Helping Creative People Create

Time Management Software

A list of the best free and paid time management software available for Mac, PC and mobile (updated frequently).

Time management is critically important to your day. Let’s face it: Everyone has the same 24 hours. It’s those who utilize those hours to the fullest that make the most of their days.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” ~ William Penn

To help with the task of managing our day, there are some wonderful digital tools available for just about any platform. Unfortunately, a lot of them are outdated, antiquated, or just plain suck. I’ve taken the time to find the best of the best, so that you can quickly find the best solution for you.

If you think I’m missing a resource, please feel free to mention it in the comments.

RescueTime

Platforms: Windows, OSX, Linux, Android

RescueTime

RescueTime is easily one of my favorite time tracking applications. It tracks how you use your computer, from soup to nuts. It tracks what websites you use, and then breaks them into categories for more in-depth look. You can block yourself from distracting websites, and even set manual timers away from the computer.

RescueTime overview

RescueTime is geared more towards individuals just curious about their usage, and less towards companies trying to track their billing.

There’s a free and full-featured paid version of RescueTime available.

Price: Free, Paid($9/month)

Chrometa

Platform: Windows, OSX, Android, iOS

Chrometa

Chrometa is cut from the same vein as RescueTime in that it automatically tracks everything you do on your computer and neatly categorizes it. Emails, what article you were reading (and how long it took to read it), etc.

Where Chometa and RescueTime diverge is Chrometa also provides a way to bill clients. You can track meeting, phone usage, and even invoice clients straight from within the app.

Chrometa overview of features

Chrometa also has Android and iOS apps for tracking time on your mobile devices as well. Smart!

Price: $19/month-$49/month

Timers

Here are some simple timers for different platforms. I’ve found that timers on mobile devices are quite handy, so there are a few of those listed in here.

Timeless

Platform: iOS

Timeless timer for iPhone

Timeless is an absolutely stunning iPhone app that takes the default timer app by Apple to a whole new level. You can have multiple timers, stopwatch and countdown modes and gestures and sounds. Themes and labels help customize the app, and its brightly-colored schema is quite refreshing for a so-called boring application.

timeless screenshots

Price: $0.99

Timer

Platform: Android

Timer for Android

Timer–much like the above Timeless–is another beautiful mobile app that greatly enhances the stock timers that come with the phone. With more sounds, themes and overall polish, Timer makes for a great add-on to help with timing.

Price: $0.99

ManicTime

Platform: Windows

ManicTime

ManicTime is a simple, old school timer for Windows. While this list has only the best and most current timing software, I felt it fine to include this. ManicTime is a no-frills timer, and allows you to view interesting charts about your time tracked. It’s not automated though, so you’ll have to start and stop the timers.

ManicTime dashboard

Price: Free, $67

SlimTimer

Platform: Web

SlimTimer

SlimTimer is another dated application that hasn’t changed a whole lot since 2006. That said, it’s still quite handy (and free), so it’s worth noting. You create tasks and then time your work done on each task.

Price: Free

Klock

Platform: Windows, Mac

Klock is a slick project management time tracker that shows you a holistic view of where your time went while working. How much time did you spend on every aspect of the past project? Klock will tell you.

Klock screen of features

Klock is a bit different from other time tracking software for groups in that you can integrate it with other popular team management software like Harvest, Freshbooks, Basecamp, and others.

A nice bonus: you can also sync to their cloud platform for free with the one-time purchase of the software.

Here’s a video overview of the Klock dashboard.

Price: $19

hr

Platform: Mac

HR is quite simple. Create tasks, and then start timing each task. The app lives in your Mac’s menu bar, so it’s out of the way but still always available.

The minimal functionality and design is quite refreshing from the other programs offering boatloads of features.

HR timer for mac

Calendars

I’d be remiss to leave out some of the most important software when it comes to time management: calendars.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar

Platform: Web

There used to be other worthy competitors in years past, but Google Calendar has outlived them all and has become the de facto calendar of the Web. Useful and trusty, it’s the easiest of the online calendars to use. It also recieves bonus points for being integrated with other Google products like Gmail.

Google calendar - add an event

If you’re new to Google Calendar, here’s a video tutorial for managing the basics of GCal.

Price: Free

Paper-based systems

While it’s not software, there’s something to be said for a simple, paper-based task timer. The best out there (as far as I’ve seen) is Dave Seah’s Emergent task timer. Excellent for a quick printout to see what you’ve been up to while working.

Emergent task timer

I find that writing out exactly what I’ve been doing and how long it takes can sometimes bring a bit more clarity and awareness to how my day is going. Your mileage may vary, however.

Price: Free

Invoicing

For the web-based professional, there are plenty of tools that can help with time tracking and invoicing. Here are some of the best.

FreshBooks

Platform: Web, Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android

Freshbooks overview

Freshbooks is the granddaddy of the “Web 2.0″ invoicing and billing web software. They’ve gotten so much bigger and better over the years, it’s hard to compare. You can track your time spent on client work over a myriad of platforms (desktop, web, mobile, etc.), and simple billing as well.

Freshbooks - painless billing for freelancers

On top of all that, FreshBooks has an addons directory of tons of different platforms that FreshBooks integrates with to make working and tracking time easier. Everybody wins!

Price: Free, $19-$39/month

Other time management resources

If you’re like me and always wanting to learn more about how to make the most of my time, here are a few resources that I’ve found helpful.

26 Time Management Hacks I Wish I’d Known at 20

A brilliant presentation. Number 1 is probably my favorite, outlining how the author spent his days vs. how the author wished he’d spent his days.

