36 Easy-to-use time-tracking tools for freelancers

Time management can be one of the toughest aspects of freelancing.

After all, when you’re doing what you love, time can fly and before you know it, you’re over hours. Your client’s budget doesn’t merit all the time you got lost in, so you can’t invoice them which means you’re losing money.

Today, we’ve collected a list of 36 time-tracking tools you can use to keep track of your projects, time constraints and billable hours. These tools will help you manage your time better and show you just how much time you are spending on different projects. By keeping track of your time, you will be able to maximize not just your workforce but also your profit.

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Before you dive in, tell us what time-tracking software you use by leaving a comment!


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  1. Nice list. Surprisingly, i’ve never heard about many of these tool. Will surely check them. I’d also like to recommend proofhub here. Its a task and time management tool. So you can easily link your tasks with time and keep a track of it!

  2. I’m using ChronoBeans – a windows desktop program that keeps all my client and billing info local. It captures time and all my activity logging and generates invoices and work log reports for clients.

  3. Thanks Elmor for such a big list. Have to be honest, this is an overwhelming list and I haven’t heard most of them listed here. But, I think this post would have made much more sense if you had provided the pros and cons of these tools. So, readers could have made up their mind on which to use. Personally, I have been using Emitii, another free time tracking tool for freelancers and small businesses. I think you might as well add it to the list.

  4. Great read thanks for sharing! These tools are a great help especially for freelancers online businesses. Time tracking tools are also important as it helps you and your employees keep track of your time and productivity. By using web-based time tracking tool from sites like https://www.clockspot.com/ you can micro manage your projects and be more effective with completing your tasks.

  5. Thanks for sharing Elmor! I would also recommend Hubstaff. It’s what I use as a remote employee. With Hubstaff, I can track my time and even my activity level while working on the tasks assigned to me with screenshots. They also have an automatic payroll feature that would be very helpful for business owners out there.

  6. Great list! I would also like to suggest Clockspot – an online time clock that helps simplify payroll to just a few clicks. Some of its cool features are: Clock in from any approved device (Computer, Mobile, even Telephone), Review and approve timesheets online, Manage Overtime, Job costing and paid time off, Run payroll reports. It’s a great addition to the lists.

  7. Exploring apps, install and uninstalling them until I find the ones that will really help me, has been the routine each day. Is there a cream of the crop list for time tracking?

  8. Being Dutch, I use TimeWriter for time tracking. But although TimeWriter is not much known outside The Netherlands, this software is also available in English. This software is totally reprogrammed shortly and is now available on PC, Mac, iOS, Android and Web. Some of its pretty characteristics are the weekgrid, flexible reports and a free version for freelancers. http://www.timewriter.com

  9. Nice List !
    One may also use Invoicera for time tracking needs. It’s an online solution with invoicing and time tracking features. It helps to track the time spend on each task and allows you to invoice the billable hours to clients. Freelancers may simplify the time tracking process by using Invoicera.

  10. Thanks for sharing all these useful tools though after using various such tools, i personally like and use Replicon cloud based time management software. I found this tool so very useful and simple to use. It can be quickly implemented and can also accessed from anywhere, using a web browser.

    I definitely suggest this one as it has all the wonderful features of a great app.

  11. Hi Elmor,

    Thanks for a pretty comprehensive list. Although for me, as a sole freelancer, these seem fairly complex. I used Base Camp and Teambox in the past, and they were both too complex for me. At the moment I use Mobile Worker (http://www.mworker.com), which is plain simple, and pretty much serves as a Pomodoro that can sync with Dropbox for me. I really love it, especially since it’s free.

  12. Wow! Great List! Freshbooks is nice! The one I use isn’t on here, but still, a very good list. I use PayPanther –> http://www.paypanther.com/ it’s easy to use and comes with a lot of features, such as invoicing, project and task management, CRM, etc.

  13. I’ve tried paymo.com and Toggl, and Toggl so far has been my favorite! It’s easy to use, relatively inexpensive, compatible with all my devices and it let’s me focus on work!

  14. My friends and I are using timetrack. This, free to download, application allows to log, track and manage time spent on projects, tasks and clients. It is easy to use and can take it anywhere. It works with my cell phone, PC and Mac. It tracks time regardless the Internet connection and gives me clear and complete reports.

  15. I’ve developed Daily, a time tracking utility that works differently by asking what you’re doing in a non-disturbing way. This is especially handy for those who don’t like time tracking but are required to do so.

    Check out http://www.dailytimeapp.com for more information. It’s available for Mac OS.

