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 Unfortunately, a lot of them are outdated, antiquated, or just plain suck.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)

TMetric Time Tracker

Platform: Platforms: Windows, Linux (in development), iOS (in development), Online.

TMetric

TMetric is a free time-tracking app with a simple interface for freelancers and teams of any size. It allows you to create new tasks, projects and clients, add tags, edit your working hours, and set billable time and rates on every project and task you work with.

TMetric's main interface

The software also allows you to get detailed reports on tasks and projects. TMetric also can be integrated with many other services you use, for example, Trello, Asana and others.

TMetric - task summary

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!

  • 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!

    • James Wallburg

      You should check Livetecs.com Its web-based as well. It is the best online Time management software which provide Project management, employee management and much much more.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Janek Godlewski

    Another powerful time tracking software is http://www.timecamp.com . It’s cross-platform tool, free for freelancers and not expensive for firms. It’s easy to operate, smart and intuitive, also really accurate. It made my work more easy and profitable.

  • Nice list, I’ve tried some of these apps already. I currently use Mobile Worker (http://www.mworker.com), which has one-click time tracking, document sync with Dropbox, invoicing, etc. Unfortunately, it’s only available on Android devices. But if you’re looking for something light and simple to use, that’s probably one of the best options.

  • gigi_igig

    I’m using http://www.cloudtimr.com/ ,very simple to use, it’s perfect for single users/freelances or small companies, and it’s free!

  • John William

    Nice List,

    Would like to add Invoicera to web based time tracking and invoicing tool. Invoicera is a feature rich software which allows you to track time and expenses, manage tasks and projects.Besides that it has got a simple user interface that save you a-lot of precious time.

    Manager
    http://www.invoicera.com

  • thank you for the list!

  • I’d like to suggest Fanurio (http://www.fanuriotimetracking.com) which is a time tracking and billing software application, highly appreciated by freelancers for its intuitive interface, flexible timer and ability to produce detailed invoices.

    Fanurio is not free but it has a free trial. It costs 59 USD (which means about $5/month for the first year) and you can use it for life.

    I know that there are many freelancers who prefer to use a desktop application in order to keep their data on their own computers. Since Fanurio is a desktop application, it integrates very well with the platforms it runs on. On OS X, you can easily access timers from the the menu bar and from the dock icon menu. On Windows, you can start a new timer or control the active timer from the thumbnail toolbar or from the tray icon. You can also use global hotkeys to control the timers from within any running application.

    Fanurio is used by many freelancers not just to track time but to bill their clients as well. Fanurio can export invoices to HTML, PDF, Microsoft Word 2007, OpenOffice OpenDocument and other formats so they can be printed or e-mailed. Invoice templates can be created manually, with a visual editor (Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Word or OpenOffice) or with the built-in template editor.

    I hope this helps.

  • John Klosovsky

    Great apps, but I think the list will be more perfect if TimeCamp (https://www.timecamp.com) was added to it.

  • James Wallburg

    Time & Project Management either Cloud or PC, TimeLive is best. It gives you the freedom to evaluate your projects, tasks, employees and their progress with expense without leaving anything behind. Even in office and out office. I am using it for my company for more than 4 yrs and Its online 24/7 support help me whenever I need something new. I recommend Livetecs.com

    You should explore it yourself. here is the link http://www.livetecs.com/time-tracking/

  • Thank for Sharing great information. we would like to add more tool here for accounting and invoice I.e. Moon Invoice. iCloud sync for iOS and Mac OSX for small businesses and individual.

    Main Modules:- Invoices, estimates, purchase orders, customers, vendors, payment receipts and multiple companies support- 22 Professional PDF templates http://www.mooninvoice.com

  • StefanS

    Thanks for sharing this great listing. Some of these tools I use myself. Another one which I would add is free.lookeen.com . It saves me a lot oft time during work.

  • Do consider Daily Notes. You can create a category representing the different aspects of your life in it, eg. work, home, projects, garden, etc. then in each, you can add in your to-do lists, notes, reminders, voice recordings and even PDF attachments, photos and sketches.

