrometa interface. This is good for two reasons: the first is that you can prevent prying eyes from seeing what you are doing, or if you are a business owner or manager you can install the software on your employee’s PC to see what they are doing without giving them the ability to remove their tracking data.
It will also ask you to enter your time when you are idle at your computer for a certain amount of time. This could be because you are on the phone with a client (paid) or were out to lunch (not) so it is important to track this information as well.
All said, Chrometa is a great free time tracking application which you should use if you want to have an automated way to track where you spend your time. A very similar program is RescueTime, which we have mentioned in the past. The main difference that I see between these two pieces of software is that Chrometa is completely offline, which for someone interested in privacy may be a very attractive option.
Chrometa also has some other options available if you are able to pay for a monthly subscription. They have just released their web-based software app which starts at $19 per month. They have introduced some new features including splitting categories into clients and projects, adding billing information directly into the program, and more.
The web interface is very similar to the offline app with the exception that it is available anywhere online.
With all of that being said, Chrometa 2.0 (desktop version) is a very capable time tracking application that would work well if you are interested in tracking personal time or time to be billed for a business. If you are interested in some of the billing features, you may want to check out the web app (not free) but it is well worth it if you can recover previously unbilled time. If you just need to track time on the web and in applications, the free version (Chrometa 2.0) works just as well.
Let us know if you have any other preferred time tracking applications or interesting uses you have found for Chrometa!
Image Credit: harshlight
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