    Daily enables you to:
    • Discover the duration per activity, accurate to the minute!
    • See when you’ve started and stopped working;
    • Register activities while you’ve been away from your computer;
    • Automatically record a pre-defined activity using silent-mode;
    • Control Daily using global keyboard shortcuts;
    • Automatically start & stop registering on specific moments using the scheduler;
    • … and much more!

  16. Studiometry! It offers so much more than just time tracking. Basically everything there is to know about a project is in there, from quotation to invoice. I don’t use every single feature, but ever since I fell in love with Studiometry some five years ago, it has been the program that is always open. It is robust, pretty flexible and scalable.

  17. Wow! What a list! We’ve been using 88 Miles ( http://88miles.net ) which is a timer based app. We like the speed of it – everything is on one page, so you don’t have to mess around waiting for projects to load.

  18. Hi.
    I would like to add http://www.timecockpit.com to your extensive list. It is a project-based time tracking solution that features automatic activity trackers. If you want, you can transform the logged activities to time sheet entries for billing or project controlling. It also comes with a master data module to manage your customers, projects and tasks.

  19. Billings for Mac – great interface, great use of timed slips, retainers. Complex to begin with if you need to set specific invoicing rules etc but I find the reports function so handy for seeing whats not been billed, who needs to pay, earnings over a period of time!

  20. Daylite is more of a CRM tool whereas their sister product Billings is estimating, time tracking and invoicing. Once set up and the stationery templates are customised to your brand Billings is a breeze to use and takes very little time out of my working day. I’ve been using it for a few years now, it’s good.

  21. It would be nice to have some sort of description as well as what’s good/bad about each. Additionally, Backpack is not for time tracking, Basecamp is. And Backpack is being canceled and the new Basecamp doesn’t support time tracking anymore.
    Also, how are you supposed to use Google Calendar for time tracking? There is no built in function for this.

  22. I’ve used Time Slice for years without complaint. At the time I chose it, there wasn’t ,much else available, so I think I’m going to take a look at some of these other timers.

  23. I think you missed to include “Time Doctor” in your list. I have been using that software for quite a while now and it is by far the best I have ever tried. There is no reason to change time tracking tool anytime soon. I am totally satisfied with “Time Doctor”.

  24. I would recommend Worksnaps (http://www.worksnaps.net), which is a time tracking tool that allows manager to verify the time logged by the client. Worksnaps logs the time as well as work evidences such as screen shots, keyboard/mouse volume and active application uses. This allows a manager to make sure that the freelancers are spending time on the tasks related to work, instead of slacking off surfing the web or chatting. It works very well if you have a remote team and you are paying them for the time they spend.

  25. Time tracking has always been a bit of a nemesis for me – I’ll check some of these out! Thanks, Preston!

  26. Wow! This is a great list. I’ve been using Toggl for a while now because I LOVE Lifehacker and trust their opinions. I use Toggle in unison with Focus Booster, so that I can use the Pomodoro technique and remember to take breaks on a regular basis. Keeps my head from exploding.

  27. Great collection, tons of tools I’ve never heard of that I might need to try out. I’ve use harvest and Tick but Supernova looks pretty sick. Someday we’ll have payba.cc ready and then you’ll be able to actually collect on that time spent.

  28. What a list, I didn’t know there were so many!
    I personally use Toggl together with my two team members. I love it because it’s simple, easy, isn’t bloated with features I don’t use anyway. We’re not freelancers so we don’t need to bill but we find Toggl an excellent tool to keep track of what we are doing. Even though we’re a small team, we all have different responsibilities / tasks. Once a week we have a little meeting to discuss what all of us are working on. Having kept track of it all is a big help then.

  29. I use billings: http://www.marketcircle.com/billings/ although I don’t like their invoicing system yet as I haven’t worked out how to best tailor it to what I want, I love their integration with my Address Book and the ability to record estimate time tickets as well as actual times.

    I find your list hard to navigate, it’s just a stream of information. It would help to have some tips on what to look for or consider when looking for a tracking app with some examples of different work flows and what benefits different features can give your business.

  30. Hi,

    Nice list! I would also like to introduce our time tracking app Yanomo (http://yanomo.com) to you.

    – Time tracking directly from your calendar
    – Syncs with Google cal
    – Invoicing based on your billable time
    – Flexible rates per user/client/project
    – Tasks and to-do’s
    – Accurate progress estimation
    – Project budgets, estimates and timelines
    – Reporting by user, client, project, phase and task
    – Every report exportable to excel

    Since we developed it ourselves I will leave rating it to others but feel free to have a look.

    Kind regards,
    Joost Schouten
    Yanomo – Time tracking and Invoicing

  31. I was surprised not to see Fanurio listed as one of the time tracking tools. I’ve been using it for a few months and I’m very please with out it functions.

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