Time is money. Though perhaps a cliché, the sentiment illustrates the importance of time tracking, especially for freelancers. Whether you’re working on a side hustle or living a full-time freelance life, making the most of your time requires self-discipline and, as you’re about to learn, documentation.
Here are some of the best freelance time tracking options the web has to offer:
Developed by the talent marketplace, Toptal, TopTracker was designed with gig workers in mind, which places it among the most effective freelance time trackers on the web. While some apps will try to upsell you at the end of the trial period for additional perks, this software isn't limited by versions and tiers, and you'll get full access to its functionality from day one.
The app can be used from any device and, along with tracking time, screen and web shot options, you'll have greater control by deciding how and when things are tracked. The visual side of things also allows you to see clients, projects, and tasks on a single page, which makes the sometimes chaotic nature of the freelancer's life a little easier to digest.
TimeCamp is a free software that remains free even after your trial period ends (just make sure you sign up for the Solo version). And the freebie features are nothing to sneeze at, including:
- Timesheets for individuals and team member collaborations
- A desktop app that automatically tracks your use of websites, applications and other activities
- Reports that illustrate how you spend productive and unproductive work time
- The ability to log tasks and projects and manually track your progress using the software timer
Add-on features like tracking billable time, budgeting, and invoicing will cost between $5.25 and $7.50 per month depending what plan you choose, but for freelancers who want to keep it simple, this option is a good one.
If you want to track your time and log invoices all in one place, Ronin is the freelance time tracker for you. The software integrates with PayPal, Authorize.Net, and Stripe.Net for a seamless experience between logging your hours and getting paid. If you have experience with CSS/HTML, you can also customize the invoices to suit your visual preferences. While the invoicing feature is nice, keep in mind that the free version of this software is limited to tracking two clients per account. The Solo plan allows up to 30 clients, but you'll need to budget $15 per month for the service. That said, if you're looking for an easy way to limit the steps between productivity and payment, Ronin could be the freelance time tracking software to close the gap.
Developed by Quickbooks, TSheets takes freelance time tracking to the next level with free phone and online support. The software can be used on any device and integrates with QuickBooks, SDP, Paychex, Sage, and other productivity products. The single user plan is completely free and includes a time clock kiosk, payroll and invoicing, reporting, and scheduling. And don't forget that your free plan still includes customer support, which means that you won't waste any time test driving the software.
A $9 monthly investment is what you'll need for a Toggl plan. For those who like organizational grouping, you'll appreciate the tags feature that allows you to mark entries based on type. Keep in mind, however, that Toggl caters to teams, so you might not need all the bells and whistles if you're working as a solo freelancer. However, if you're looking for a visual representation of how well you're hitting budgeting and timeline goals, Toggl is a good option.
If you're a freelancer who doesn't report directly to a boss (or you bill per project), RescueTime can help you track your time without reporting it to an outside source. For $9 per month, you'll still have full access to time-tracking and reporting features, but RescueTime is user-facing. If you're content to keep yourself on track, this option provides a low-maintenance solution.