The best tools to use for detailed time tracking
Since I work on multiple projects across various clients simultaneously, I need to keep track of my hours very closely so that I can bill my clients accurately and to quickly recall what I was working on a particular day and time. In my search for the most efficient way to handle this, I found many great tools along the way.
Toggl is a very popular time tracking tool that is a great solution for tracking your time quickly and for free! Toggl has a great web app for tracking your time, but also an open source desktop client that can be used as well.
- Toggl is free, although you can upgrade for additional features.
- You must be okay with starting and stopping a timer when you work. You can also go back and fill in manual entries but you need to remember to do so and remember what you were working on at the time. The Toggl desktop app has some activity tracking so you can see what application you were using at a particular time, but it doesn't seem very robust.
- You need cross-platform support. Toggl provides apps for Android, IOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Web.
- You can create external integrations with Toggl using IFTTT or Zapier.
- You get some detailed reports of your time.
- Toggl is web-based, which means your data is stored online.
Timely is another timer tracking application that lets you track your time towards specific projects.
- Timely has a free trial, but to continue it will cost you starting at $7 per month per user.
- Like Toggl, with Timely you must also start and start the timer when you log your work. However, Timely also has a nifty feature called "memory" that you can connect to your calendar, Todoist, Wunderlist, and your desktop. This feature shows you what you were working on during specific periods of time. Then you can simply select an item to add it to your tracked time.
- Timely has a web version as well as Android, IOS, Mac, and Windows clients.
- Timely is web-based which means your data is stored online.
ManicTime is my personal favorite time tracking tool and the one I've stuck with for the past 8 months or so. ManicTime is a desktop client that tracks your activities including what applications your using and what websites your visiting. The data is all kept local to your machine. The biggest reason I've stuck with ManicTime is because it shows when I was at my computer and exactly what I was working which makes going back and tagging blocks of time for my time sheet is a piece of cake. It also doesn't hurt that the timesheet report gives me exactly the right format for me to submit my time, while the other apps I've tried I always have to tinker with it to get it right.
- ManicTime costs $67 with a year of free upgrades.
- It doesn't seem to use up much memory.
- You can pull in data from external sources like your calendar so you can easily tag blocks of time you were in meetings.
- You can setup auto tags that automatically track time you spend in certain applications or with specific documents towards a specific project.
- You can create all kinds of interesting reports. For example, I have a couple of tags that I use so that I can see how much time I spend each week in internal meetings, client meetings, doing administrative work, development, and miscellaneous work.