If you work remotely and find it increasingly hard to manage your time productively, a time-tracking app can be an essential tool for getting more done. But which one should you choose?
What is a time-tracking app?
When you remember to use them, time-tracking tools do exactly what they sound like they will do – they track time.
The best of these solutions are cross-platform, work across all your main Apple devices, and can separate out different tasks.
There are also time-tracking solutions that integrate with other business systems, such as project/team management tools – enabling managers to achieve oversight of project completion and time-based costs.
Here, I’ve tried to only include cross-platform, app-based time tracking options with at least a Mac client. Those parameters limit the field somewhat – and mean some popular solutions might not make the list. I stand to be corrected if I left out your favorite.
These are the time-tracking apps that make the current cut:
It’s usually worth taking a look at Zoho whenever you are searching for business-related software, as the industrious developer has a swathe of tools for most tasks.
Zoho Projects is the company’s time tracking tool. This lets you track time, assign it to individual projects, create workflows and it integrates with the company’s own suite of apps, along with Slack, Google and a range of third-party enterprise solutions providers.
Projects is free for up to three users on two projects with a sliding scale of per-user subscriptions available. Some features are limited to subscribers only. More information about what Zoho offers broadly is available online.
Toggl (try writing it with the spell check on) offers native apps for both Mac and iOS. You can use it as a free app (fine for small freelancers) or choose a subscription-based version (from $9/month) for even more features.
The beauty of the platform (which also boasts a robust web service) is that you can start a timer on one device and finish it on another, which matches most people’s working habits.
Setting up new tasks and projects is easy. Track time, assign time, add new clients, sing the app on either a desktop Mac or on the go with iOS.
If used on an iOS device, the app lets you start tracking time before you choose who to assign it to, meaning you can start the project before you have to decide who it’s assigned to.
Finally, Toggl also lets you export time sheets in CSV and PDF formats on the free plan. Subscribers can also export in Excel and they get useful features such as time audits.
Toggl integrates with Freshbooks, Asana, Basecamp, Teamweek and Github.
Available via the web and as an app, the Harvest time tracker lets you assign time to projects and clients on Mac, iOS and other platforms.
Setting up new clients and projects is simple – you can do so in a few seconds from the Mac desktop, if you want. The application’s best features require that you access it via the web interface. That’s where you’ll find invoicing and expense management tools and comprehensive reporting features.
It’s a really simple solution to use on every platform it supports (and can be integrated into a range of third-party tools). And it’s ideally suited to enterprises seeking team management tools. That’s because it gives managers a really good top/down tool with which to track budgets, time use and assessments of project completion.
This free time-tracking tool has been developed with teams in mind. Clockify supports unlimited users and already sees wide use at companies including Cisco, Atlassian and IBM.
What do you get? A clean user interface with built-in time, report, project, client and team management tools – including team invites and oversight to help track who did what. Reports are clear, well-designed and can be exported in PDF, CSV and Excel formats.
It’s available for every desktop and mobile platform and on the web.
Advanced (fee-based) options are available, including things like targets and reminder tools, time sheet locking, single sign-on and other useful features.
Timing makes it into this collection because it offers a capable Web app you can access on your iPhone, along with APIs to build its tools into third-party billing systems.
Why include it? Because it delivers a user experience that’s designed to help you focus on your work, rather than on the app.
Timing will record your time automatically and then let you assign it to the relevant project. That makes it very valuable for people on a deadline or those who need to focus on what they are doing rather than on the time management tool itself.
It’s also worth exploring the tool for the deep insights it provides in its nicely designed reporting system; it can show you what you worked on when – and may even make useful suggestions. It integrates with your calendar so you can also track meeting time. Cost: $4.50/user/month.
This solution adds scheduling to the mix, enabling you to plan your work week and identify whether you’ve over-committed based on your usual working habits.
Timely uses a little machine intelligence to track what you are doing within apps in order to help assign time. It has a clear user interface and is a good tool for teams. That’s because the scheduling option lets you manage project teams, while the time tracking helps monitor performance, assign working time and track progress.
It costs from $5/month.
I hope this short collection of time-tracking tools helps provide a good starting point if you need a solution for this task.
Clockify and Zoho probably provide the tools you need for a small business or as a freelancer, while they and others in this collection should scale for even larger project needs. Let me know if there are more time tracking tools that really should have made the cut – they just need to support multiple platforms.
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