10 Time-Tracking Apps That Will Make You More Productive In 2014

The new year is here. Don't waste it. Track it, and make your time work for you.

My favorite tools to keep track of my time are, honestly, pen and paper. What I lose in snazziness, I make up for in flexibility. I don’t have to turn on my computer or phone, which means I’m better about recording "off" hours. Since I’m not beholden to a spreadsheet or categories, I can describe my time however I want.

However, in this age of apps, many people want something a little more fancy. Lots of businesses need to keep track of employee time, and so the time-tracking product category is pretty crowded. What I like about the 10 apps in this post is that they can also help you monitor aspects of your personal time, so you don’t lose days to web surfing and TV—unless that’s what you really want to do.

1. Toggl

With this app, you say what you’re doing, start the timer, and stop it when you’re done. You can code things as personal if you’d like, and create charts of what’s consuming your time. The basic version is free, and full features are $5 a month. Apple, Android, and Desktop.

2. RescueTime

Running in the background on your computer or mobile device, the free version of RescueTime tracks minutes spent on various sites or applications. This is most useful if you think you have a bad email or Facebook habit, and would like to get it under control. The premium version ($9/month) lets you track time away from the computer, too, and block distracting websites after a desired amount of time. Apple, Android, and Desktop.

3. ATracker

This free app lets you track your whole life by tapping on your phone to start or stop each activity. It then produces reports on your day. The clean and uncluttered design is a nice plus, too. Apple only.

4. Eternity

Structured to remind you about work-life balance, Eternity divides time broadly into work, sleep, and play categories. Play is good! $9.99 in iTunes. Apple only.

5. Now Then

This app features personal categories such as shopping, entertainment, and travel, and lets you break work into its subcategories as well (administration, meetings). $2.99 in iTunes.

6. TIME Planner

This free app combines scheduling and time tracking features for both work and personal activities. You can schedule a bike ride at 1 p.m., then be reminded to do it, then say if you’ve actually done it—all to keep yourself on track. Apple only.

7. My Minutes

This free app focuses on goal setting. You aim to work out for 30 minutes, or spend "at most" 45 minutes on email. The app gives you a nudge when you’re out of time, or a virtual pat on the back when you hit your goals. Apple and Android.

8. Fanurio

While primarily aimed at freelancers billing time to multiple projects (it creates invoices and expense reports—hence the price), Fanurio also lets you classify activities as non-billable, which much of our personal time turns out to be. This app nudges you to record time if you haven’t in a while. $59 for a license with free technical support for a year. Primarily for desktop (Mac OS + Windows + Linux).

9. Timely

Schedule your life, then log it. Primarily aimed at work time (you can bill time as you’re logging it), the interface is simple enough that you could create personal projects too. One user with unlimited projects is $10/month. Desktop or Apple devices.

10. Timesheet

This free app lets you use voice commands, track and bill work hours, and record off-work hours too. Android only.

What time-tracking apps do you use and recommend?

[Image: Flickr user Brian Suda]

Add New Comment

16 Comments

  • I just found this free app Time Tune and it is a God send! It's exactly what I was looking for. Helps me plan out my day in time slots. It is ingenious and life changing! Highly recommended.

  • Erik Petersen

    Hi, we use OOLYO.com - it's a really good timetracker, priced very reasonable (2.00/user), has a timer function, reporting, exporting, tracking billable hours, and billing by letting us put an hour rate to each task.

  • Taras Baca

    Hi Laura, good list. Will you be updating the list in 2015 as well? Time tracking apps evolve constantly. Toggl for example is about to release Business plan at insane $59 per user/month, with enterprise features that many other apps including us at http://www.flapps.com already have had for years. You could include the value aspect in your list, time tracking apps such Harvest, Tsheets or Flapps should then be in it. Price per user is important as you pay it monthly, in larger organizations it can come to a huge difference within few years.

  • Alex Nowak

    Hi Laura! Thanks for sharing. I was working as a freelancer as well as in bigger companies and I was always using and am still using http://www.timr.com timr keeps track of working hours and project time as well as project budgets and let's you define hourly rates. It comes with a team tracking feature and mobile apps that work online AND offline Definitely worth every dime.

  • Laura Chancey

    Very useful article! Thank you! But I'm surprised you didn't mention <a href=”http://kanbantool.com”>KanbanTool</a>. KT's time tracking tool is so easy and intuitive. I still use free trial of it and I was thinking about trying something else, but after reading your article I can see that every time tracking app is not free, so there's no point in changing this for other app. I like Kanban Tool, has more options that just time tracking, so I will stick with it.

  • Frank

    Here's one that I wrote a few years back and have used ever since. It's a Windows desktop app and just recently decided to share it with anyone who's interested.

    http://plasticcheese.com/TinyTracker

    It's free, really small, quick to use and makes it really easy to fill out your timesheets.

  • Ivan Petrovic

    I would just like to add that this list can be separated two categories. Manual timesheets and automatic time tracking. We have developed WorkPuls ( http://www.workpuls.com ) after a long time analysing what is really needed in on company that have people who work mostly on computer. In order to have full control of workforce and where it can be optimised you need to take a look at bigger picture and be able to get deeper into details.

  • Jonah Turnquist

    Awesome list. My favorite is is http://www.timepanther.com . It keep things a bit simpler, and is tailored to freelancers (although I imagine should be just fine for the non-freelancer). It's got great reporting features, data exporting, etc. Free as well.

  • Albert

    If one is working exclusively on an office desktop computer, the Work Time Monitor application may come in handy:

    http://rovice.com/wtmon

    It's a highly intuitive and flexible tool with the major advantage of requiring virtually no input from the user in order to calculate the daily and monthly work time (reports are automatically generated according to the time spent working on the computer).

    It's lightweight (only 0.5 MB in size), and best of all: it's completely free!