15 Tools To Track Time & Productivity

from Lynette Chandler 

hourglasssm Tracking time sounds so easy. You clock in, work, clock out. That’s billable time right? Yes. But in a home business setting like many of us have interruptions like the baby crying, the kids fighting or the Orkin man knocks on your door to do an inspection. This makes it a challenge because you have to clock in and off sometimes in less than 1 minute.

In MomMasterminds, we also recently discussed yet another challenge that is not brought up often enough. That is charging for every minute you earned, including your email time. Most of us service providers are pretty good about charging phone time but email time? We get the illusion the email is only going to take 2 minutes but how often does that 2 minute become 20 minutes because you needed to research your answer?

How often does that one quick email turn into 10 replies by the clients, "for clarification", each taking another 2 minutes for you to read, understand and respond? They all add up but that’s another blog post ;)

Here are 15 time trackers you can use to help you out.

RescueTime – You create an account, download this little application and start the clock. It’ll track each application or web site you’ve been working with and time spent on it. Great if the bulk of your work is on the computer. No data entry, but I found the tagging tedious. I liked that it is automatic but at the time of use which is a few months ago, I could tell how much time spent using an application but I couldn’t easily tell how much of that time was for which client. I needed to tag that time manually each time. You can do that in bulk just once at the end of the work day, but if you let them pile up, beware.

One thing I do really like about this. It’s a great way to tell how you’re using your time while at the computer. You know those days when you feel you’ve worked all day but done nothing? Well, use RescueTime for one week and you’ll know exactly where you are leaking those hours.

Toggl – Free, but with premium accounts if you want more options. Super easy and straight to the point. 100% online or download a little program to help you track time.

Printable CEO – Not an electronic tracker and incidentally, the one I use. Love it, love it, love it. Yes it is paper – I just like the opportunity to quickly jot down a stray thought or two sometimes and electronic solutions don’t always make it easy for me to do that without clicking several times. By the time I click through, the train of thought is lost :( that’s why I like paper for some things. Printable CEO has a variety of different task and time trackers you just have to choose the one that suits you best.

Slife – works a lot like RescueTime. Free, Mac only.

Klok – downloadable software that runs on Mac or Windows. Free.

Legos – Like to play and work at the same time? Check out how this creative software developer tracks his time using Legos – really! The Legos your kids play with.

Tempo – Free for one user, one project. You can also use it with SMS, Twitter, email or your phone.

1Time – Online time tracker for teams. Nice: Clients can view the hours worked, employee reporting, track holidays and absent days plus project expenses. Free for one user, 20 projects.

Harvest – Free for one user, 2 projects, 4 clients. Nice: Invoicing feature, estimate vs time spent report. Quickbooks export, different roles for teams.

Tick – track time and budget. Free for one project.

SlimTimer – Track tasks and time. Web based, free.

TrackMyPeople – time tracking for teams. Includes a downloadable widget for desktops.

TSheets – not free, starts at $10/month. Upgrade for team use. Track time from cell phone too.

88Miles – No free plan, starts at $5/month. Quick and easy punch in/out concept.

Time Stamp – Finally, can’t close the list without this one. A favorite of many VA’s I know. Desktop based time tracking software. Free.

Photo credit: Satendra Mhatre

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