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Summary:

Many web workers work on numerous projects simultaneously, and some serve various masters. If these descriptions fit you, consider looking into some of the free time-tracking applications available online. These can give you much more perspective on how you are actually spending your time, and allow […]

Many web workers work on numerous projects simultaneously, and some serve various masters. If these descriptions fit you, consider looking into some of the free time-tracking applications available online. These can give you much more perspective on how you are actually spending your time, and allow you to keep records of the time you’re spending on this task or that.

My favorite of the free, online time-tracking applications is 88miles. The free version of it lets you set up projects and record the time you’re putting in on them. You can also generate many kinds of reports.

If you work on many projects at once and do so on a mobile basis, look into myHours. This free application lets you use your cell phone or PDA to track time with a version called myHours Mobile.

If you want your time-tracking application to be online and on-demand, consider Sidejobtrack. It not only lets you track your time from anywhere you can access a browser, but it has invoicing, reporting and project management features.

Finally, sometimes you want to track your time for business purposes such as billable hours, but it can be eye-opening to track your time purely for your own purposes. I’ve written before about a Firefox extension that I like called MeeTimer. It sits in your Firefox tray, and observes what you do with your online time, using categories such as Procrastination, Search and more to be specific. This is a good way to give yourself a bracing slap if you start procrastinating or surfing for fun.

No fun! Have a good weekend.

Do you know of any good time-tracking apps?

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  1. I like the Adobe AIR app Klok, http://klok.mcgraphix.com/klok/index.htm.

    It’s free, works as a desktop application [so you're still tracking time even while offline], allows pretty advanced project-management features and exports hours to spreadsheet.

    I also like how it hangs out in a “minimized” view, showing what project I’m working on and how long I’ve been at it. Kind of reminds me to get back on it if I’ve wandered off (:

    Another thing I had tried was Freshbooks’ time-tracking OS X widget, but it’s just too heavy a solution to switch all my employers and clients to a new billing system just for the sake of a timetracker. Nice widget, nonetheless.

  2. These posts consistently leave out Harvest (www.getharvest.com). I love my Harvest account and they continue to add new features, including a great iPhone interface. Get Harvest!

  3. Marina Martin Friday, May 30, 2008

    I’ve never been a big fan of time tracking apps — seemed to have to put more time into maintaining them! — but I love Rescue Time (http://www.rescuetime.com).

    It tracks what you’re doing on your computer (down to specific Firefox tabs) and lets you tag each site/program with keywords of your choice. For example, I tag Terminal and Taco HTML Edit as “web dev.” The neat feature is that you can set it to SMS alert you if you go past your set goal — say if you’re spending too much time on Google Reader or reading Gawker.

  4. I’ve been using PayMo for the past several months and, overall, am quite happy with the product — Plus, it’s free for freelances or any group of three or less. It’s got both a web-based and a desktop client timer and allows me to categorize time exactly the way I need to (client/project/task).

    The reporting functions could be a bit more robust, but the software is still being developed, so I expect it to keep me quite happy for a lot of time to come!

  5. Hi Samuel,

    Fanurio http://www.fanuriotimetracking.com is another tool designed for home offices. It helps with the less appealing aspects of freelancing like invoicing and keeping track of time. It’s a useful application, with a user-friendly interface.

  6. Jean-Francois Arseneault Saturday, May 31, 2008

    Lately, I’ve adopted Cashboard (http://www.getcashboard.com/) after having tried every single desktop/web-based solution on my iMac. CB is no-nonsense, has a free option (less than 2 projects), and is fast/simple/updated. Highly recommended.

  7. It might be helpful to note that SideJobTrack doesn’t accept new applications.

  8. 88miles is not free. Pretty cool, but a fee service (unless you think the trial limit of 40 hrs/month is workable).

  9. I work at an interactive agency, which makes time tracking a must. I could have 4-20 jobs that I touch every week, and we need to bill time out appropriately.

    Along with Alana Post, I’m a huge fan of Klok. I don’t find myself using the minimize function very much, because I want to keep it full-size in a week-at-a-time view. This is the only time tracking app I’ve been able to find that actually lets you define which projects you’ve been working on visually instead of with a bunch of numbers. I’ll often get my Outlook calendar open on one monitor with Klok open on the other and take some time to sync them up. Plus, I can schedule blocks of project time for upcoming meetings, events, or vacation I’m already aware of.

    The export to Excel is a simple drag-and-drop motion, and it’s actually a boss-ready report, completely understandable as-is. I have to enter my time into Peoplesoft, which uses the same project rows with day columns, so I’ll set up my time sheet with the projects in the same order as my Klok export. Fill in the grid identically, and I’ve got my weekly timesheet set – minimal thinking required.

    Two things I wish Klok had (and I hope they’re listening):

    1. The ability to sort the display order of projects, if only by project name.

    2. A way to set a default day start time. Currently, the week view always starts days at 12am, so I have to scroll down a bit to get to my business day.

  10. Aš žinau, ką dariau vakar (skaičiuojam laiką) : nežinau.lt Monday, June 2, 2008

    [...] į skaičiuoklės formatą, o sumažinta rodo paskutinio projekto eigą. Klok trūkumai, pažymėti Web Worker Daily apžvalgos komentaruose – negalėjimas rūšiuoti projektus ir darbo dienos pradžia nuo vidurnakčio. :) [...]

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