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 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 Unfortunately, a lot of them are outdated, antiquated, or just plain suck.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.
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)
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.
Platform: Windows, OSX, Android, iOS
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 also has Android and iOS apps for tracking time on your mobile devices as well. Smart!
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 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.