Keeping track of how you spend your time is a necessity when you’re billing segments of your workday to multiple clients, but it’s also valuable for determining your efficiency and productivity. Lifehacker recently reviewed and rated the Five Best Time-Tracking Applications and awarded Klok (free and usable on all platforms) as the top application:
Built with Adobe AIR, Klok is a lightweight and cross-platform tracking solution. You can create a hierarchy of projects and sub-projects in the task-management sidebar and then track the time spent on each by dragging and dropping them into the workflow for the day. While you can delve into the details of each block of time, simple adjustments like expanding the amount of time you’ve worked on a project is as easy as grabbing the edge of the block with your mouse and tugging it down.
Also on their list are Manic Time (Windows), SlimTimer (web-based), RescueTime (Windows and Mac), and Project Hamster (Linux). All five of the applications mentioned in the article are free to access or download.
If you haven’t tracked your time before, I recommend keeping records for at least two weeks to see how you spend your time. The data you will acquire will give you insight into your most productive hours of the day, your low-performance times, when people tend to interrupt you, and how much time you waste during an average day. Then, you can start to tweak your work habits to get the most out of your time in the office.