Time tracking apps: What do you recommend?

photo-102I’m a very low tech person. I’ve logged my time for many different weeks over the years, but I usually just use a word document, or sometimes even pen and paper. What I lose in snazzy visual representation, I feel I make up for with the ability to describe things at length, and break things into whatever time units I want (3 minutes…3 hours… etc.).

When people keep track of time for me for my projects (like Mosaic) I generally have them use a spreadsheet. It doesn’t allow for quite the same granularity as Word, but it makes calculations and analysis easier.

Of course, in this age of apps, many people have pointed out that there are time tracking apps that can do much of the heavy lifting for you. After all, many businesses need people to track their hours, so it’s not a huge leap to go from billing your professional time to “billing” all of your time (to projects such as housework, TV, sleep, etc.) While I don’t use any apps myself, I know that other people would like to. So I’m working on a round-up for Fast Company on some of the most useful time tracking apps.

If you use any of these, or have a different one you like, please let me know. What do you think of these? You can post in the comments, or you can email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com. I’m particularly interested in ones that have some functionality for your personal life, too. I haven’t included cost, and it varies from free to $9.99. I welcome thoughts on ROI as well. There’s:

Toggl — which has been mentioned by several as a favorite.

RescueTime — another one that’s been around long enough to have its devotees

Captain Clock — probably more workplace oriented (with employees clocking in and out)



Fanfurio— aimed at freelancers billing multiple clients


Timely— aims to combine scheduling with time tracking
Hourstracker – timesheet

LumenTrails Organizer
– $9.99 but deals with everything in quantified self, it seems: food, exercise, etc.

ATracker — clean and minimalist, and definitely set up for personal tasks too.

My minutes — combines goal setting with time tracking, so potentially useful for minimizing time on things you’re spending too much time on.

Eternity time log
— focused on broad categories of sleep, work, play. It’s good to track play!

Now Then — incorporates personal tasks as categories: social, travel, shopping, etc.
Get Harvest — more professionally oriented, with billing features for keeping projects under budget
Freckle — also professionally oriented, with features for checking on team utilization
TIME Planner — scheduling and planning for work and personal time


Yanomo.com — social features so teams share what they’re working on.

Photo: This snowman’s hours, like all of ours, are limited. However, I’m guessing he doesn’t keep track of them.

19 thoughts on “Time tracking apps: What do you recommend?

  1. I just wrote a post about needing to limit the amount of information I’m allowing into my email, phone and social media. I feel like I’m trying to drink from a waterfall. While I feel I have all the tools I need (ie 168 Hours), I know for sure I’m not using anything to its full potential. Thanks for the list. In addition, I’ll pull 168 off the shelf this weekend.

    1. @Sabrina- oh, I know I’m not using any of my devices to their full potential. But so it goes. Maybe various apps could make my life better, but I feel like my life’s already pretty good…

  2. I tried a few apps, but found that I also prefer the flexibility of pencil and paper. Also, I don’t want something else to do on my phone. As it is, I do email, check blogs, learn a new language, take pics, buy on Amazon and eBay and more on my phone.

    1. @Carrie- I know the feeling. I don’t like turning my phone on or computer on during weekends sometimes. Time tracking on a phone would encourage me to do that.

  3. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for including Fanurio on your list.

    > I’m particularly interested in ones that have some functionality for your personal life, too.

    Fanurio allows you to work with both billable and non-billable projects. You can use non-billable projects to track time for you personal tasks. You can also use Fanurio to track expenses and mileage.

    > When people keep track of time for me for my projects (like Mosaic) I generally have them use a spreadsheet.

    Fanurio can export time to Microsoft Excel.

    I hope this helps. If you have any questions about Fanurio, I would be glad to answer them.


  4. I’ve used many time tracking applications and so far I’ve had the best experience with Toggl. It does not like too fancy but the features are great and that is what is important to me. If they could improve the interface a little bit I’ll be their biggest fan but I’ll settle with the current one as well.

    1. Hey Kosio,

      I’m the founder of Timely, and I would love to get your thoughts on that. We launched last week, and we’ve actually had quite a few people switch over from Toggl, and one of the reasons is exactly becuase of the interface.

  5. I used RescueTime for a while, purely for my personal life and tracking mindless internet time.

    My facebook hours were appalling. I’ll just say that.

    It is free and worked for what I wanted it to:)

    1. @Katherine – yeah, when I’m tracking time I wind up looking at FB less… partly because I don’t want to admit I’m doing it. So the system works!

  6. Hey Laura,

    Thanks a ton for the information provided by you. Its really helpful for those who are in need of time tracking software. But here in I could not see one more software which is the leader in terms of time tracking and management, the time tracking software from Replicon ( http://www.replicon.com/time-tracking-softwares.aspx ) which operates in a cloud based platform with whole lot of functionalities that manage the time in a strategic manner. Hope to see that in the next list.


  7. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for putting this list. I work from home for almost 2 years now and we used Time Doctor http://www.timedoctor.com for time tracking and attendance. The software is not intrusive, and I love the fact that it supports all platforms (including Linux).

    We heard of RescueTime before but our team ended up on using Time Doctor as we find it “perfect” in a virtual setup. It can even track your time even if your Internet is down, but everything will be uploaded to the Internet when you come back online.

  8. I’ve been using TMetric for more than 2 years now, and consider it the best app that ever happened to me at work. It logs my work hours to avoid overtime, monitors productivity, generates reports, and lets me manage time off. I like that it’s simple to use but comes with a great set of helpful features.

  9. I recommend kanbantool.com. Have you heard about the app? It’s amazing, I really like it. And it does more than just time tracking, which is great too.

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