Free time-tracking applications

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.

19 Comments for “Free time-tracking applications”

  1. posted by Lose That Girl on

    Sounds like a fantastic idea — but I’m scared to see where all my time goes.

  2. posted by Tyler on

    I’m currently using http://www.myHours.com and it seems like a pretty solid (although no pretty) time tracking web app. I like that it is not limited to one machine like its fat client brethren.

    Its also the right price in comparison to http://www.HarvestApp.com and http://www.LetsFreckle.com

  3. posted by Suzyn on

    Thank you so much! I was actually intending to search your site for something like this today – and here it is on the front page. Keep up the excellent (telepathic) work! 😉

  4. posted by Stuart on

    I use Things to keep track of what I need to do, iCal to track what I actually do, and Timeless to review what I’ve done.

  5. posted by Dave P on

    I don’t have my Mac with me all of the time. But my iPhone is my constant companion. What are the best time trackers on the iPhone?

  6. posted by worship trench » Blog Archive » New Time Audit Free Tools on

    […] some free online tools that you can use to more easily complete your time audits. Check them out at unclutterer.com and grab them for […]

  7. posted by Marie on

    This is off-topic, but as an editor I go BAT**** INSANE when companies name products by disemboweling a word. We wonder why kids can’t spell or read anymore, but let’s get them Klok!

  8. posted by Amy on

    My first reaction to this was that I am not a computer and I do not wish to become more like one by using a computer program to discover how to eke out the last drop of productivity possible…

    But on second thought, I realized that it could help in planning when to do tasks, so that I’m doing things that need a lot of focus when I am naturally feeling more productive. I suppose it could help me spot my trends and eventually give me more free time.

  9. posted by Matt on

    Do any of these automatically know when you change a task? I always forget to click something to say when I’ve changed tasks, or sneaked online to read blogs instead of working.

  10. posted by Catherine Cantieri, Sorted on

    I keep meaning to try some of those online/electronic time trackers, but I’m so much more of a paper person. Like Dave P, I’d love to know more about iPhone/iPod touch apps for time tracking. (And like Marie, I grow weary of the bastardize-an-existing-word tactic for naming companies.)

  11. posted by Mickey on

    I used Toggl at my last job, and yes I often forgot to change tasks, but at the end of the day would look back at what I had done and adjust if needed. It was great, and made me realize that I spent about 20% of my time responding to people’s tech needs (and no, I wasn’t the IT person) and that my average workweek was more than I really should be doing to keep my sanity.

  12. posted by Anelly on

    I found an article that mention 14 easy to use time tracking software http://www.quickonlinetips.com.....-software/

  13. posted by ppol on

    I use opentempus(opentempus.org) since a few days and it’s a ver simple and nice tool with great reports. It’s very simple cause itself track your computer activity (you don’t have to do anything)

  14. posted by Gil Friend on

    To be clear, LifeHacker didn’t rate these apps at all. They described, and reported results of a reader poll.

  15. posted by Rob on

    Hey Marie…I hate to tell you this but the name Klok is not the result of “disemboweling a word” it is Dutch for “clock”

  16. posted by DonCode on

    We use http://www.tracking-time.com for a few months already and it’s awesome! You track from any computer with a desktop app and see all the stats and reports online.

  17. posted by Jade on

    Is there an application for the Blackberry?

  18. posted by Porter on

    Klok is an amazing program, I’ve used it for a long time now. The UI is incredibly friendly, and it only took me a few minutes to figure everything out. I wrote a review on Klok from a self employed game developers perspective, give it a read if you get the time. Glad to see the developers getting the attention they deserve, they’ve worked hard on giving us a great, free program.

  19. posted by Hiro on

    If you are looking for something free and simple see: http://www.e-tim.org

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