If you’re a freelancer, regardless of whether you’re a web developer, designer or writer, then you have probably considered and understand why it takes a lot more discipline and motivation to stay focused on the task than let your mind (and fingers) wander elsewhere.
There seems to be just too many distractions when you have the freedom to manage your own time, but time is especially important for freelancers who are mostly paid for results rather than time spent working.
That is why time-tracking tools can be lifesavers for freelancers; they serve as a reminder, disciplinary assistant and motivation booster for both solo freelancers and home-based work teams. Even better, many time management tools often come with financial management functions, such as generating invoices for your clients.
Here’s 5 time-tracking apps which will help you be a more disciplined, productive and efficient freelancer:
Recommended Reading: Productivity Tips for Freelance Web Designers
On the Job lets you track time with an automatic idle time detection, and sits quietly on your menu bar. Every time you start the timer, a new session will be automatically created. It can also generate invoices based on customizable hourly rates.
With On the Job, you can organize your clients’ information by their names, addresses, their hourly rates as well as the different currencies for different clients. This handy desktop tool costs $39.95.
iBiz lets you sync your projects and billing details to iCal, display statistical graphs of your work, as well as track and generate reports to tabulate the time spent on different applications. It also lets you control timers easily with the desktop widget.
Managing time and expenses with iBiz is a breeze as it also tracks overdue payments and notify you about incoming invoices. If you need to back up your data frequently, there is a simple built-in command that enables quick backups and restorations. Fork out $39.99 if you want to own this desktop tool.
Klok features a visual display of your time and tasks, and allows you to customize the organization of your clients and projects. It automatically begins a new timer when you start working on a different task, and you can always adjust the time later.
You can also connect Klok to other time-tracking apps, such as Harvest and Freshbooks (more on them later), for added functionality. Other Klok functions include timesheets that can be exported, generation of invoices and dashboard reporting. One of the cheaper desktop tools on the list, it costs $15.99.
Harvest is a versatile, convenient time management tool usable on multiple platforms: Mac or PC, as a mobile widget or app. It also compiles neat reports so you can see the time distribution for your work (and your team’s). You can also create a quick invoice which retrieves project hours and expenses instantly.
Harvest comes in both desktop and web tools in 3 pricing plans: Solo [$12] allows up to 3 users only, Basic [$40] allows up to 10 users and Business [$90] allows unlimited users.
Probably the best choice if you’re looking for a free time-tracking application, Freshbooks is both a time- and finance-management tool. You can track team time sheets, set timers and time limits, or handle accounting tasks from the Freshbooks desktop widget.
The basic Freshbooks web and desktop tool comes free but you can only manage 3 clients at the same time; upgrade to a paid plan for $14/month and you can manage up to 25 clients at the same time.
More Time-tracking Tools
Can’t get enough of the time-tracking apps? Here’s another 10 to help keep you productive:
- Time Edition – Keeps track of time and statuses of projects with a simple display, ideal for quick glances. [Free]
- Minco – Tracks time and shoots reminders to your synced iPhone. [$14.99]
- Timepost – Detects idle time automatically, and integrates easily with Basecamp, activeCollab and many more. [$39.00]
- Office Time – Records time and expenses incurred, prepares invoices and summary graphs. [$47.00]
- Cashboard – Fantastic for the freelancer, tracks time and expenses, handles invoices and even online payments. [Free or $10+/month]
- Rescue TIme – Tracks time spent on apps and websites, ranks your productivity and blocks distracting websites. [Free Lite or $6/month]
- Slife – Keeps tabs on your usage, has real-time tracking and provides visual analytics, depending on your subscribed plan. [$5/month or $10/month]
- Toggl – Easy to use for managing time and enhancing productivity, especially with team members. [$5/user monthly]
- Tick – Tracks time, organizes projects and generates reports with this time management tool. [Up to $79/month]
- SlimTimer – Creates tasks, shares statuses with your team, and exports timesheet reports. [Free]