My inaugural blog for the Society for Technical Communication, published 11 February, reviewed the excellent second edition of What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants. But why should you, especially if you are an employee, care about charging for your work? As I wrote in the blog, author Laurie Lewis suggests that we should “log every activity on every project and then mine those logs to understand more clearly how long the tasks of a prospective project might take.” I would argue that freelancers and employees alike need to know how long our work activities take so that we can provide valid estimates of future work when asked. Knowing how long tasks can take could help us prove to a boss or client why it is impossible for us or anyone to meet unrealistic goals. Never an early adopter, I have been using my kitchen timer while performing many of my work activities and then capture my time on scraps of paper or Excel spreadsheets. Several of my freelance friends have suggested a better way―digitally capturing time using time-tracking software. I did my due diligence and researched some programs on the market, spending 2 hours and 22 minutes (according to my kitchen timer). I’ve narrowed my own options to Category 1 below, and I include the others categories that I found so that you, too, might know what your options are if you should want to track your time digitally.   Four main types of time-tracking software
  1. Standalone―used only to record timesheets and generate reports
    1. http://slimtimer.com (free cloud)
    2. http://www.epiforge.com/Grindstone/ (free desktop, away detection, team option [$])
    3. www.pcfworks.com VeriTime Time Tracker (free desktop [shareware], Pro version $)
    4. www.spudcity.com/traxtime/ TraxTime (desktop $, free trial, Windows-based only)
  2. Integrated into accounting system―timesheet data feeds into company accounts
    1. http://quickbooks.intuit.com/ Quickbooks (desktop Mac and Windows, $, payroll)
    2. www.springahead.com/ SpringAhead (cloud, $, free demo, payroll)
    3. Freshbooks.com/ Freshbooks (cloud, mobile, free trial, $, invoicing and accounting)
  3. Integrated into billing system―used to generate invoices, especially used by contractors and professionals such as lawyers
    1. www.easyprojects.net (cloud, 15-day free trial, $ to purchase based on # of users, invoicing, reports)
    2. www.getklok.com Klok (Klok Cloud Sync for Mobile, Klok Mobile, Klok Desktop) (cloud and desktop, $, free trial)
    3. www.myintervals.com, Intervals (cloud, $ to purchase based on # of users, free trial, invoicing)
    4. www.bill4time.com (cloud, free trial, $, mobile app)
    5. www.getharvest.com (cloud, $ subscription, free trial, add contractors, Mac app)
    6. www.officetime.net OfficeTime (Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, desktop, $, free trial)
    7. www.nchsoftware.com/ HourGuard Timesheet Software (Mac, PC, $, free trial, several components can be bundled)
  4. Integrated into project management systems
    1. http://www.dovico.com/ Dovico Timesheet (cloud; free for one subscription, $ for more, free trial, mobile app)
    2. www.paymo.biz, Paymo (desktop, mobile, cloud; online invoices, free for one user, $ for more)
You’ll find an interesting matrix of time-tracking software on Wikipedia (it reviews many other programs not listed above). And now I’d like to ask you to help with this research. If you have used any of the time-tracking software above or any other similar product, please share your experience by answering my one-question survey. (Or you could just comment below, if you wish.) I’ll share your helpful comments in a follow-up blog and article. Elizabeth (Bette) Frick, PhD, ELS is president of The Text Doctor LLC in Boulder, CO. She teaches technical writing in corporations and edits medical documents. Bette is an STC Fellow and has been independent for 23 years.
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15 comments

  1. GiannaV.

    I think Worksnaps Time Tracking Tool (http://worksnaps.net) should be added on your list. Aside from exceeding expectations and hitting their millionth mark on terms of hours tracked, I have watched this company grow in such a short span of time. It has integrated with lots of popular software companies and thousands of users are now using it to accurately track time, improve productivity and make remote work more successful.

  2. Anastasia

    One more time-tracking application can be added to the list – actitime (http://www.actitime.com/). It has special add-on for importing working and leave time into QuickBooks Timesheet.
    Also it can be used for personal time tracking, full functional version is absolutely free for 3 users.
    Standalone and hosted versions are available.

  3. Annika

    I think you have left out the most widely used and loved time tracker – Toggl. It has Free plan and Pro plan. Pro plan is 5 $ per month/per user and it also has 30 day free trial.
    For basic time tracking and reporting, the Free plan is enough and it can be used for unlimited time. Give it a try!

  4. Arianna

    I tried a lot of time tracking web apps, then I settled on Timeneye (http://www.timeneye.com), which I find very simple and extremely useful if you are a Basecamp user, because it lets you track time commenting on completed to-dos.

    1. emma

      Thanks for this great post. Actually had been using Replicon’s hassle free timesheet software – http://www.replicon.com/ that is a wonderful tool and had no chance to review other such similar tools anytime.

  5. Jonathan

    ScheduSoft provide quite simply the best time tracking software available, hosting a number unique features, don’t let the others fool you!

  6. Jacob Frank

    I would like to add AccountSight to this list. It’s a cloud based online time tracking software with excellent features like multiple timesheet approvals, recurring invoices, easy upload of client signature for timesheet approval, rich dashboard etc. It has a great interface and easy to navigate between modules. I think it’s a great application for freelancers and small business owners.

    1. Bette Frick

      Thanks! It’s pricey, though, for an independent.

  7. Steve Freeman

    Hi

    I have been using eBillity time tracker software for several years. The set up was quick and when I had a question there is chat support waiting to assist me. A real person not a robot! It also syncs with Intuit’s Quickbooks, they got tons of 5 star reviews on Intuit!. Using the eBillity time tracking software has saved me a great deal of time and expenses.

    You should try it I’ve pasted a link to their website below!
    http://www.ebillity.com

    Regards
    Steve Freeman

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