A list of the best free and paid time management software available for Mac, PC and mobile.
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 time management 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 Unfortunately, a lot of them are outdated, antiquated, or just plain suck.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 great time management apps, please feel free to mention it in the comments.
Disclosure: links to some of the products below allow me to receive a small commission if you make a purchase. I only affiliate myself with companies that I personally feel good about.
Platform: Platforms: Windows, Linux (in development), iOS (in development), Online.
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.
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.
Platforms: Windows, OSX, Linux, Android
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 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)
Using the Pomodoro Technique is one sure way to stay focused on a task. You can read about the technique and the top 5 pomodoro apps here: What is the Pomodoro Technique?
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.
Platform: Android, iOS
Focus Booster turns your mobile into a Pomodoro timer. That lets you break up your work into manageable chunks, and it reminds you to take breaks to stay fresh.
The real benefit happens when you sync up the app and use Focus Booster’s dashboard to get feedback. If you want to use the app to track billable time, you can pay a monthly fee for exportable reports.
Price: free, $2.99 per month
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.
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.
Price: Free, $67
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.