    It’s like a time management/ calendar app program that can turn into a journal, daily log sheet, voice recorder, project management system and more.

    Do check it out!

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/daily-notes-daily-journal/id364739177?mt=8

    http://blog.dailynotes.biz/2015/05/29/how-to-use-daily-notes-as-a-planner/

  • This is great list of software.. Great Thanks for sharing..

    Web Development India

  • Chris Froelich

    Great list. I’d also add ZipBooks! It does both invoicing and time tracking and you can track time from your browser with their browser extension. It’s worth taking a look! http://www.zipbooks.com

  • Ella Jamerson

    I did actually try Klock after reading this, it looked very cool and modern etc. Really found it quite confusing to look at and not really meeting our needs, Dooster was the alternative we have stuck with.

  • George Cooper

    I can advice you to try TMetric (https://tmetric.com/). This time tracker is absolutely free, easy and convenient. Work day is visualized as a timeline. There are also capabilities to prepare various reports and integrations with popular project management systems such as Asana, Basecamp, GitHub, Redmine, Trello and other features.

  • r0dric

    I found some software that catch my interest here. Thanks for the list.

  • Henri Tukiainen

    For task-based time tracking, Minuut.io (http://minuut.io) is a nice alternative if you want to keep it simple and just track your time per task. It’s also free and doesn’t require registration.

  • Nikhil

    You had mentioned the best list. Just to add on i am using Apptivo software. It helps to create invoice based on the time spent on the projects.

  • Jose

    Hello,

    We’ve recently launched our personal productivity software which currently has over 500 users. Although it’s still a beta version, Kiply allows you to track your activity in order to know how you really spend your time while using your computer.

    With Kiply you automatically record your activity in real time and keep it completely private. You can view your activity either on the web or on your desktop app, as well as create new projects and see your progress according to your goals.

    You can download Kiply beta version from our website http://www.kiply.com at no cost. Please share your thoughts about it! :)

  • Jannete Stanfield

    Thoughtful blog post ! Just to add my thoughts , if others requires to merge some PDF files , my colleagues encountered a tool here http://goo.gl/Ujzj2g

  • Bhavesh Koladiya

    Nice article. Toggl is also a free time management software that allows organizations and people to manage worker timesheets easily. Here list of free and open source time management software businesses that individuals should take advantage – http://goo.gl/KHhYf3

    Note: I don’t have any commercial arrangement from Toggl..

  • Alexander

    Hi LifeDev, nice summary! I have one thing you may want to do in order to help keep your readers on-page: add the rel=0 tag to all your YouTube embeds. See screenshot: http://screencast.com/t/hfJXKZ4FI

    And of course I think the list would benefit from a mention of Time Doctor as well (www.TimeDoctor.com). Its focus is on high accuracy and monitoring other productivity metrics like keyboard and mouse activity and web & app usage.

    Cheers!

  • Alena Subotina

    Hello, thanks for the list. Personally I tried many time tracker tools, but chose TMetric (https://tmetric.com/). It provides time tracking, work session monitoring, reporting tools, integration with popular project management systems and totally free of charge.

  • José Miguel Lucas

    I had a major issue with my deadlines… and, as a consequence, I tended to work all night long to compensate…
    I thought it would be good to have a software that would automatically reschedule my tasks in the calendar, until I finished the one I was working on… and I found one that does precisely that: AgendaGuru and it seems to be extraordinarily simple!
    It is still a beta version and only available online for computers, but has anyone tested it (www.agendaguru.com)?

  • Thanks for Sharing Nice stuff with us.

  • Matt Davon

    Great source of time tracking software! How about other solutions like teamdeck (https://teamdeck.io) or toggl / harvest?

  • You should also have TimeSheet Reporter on this list, since it makes it possible to track time based on your Outlook appointments.
    http://www.timesheetreporter.com

    Thanks,
    Thomas
    How to find the Best timesheet software