Importance of Time Tracking For Freelancers: Top 6 Tools to Try

Time Tracking is the process of recording how much time you spend on activities. The tools involved will vary depending on your discipline and personal preferences, but in general, a freelancer would use their preferred tool to track how long they spent working for each client or project.

Importance of Time Tracking For Freelancers: Top 6 Tools to Try

Time is a valuable commodity for freelancers. Whether you are new to the industry or have been in it for years, managing time efficiently can be a challenge.

There are many different ways to track your time and there are many different tools that make tracking easier than ever before.

In this blog post, we will talk about the benefits of using a time tracker and outline some options for freelancers who want to maximize their effectiveness.

What is Time Tracking?

Time Tracking is the process of recording how much time you spend on activities. The tools involved will vary depending on your discipline and personal preferences, but in general, a freelancer would use their preferred tool to track how long they spent working for each client or project.

Needless to say, that accurate time tracking can be life-changing when it comes to billing your clients or charging them for the time you spend on a project.

Why is it important?

The time you spend on a project can have an enormous impact on how profitable that project was for your business.

For example, if it takes you twice as long to complete the same task or job as another freelancer in similar circumstances then this will directly affect your bottom line.

Freelancers who bill by the hour will find that an accurate estimate of how much time they spent working can make it easier to set fair rates and work with their client’s budgets.

Those freelancers who charge flat rates may also see some benefits to tracking time, including the ability to map out what days are most productive for them and how long certain activities take.

This will allow you to set more realistic rates in the future or add new services based on your own personal skillsets.

Whether you bill hourly or flat-rate, knowing exactly how many hours a project took can have a huge impact on its final value.

What are some time tracking tools?

There is no shortage of options when it comes to time tracking software for freelancers. Many of the most popular apps provide users with multiple different features, so there is no single solution that fits every need perfectly.

1. FreshBooks

FreshBooks is one of the most popular cloud-based accounting apps for small businesses and freelancers.

It has a time tracking module that helps to monitor time and money spent on projects, clients which makes it a great addition to the rich accounting functionalities.

FreshBooks’s Auto Track feature can automatically track how much time you spend working on different tasks, customers, or jobs. It can also track your billable and nonbillable time.

One of the best features is that you don’t even need to start a timer when using this app because it logs all your activity automatically in real-time, which eliminates any risk of forgetting or bias towards certain activities over others.

Another great service offered by FreshBooks is that you can modify your time entries and add notes to them. This is useful if you worked on something for an hour but it actually took two hours, or if a meeting lasted longer than expected.

2. Toggl

Toggl is another great time tracking app for freelance developers, designers, and other creative professionals.

This lightweight desktop timer is easy to use on all platforms with add-ons that can help track important tasks in the project management process.

The Toggl Desktop Timer includes a Pomodoro Timer which is useful when you need to focus for short periods of time and take regular breaks.

The Toggl Chrome Extension can be used to track how long you spend on individual projects, tasks, or jobs while working in the browser. It also includes a desktop timer that works on all major operating systems (Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux).

Toggl’s automatic time tracker can be used on all platforms and with add-ons to help you track your work hours.

Tracking billable time is available only in the paid plans, which includes additional features like reporting tools for visualizing data over a customizable period of time.

3. Harvest

Harvest is a uniquely designed time tracking app which is available as a desktop and mobile application.

It includes several different features, including time tracking for all your projects. This app can help you achieve more accurate billing by offering the ability to create custom hourly rates and automatically track billable hours over customizable periods of time (days, weeks, or months).

It also offers useful reporting tools which allow users to generate professional reports with just a few clicks.

The Harvest time tracker can be used with all major operating systems and includes a Pause feature which lets you take breaks without affecting your overall progress or missing any important updates.

It also allows users to edit their entries in the event that they made a mistake, such as when adding an entry manually.

Accuracy is one of the main features of Harvest, which is why it offers the ability to edit time entries.

This is useful when you need to change a billable entry since the app only allows users to enter non-billable hours if they have an active record for them already. Time tracking can be done automatically or manually with this app.

4. Hubstaff

Hubstaff is a time tracking app that can be used to monitor the productivity of your team.

It has an extensive list of features including billing, automatic payrolls, and project management tools that help with invoicing clients for billable hours worked on different projects.

It also includes screenshots (which are taken randomly within timed intervals), activity levels (mouse movements and keyboard strokes), and application usage.

The app also has a GPS location feature that can be used for monitoring employees’ productivity while they are on the go.

Hubstaff offers time tracking, automatic payrolls, and project management tools to help you manage your team including screenshots, activity levels, and application usage. The app is useful even if you work alone since it offers a GPS location feature.

Time tracking is available only in the paid plans and includes additional features like reporting tools for visualizing data over customizable periods of time.

5. Clockify

Clockify is a time tracking app for freelancers. It works for teams of any size. It is perfect for freelancers as it is free for unlimited time and users.

This lightweight desktop timer can be used on all platforms with add-ons that can help track important tasks in the project management process.

Clockify works for teams of any size and includes add-ons that can help you with the project management process, such as tracking important tasks in the background.

It also offers weekly summary reports and is a free tool that does not include ads or hidden costs.

Clockify is free for both the team and users. It also offers weekly summary reports, but time tracking can be done only in the paid plans which include additional features like reporting tools for visualizing data over customizable periods of time.

6. ClickUp

ClickUp is software that lets you centralize your schedule and communication with your client base. It includes a time tracker and more features.

This lightweight desktop timer is easy to use on all platforms with add-ons that can help track important tasks in the project management process.

ClickUp also has a Chrome extension that can be used to track how long you spend on individual projects, tasks, or jobs while working in the browser.

ClickUp’s automatic time tracker is available for all platforms and includes integrations with other third-party apps like Toggl, Time Doctor, Clockify, and others. Click here to see which other time trackers are available for integration.

ClickUp provides a free plan that gives 100MB of storage, unlimited tasks, and unlimited users.

It's an excellent choice for freelancers compared to And. co or Hello Bonsai which don't include any features in their free plans. You'll be able to track as much time as you want on your projects with ClickUp's automatic timer.

Benefits of Using Time Tracking Tools

Time Tracking tools are useful for both teams and individuals. The main benefits include:

  • Timely Billing  

You can bill your clients or organization based on the number of hours worked. Tracking time helps accurately calculate the earned hourly wage, which is important especially if you work as a freelancer who charges per hour. It also ensures that employees do not make mistakes when recording their time.

  • Project Management

It can be used as a project management tool which is helpful in tracking the time spent on different projects.

It can also help track tasks and make sure that employees follow the project management process when working with clients or within a team environment.

  • Centralized Communication

Time Tracking tools such as ClickUp provide centralized communication channels where you can communicate with your client base, teammates, and other third-party apps like Toggl, Time Doctor, and Clockify.

Conclusion

Tracking Time is important for freelancers and companies of any size. It allows you to track the time spent on different projects, tasks, and jobs while working in a browser or with a desktop timer.

This gives you a clear picture of the time spent on different projects and allows for timely billing with accurate calculations. So, make sure you choose the right time tracking system and always track how much time is spent on specific projects.