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5 Best Time-Tracking Tools for Better Productivity


Time is money. Especially for freelancers, time is the element that determines how much you can get done in a day and sets your pay rate. To help you make the most of your time, there are a number of time-tracking tools available on the web. Some tools are created with remote teams in mind, others have been specifically designed for freelancers.

To help you identify the time-tracking app that suits you the best, I have tested lots of tools and selected the top five options for you. So, let us take a look into the best time-tracking apps which automatically track the time you actually spend on your work.

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DeskTime

desktime

DeskTime is the best time-tracking tool for remote teams. With this service, a manager can see who earned their paychecks and who spent working hours updating Facebook.

It tracks time and analyzes employees’ productivity in real-time. It sorts apps and websites used into categories: productive, unproductive, and neutral, and monitors who are using which app and for how long. It tracks mouse and keyboard clicks to see when an employee is working or having a break.

You can see advanced reports with graphs and sheets in real-time. You can take screenshots from every 5 minutes to every hour. It’s available on Windows, Mac, Linux and iPhone, and Android. I think it’s the best app to track not only time spent at work but the overall productivity of the user.

Pros
  • Suitable for managers and remote teams due to its peculiar features.
  • Has desktop version that works offline; (if the internet connection is lost, DeskTime will gather information locally until the connection is reestablished).
  • A premium tool with technical support.
  • You can create new project right from your desktop.
Cons
  • It does not track keyboard or mouse clicks, so you have to manually stop tracking when you need a break. If you forget to stop the timer, it will run automatically even if you’re gone.
  • The app does not work offline, and even the desktop version is attached to a browser.

TopTracker

top-tracker

TopTracker is completely free with no limits to the number of users, clients, or projects. It’s available as a desktop and web app. It is simple to work: just create a project, add team members, and start tracking your work.

TopTracker offers a lot of valuable features like timer screenshots, webcam shots, etc.; however, you can control how often the screenshots are taken and even add blur to screenshots if needed. Just set your parameters and get back to work.

TopTracker desktop version sits in the status bar for quick access. If you ever need a break – use “Stop Tracking” button. It has real-time summaries and reports to easily improve productivity.

Pros
  • Free, with no limit on users or projects.
  • Privacy features, like blurred screenshots.
Cons
  • It has no hotkeys to control desktop or web timer.
  • It counts some sites as neutral or social when they are actually sites for work, so you need to manually add sites in different categories for clearer results.

TMetric

tmetric

TMetric is a brand new free time-tracking app that would be useful for freelancers and small business owners. It has a simple, user-friendly interface and is not limited to a specific number of clients and projects.

You can edit your working hours, create new tasks, switch tasks, add tags to each task, and get detailed reports on tasks and projects you have. You’re also allowed to edit your tasks and time during the day and add break hours using the timeline.

Additionally, if you forget to stop the timer, it will remind you about it after 10 hours of a continuous session. TMetric can be easily integrated with a lot of task managers, such as Basecamp, Trello, Asana, Bitbucket, Bugzilla, GitHub, Jira, Producteev, Redmine, and more.

Pros
  • Completely free with no limits in users or clients.
  • Easy-to-use.
  • Easy to integrate with a number of services.
Cons
  • So far there is neither a mobile version nor a Linux version (it’s available for Windows only).
  • TMetric is an online app, so you should be connected to the internet to use it.
  • As TMetric is a new app, they have not so many features: only tracking time, adding projects and detailed reports.
  • You need to stop and start it manually.
  • It doesn’t have the option to take screenshots.
  • As per now, the desktop version is available only for Windows, other versions are going to be ready soon.

Freckle

freckle

Freckle is focused on simplifying the process of time-tracking. There is a timer inside, just like in any other app, but you can also add manual entries. To start a new task, you need to fill in the form with three things: deadline, project, and description. On the top of every page, you’ll find an entry bar.

Here you can select the date, define spent time, select project, and task use hashtags. The hashtag is something unusual when it comes to tracking time, but it makes it easier to find a project you need.

You can add unlimited projects and get powerful reports in PDF, Excel, and CSV. They have pricing plans for an organization ($199/mo), a team ($49/mo), and an enterprise ($499/mo).

Pros
  • Suitable for big companies and remote teams (new users, projects, clients, and managers can be added with ease.
  • Using hashtags make it easier to find tasks and projects.
  • It takes just 10 seconds to add a new client to the app.
Cons
  • They have quite unclear sales page
  • Using hashtags for tasks could be both advantageous and disadvantageous.
  • It’s not suitable for freelancers, as one-person plan costs $19 per month.
  • Freckle is a web app, so internet connection is required for its use. Also, there are no native apps available.

Tick

tickspot

If you’re confused by complicated pricing plans of other time trackers, Tick’s price depends on the number of projects you work on at a certain period of time. Thus, if you’re a one-project-at-a-time freelancer, you most probably will use the Tick app for free.

To start working with Tick, you need to specify the client, project, and task and start the timer. It has a helpful timecard with a calendar to see your time at one place. You can also count total project time and create bills. Their pricing plan ranges from $0 to $149, depending on the number of projects.

Tick integrates with Basecamp and QuickBooks and 400 more other web apps. It has detailed reports with filters: by a client or by a person. The timer in Tick will run in the background, working independently of what you do during the day: you can switch the tabs, even quit your browser. You can even set multiple timers and switch between them.

Pros
  • Simple pricing plan.
  • Perfect fit for one freelancer.
  • Price depends on the number of projects.
  • Can be integrated with lots of web apps.
  • It’s available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Apple Watch.
Cons
  • It would be quite pricey if you have too many projects.
  • It does not fit big companies with bigger teams and lots of projects, but it’s a perfect fit for an individual freelancer.

Conclusion

Each of the tools in this list has its own advantages and disadvantages. If one tool is full of useful features but is expensive, the other offers fewer features with affordable plans. It basically depends on your peculiar needs as to which tool works out best for you.

So, let us know in the comment section which time-tracking apps you use and why?

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