The Pomodoro Technique

The pomodoro timer is merely a simple kitchen timer (pomodoro is Italian for “tomato”). However, there is a technique that involves setting the simple kitchen timer for 25 minutes, working on a task, and then taking a 5 minute break. After every four pomodor cycles, take a longer break. Easy.

The pomodoro timer method

The Pomodoro Method outlined visually (via The Pomodoro Technique

What I love about this time mangement technique is the simplicity. Just a kitchen timer (or any timer, really), and 25 minutes of head down work. I love it.

Phillip Zimbardo and the Psychology of Time

Phillip Zimbardo is a psychologist who gave an intriguing TED talk on how humans find happiness and success best: by putting perspective on our place in time. It seems like common sense, but Zimbardo neatly shows how those who can delay gratification have shown us again and again to be an indicator of success.

Food for thought, anyway :)

Helpful? Share it!

  • http://www.sightseeinternational.com/ Bruce Marjoribanks

    If your after time tracking, time sheets and project management take a look a http://www.projectmanager.com

    • Steve

      Great List! , one more very powerful tool must be present in the list i.e proofhub.

  • Henrik

    If you’re looking for the best of the best, try the free Android app Timesheet from LlamaLab. It calculates overtime and handles expenses and milage, it can also automated with NFC tags.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.llamalab.timesheet.free

  • Andras Eliassen

    I have personally used Paymo – it also does kinda what Chrometa does, and it provides a free plan. http://www.paymo.biz

  • Amisha Ekaant

    Replicon’s time management software is the best application I’ve ever found. I personally looked at over 50 time tracking apps and found this software to be the best. I recently bought this software for my new business. I’m completely satisfied with my choice.

    It is specially designed for mac, pc and iphone users that automatically monitors the time and tracks your projects without the hassle of manual entry. It is also integrated with quickbooks and I found it to be much better than the traditional stopwatch apps.

    You guys should definitely checkout this! Here’s the link ( http://www.replicon.com/olp/online-time-recording-software.aspx )

    • Jakub

      Don´t like Replicon, because user interface is really confusing and making me desoriented, because I don´t like this kind of raw design. For me its not user friendly.

      I like primaERP / TIME TRACKING much more, not just becouse of UI,UX…

  • Emma

    I would also suggest looking at Replicon time management software – http://www.replicon.com/ which is so easy to use and has nice intuitive features.

  • Xavier Bennett

    For freelancers, consultants and small businesses, I think AccountSight (http://www.accountsight.com) is an excellent time and expense tracking software. It has a simple and superbly user friendly interface. With a lot of unique features like easy upload of client manager timesheet approval copy, multiple expense submission approvals, recurring invoices. Also, the dashboard is really powerful for analysis purpose.

  • Jakub

    Surprising that there is no web based app mentioned… I appreciate web based, because I can acess it anywhere.

    I use http://www.primaerp.com – its very intuitive, localised to many languages and its free!

  • Pav

    OmniContext personal analytics is another web based app. Tracks android, windows and windows phone activities http://omnicontext.org

  • Jacob Wilson

    I like using Timeneye Time Tracking (http://www.timeneye.com) for time tracking, it’s very easy to use and it integrates with Basecamp, which is a huge plus. Hope it helps!

  • Michelle Noder

    Thank you! Good info!
    But this list misses 1 great and easy utility,
    which I’ve been using for 1 year.
    The prog is called NkTimeTracker Pro.
    http://nicekit.com/time-tracking/nk-time-tracker.htm

  • tim

    I love this beautiful and simple Windows gadget Pomodoro timer: http://mitchfournier.com/2014/02/04/a-free-and-simple-windows-7-gadget-pomodoro-timer/

  • Jimmy

    Why to go with separate time tracker. Choose proofhub.com to manage all your projects with time tracking facility.

  • http://www.tiempoapp.com Tad Milbourn

    Tiempo (I’m a co-founder) is new entrant to the time tracking space aiming to make time tracking as simple and straightforward as possible. Check us out and let us know if we’re delivering on that goal! http://www.tiempoapp.com

  • Jimmy

    I am currently utilizing a straightforward online project management tool called proofhub.com. What I like about it (other than free) is that it is facilitated online and permits me to oversee ventures and assignments, notes, to-do’s, gantt diagram, time following, and so on. It additionally permits me to transfer reports and documents to a focal spot to sort out everything. It is a basic programming bundle, yet packs a great deal of characteristics.

  • http://www.proofhub.com/ Leesa Dercyke

    Nice list. Have you heard about Proofhub? It’s great! Nice interface, cool features, awesome design, easy to use. You can have a look at http://www.proofhub.com/

  • Guoyin Yong

    Thanks for your suggestion! Time management software does help me a lot in work and life. A good time management system could develop your work efficiency largely! You can have try!

  • Elizabeth

    Recommend a time management program for PC , which is very easy to use with reminder function, that is Efficient Reminder.

  • Nancy

    I found Yaware few months ago. It tracks internet and software usage.The app evaluates productivity and provides detailed reports online.
    http://yaware.com/

  • RinniR

    I’m looking now for easy time-tracker for Windows/Mac/smartphones… Right now I use Hamster Indicator on Ubuntu. It’s great, so I want to recommend it for others, but other people usually use other OS. So which one you recommend? I think about simple, and free one? Like Hamster… Some big propositions here are… Too big. Looks like i would spend most of my time using this time managers, I just look for simple tracker, I write what I do and it check how long time I do it.