Click here to preview the new Fast Company

Want to try out the new FastCompany.com?

If you’d like to return to the previous design, click the yellow button on the lower left corner.

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

42 Comments

  • EJ

    I really enjoyed reading your post, Laura!

    I know this is already quite an old one to dig in but it has a lot of information especially if you are looking for a time tracking software.

    I work from home, basically I am dependent on every software that are available today, especially those that are worth using for my tasks. A few that I used are Trelllo (project management), Skype, Google Services, Jing and Time Doctor for time tracking.

    Since the topic is all about time tracking, let me share something about Time Doctor. TD or Time Doctor has 2 versions at the moment (Lite and Pro) and it comes with a 1-month trial for every user (https://www.timedoctor.com/download.html).

    I know we all get distracted no matter how efficient we are, but with Time Doctor it can help you stay focused as it gently nudge you when you get distracted from work. All worth it to use though, I mean all its features!

  • Skip

    My company just recently added another 300 users to this time-tracking app MySammy. We started to use MySammy to evaluate how our staffs spend time on a computer remotely last summer. It turned out save us lot of time than before at our HR Dept. The most amazing job that MySammy help us is we can easily either analyze each staff from the Pie charts and bar graphs on screen or print out their spread sheet report by a click. If you are a small company owner and below 4 users, it is free. Here's their website: http://www.mysammy.com

  • Hi This is really a great list. Thanks for your efforts compiling these awesome resources. However, you have missed http://www.invoicera.com to be included in your list. Invoicera has some advanced features like manual time logs,assign work,time scheduling and many more. I would like you to include Invoicera in your list so that your users could also benefited with the awesome features of Invoicera.

  • Daniela Schälchli

    Hi Laura,

    first of all, thanks for the list. There are hundreds of tools out there to track time and it's not easy to find the one that suits the business best. Anyways, we are using and developing Xpert-Timer. http://www.xperttimer.de. We offer a Windows and Android version. It's not web based, so I guess it's only interesting for people who want to keep their data inhouse. I like it. Have a look at it...maybe you'll review it for the next blogpost :)

  • Aakash Nikam

    Really Nice tracking apps ....most of them i never heard Need to Research. But I Will Advice You To Check Out - Fetch Application Its Really Great app !

  • Rachel Andrea Go

    Hi Laura! Great list, I haven't heard of most of them so that gives me something to research.

    Have you checked out Hubstaff? - https://hubstaff.com/

    I use it to track my professional time for various clients and it's done wonders for my productivity.

    I recently went on a 2 month working trip across the West Coast (Oregon wine, anyone?) to see if I could work from the road and the Hubstaff software was incredibly useful in making sure I got paid and managed my time well. I also gained a lot of insight into how I worked (ie. what schedule is most productive for me, how active I am while I'm tracking time, etc.)

    They also just rolled out a new iPhone app so you can track time on-the-go, along with GPS and locations (optional). iPhone users, rejoice - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hubstaff-time-gps-tracking/id971894122

  • Theodor Diaconu

    We are currently using www.worklog.online software, you pay once and you have it a life-time. Check their live demo, it works blazing fast.

    The guys are super professional and set-up everything for me. I did not get the Enterprise version, but from what I've seen they can even offer branded native mobile apps.

    We had some bugs in the beginning but they fixed it so quickly we didn't consider it a problem. I believe they are stable now, you should give them try.

  • Dave Nielsen

    Love this post from last year. Just wanted to add TSheets (https://www.tsheets.com) - the #1 rated employee time tracking app.

    Unlike most products in the list, TSheets provides free unlimited support on phone, chat, or email - you pick. And the support is amazing. Give it a try and find out for yourself.

  • Marlena Kuczyńska

    Can't find TimeCamp ( www.timecamp.com ) on your list :( I want to recommend it because of automatic time tracking. It is great for multitaskers who switch between their tasks rapidly.