How do you time track?


Brandon Checketts has a question, one frankly I am not equipped to answer since I don’t do projects based on time and also I am not a software developer like many of our readers. Hopefully the community can provide the input and help Brandon out.

I’ve just quit a full time job to do freelance work. I’ve been doing it for about a month now and enjoying it tons. However, I’m often in the middle of 3 or 4 projects, and am having a difficult time tracking where my time is being spent. I’m wondering what time-tracking software, applications, or methods others are using.


Richard White

Well Tom saved me from having to do my elevator pitch for SlimTimer, thank you very much. Also, thanks for the compliment, I do try to stay on in close touch with the user community. And no I don’t plan to charge for the existing feature set.



I use Linux, so I found a great open source app called Gnotime. I’ve also tried the open source project management tool that comes with Fedora Planner. If you’re like me and concerned with Windows issues, you may find these helpful.

Tom is really great… FREE, opens up in Sidebar on FF and IE (by far the best feature), lots of customization, but does not break down anything into Client/Case/Matter like some do. And the developer is really engaged with the community, so he responds to emails and bug requests within HOURS. Really great product, hopefully they wont be charging anytime soon (or will keep the price reasonable)

Derek Organ

Time tracking can be a very broad term. If your a single entity, e.g. a freelancer then slimtimer looks and works great but if your a small company I think 1time is much more suitable. The automatic reminders makes it really easy to track employee and project time. Just my 2 cents.


I use a combination of basecamp and SlimTimer.

For each project in basecamp create a task in SlimTimer. When you switch projects hit start in SlimTimer.

Drew Loika

I’ve been using for freelance for the last 4 months quite successfully. The reports leave a bit to be desired (definitely good enough to add to invoices though) and the time tracking interface is beautiful in its simplicity and functionality.


I’ve used TraxTime for ages and find its simplicity perfect for my time tracking needs.

Just punch in and out on the different projects and it handles time tracking for you. Also easy to adjust if you forget to punch in/out.

Then run a report to summarise the totals on different projects, and plug that into whatever billing system you use.


I wrote a simple script that pops up every hour during 9am – 6pm and just has a simple dialog box. I enter the Activity, Client, Hours, and Tags, all comma seperated. It then appends that entry to a .csv file I have with a date stamp.

Then, I don’t have to remember to turn on or off some tracking software. It just pops up and asks me what I did for the past hour. I enter it and move on. Then at the end of the month, I can just open the file in Excel or whatever and get my billable hours for the month. Works great for me because I need to be reminded.

I was inspired by this post so I uploaded the script to my site, where you can download it if you want (mac only)




actually don’t use time tracking. I tend to work for a few weeks on a project, and I don’t bill my clients by the hour usually, so I don’t track my time either. I know how much I work (2 days, 4 days, ..), and I agree a fee per project before it starts. I might be unusual in that, it probably depends on how you work.

Brandon Checketts

Thanks of all of the quick comments. I’m signing up for a few of those trials now and am hoping to find one that suits my needs. I hop back and forth between projects a lot, so I’m hoping to find one that effectively allows me to have several “projects” open at once and divy up each hour into several projects.

Mike Higginbottom


If you’re looking for something quick and simple that actually lives on your desktop, doesn’t use Ajax or require a browser and lets you just get on with working then try out Corda from my web site. No sign up required. Totally free. Unless you happen to be feeling generous and all loved up, in which case there’s a PayPal donate button.




If you want to host a basecamp like web service on your server, check out ActiveCollab. It is an open source “clone” of Basecamp. We are using it in our company and it is pretty good for a pre 1.0 version.

Kevin Finn

There are a lot of great solutions out there.

Tick (
SlimTimer (
Harvest (
88 Miles (

Of course there are many others as well… I personally prefer Tick – but I’m completely biased ;-)

Best advice I can give you is to take a few minutes and try them all out. I’m sure there is one that will fit your needs.

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