Learn How to Keep Track of Time and Work Hours
- December 1, 2022
- by Kate Borucka
- No comments
You don’t need paper timesheets to keep track of time at work. There are better, more efficient ways of keeping track of hours worked.
Keeping track of time in the right way and with the right tools helps to stay organized and boosts productivity. It’s important to ensure that all numbers add up and your data is accurate. Otherwise, you will get lost in the jungle of figures, activities, and chaotic connections between your tasks and projects.
You can easily collect all the information, group, and categorize it to enhance your work. No more paper timesheets and complex procedures. Let’s see what’s the best way to track time and try to find the best time tracking app!
Table of Contents
Time Management as The Key to Keeping Track of Work Hours
Time tracking is effortless, provided that you know how to do it. There’s not much philosophy in turning the timer on and off, or if you prefer, filling a spreadsheet with numbers. But how you approach it and what you do with all the information can have a big impact on your work.
To get the most out of the time tracking experience and optimize the processes, consider 4 important and practical organizational aspects of time management.
As important as time management is, it is important to also track your success and find ways to improve your time management constantly. One way through which you can go over past projects in an organized way is if you create a blog. Your blog can be either private or it can be a public archive allowing potential clients to collaborate with you by giving them a better look at your past works. In order to optimize your future projects, it is vital to look from time to time at your past endeavors in order to for you to grow and see where you have and could improve.
👉 Read also about the 4 day work week.
Create a to-do list
Writing down the list of things you have to do on a given day or a week will significantly help you organize your activities. This is even more important if you’re just starting out and recently turned your hobby into a business.
It will help you see the exact amount of tasks you need to finish and better allocate time and resources to projects. Also, you will learn how to plan your workflow better. And after some time, you will have a personal task management system tailored to your needs, lifestyle, and work style.
And crossing out items from your to-do list will boost your morale as it works as a great motivator.
Additionally, your to-do list doesn’t have to be limited to a piece of paper and tasks. You can use as many tools and techniques to write down all the tasks as you want to fully personalize it. People use different ways to organize work:
- Bullet journals — if you’re a creative person, you can find many fancy journals on the market; use stickers, sticky notes, colorful pens, highlighters, and more to super-personalize the notebook
- Dedicated to-do apps — either with simple functionalities or extensive features
- Task management tools— these offer rich management functionalities; you can customize tasks with due dates, colors, assignees, add files, and comments, invite team members, and more
- Project management software— if you work on complex projects, that will be the best solution
- Time tracking apps— not only let you organize your tasks but also allow you to track time against every project directly in the app
- Note-taking apps— these are best for people who like to write down ideas on-the-go freely
Writing down all the items you need to do will help you stay focused. A to-do list will be your second brain for storing all the important information.
👉 Read also: How to save time at work?
Bill Copeland said, “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”
If you don’t set goals, you can’t achieve anything. They’re like your personal KPIs that help you measure and improve performance.
As per Rene Langer, co-founder of PICKHVAC, “Setting goals is important because they define the scope of work, your priorities, and your business values. Additionally, pursuing goals is a great way to learn persistence and how to face difficulties.”
With the right work schedule tracker, you can check if you are coming closer to your goals. It’s also a great way to monitor performance.
👉 Check our list of the best goal tracking apps.
You need to know your priorities. Make sure your daily agenda is arranged properly so you don’t waste time on insignificant duties. As Mark Twain said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
How to prioritize? Focus on those projects and activities that require immediate attention or are difficult — the big frog. Every following task should be easier.
Just think about it, doing the worst thing at the end of the day will make you feel tired and discouraged. It’s better to end the day with small activities that you can easily cross off of your to-do list.
Read more about the eat the frog technique!
Use task management apps to track multiple projects
Keeping an eye on multiple projects can be tough, especially if your team members need to participate in all of them. Such a problem requires not only flexibility in task management but also good resource planning skills.
Luckily, with a little help from a good project management tool, especially if decide to integrate it with a time tracker app, you can easily organize projects and keep an eye on deadlines and your employees’ time capacity.
Use dedicated time tracking apps
There’s nothing better than using a time tracking app to count hours worked. Once you have a plan for your work and have organized all tasks, you can track time with dedicated apps (we’ll talk about it in the next section).
You can choose from multiple time tracking software. There are simple online timers, work hour log sheets, time trackers that are part of project management tools, or stand-alone solutions with an automated tracker app that show the breakdown of your valuable time tracking data.
Of course, don’t forget to explain to your employees the importance of keeping track of time at work and why time tracking app usage is the best way to track hours worked. Honest conversations addressing all their doubts and answering all their questions will help you avoid dealing with complaints in the future.
Check How Keep Track of Hours Worked with Useful Apps
Once you master time management skills, you can use them in practice by implementing the right time tracking system – because the most efficient and simply the best to keep track of hours worked is using a time tracker app. So how to log hours to make sure you’re squeezing as much as possible from your app?
Choose the system that will help you reflect your organizational structure. Whether you are a freelancer or own a business, you can find apps tailored to your needs and preferences.
We’ve gathered the best time tracking apps with useful features that will help you track time and organize work effectively.
Automatic time keeping with desktop app
|Attendance tracking||Billable hours|
👉 Read our article on how many hours you should work a day.
1. TimeCamp – FREE time tracking app and attendance management
TimeCamp is a free time tracking app for unlimited users. It automatically tracks time and generates accurate timesheets with time logs for every task and project.
TimeCamp helps to automate and optimize workflow, and eliminate paper timesheets. It’s a combination of project management software and a productivity time tracker.
👉 Here are the main features:
- The desktop app works in the background and automatically fills your timesheets and, if you decide to, registers your daily activity,
- Time clock kiosk for basic clock in/clock out,
- Create projects and tasks with subtasks. You can also add tags to have a more specific project hierarchy and better adjust time entries (remember that no matter which plan you choose, you’ll get unlimited projects and tasks),
- Team timesheets with approvals
- A built-in calendar that shows your tracked hours in the form of a colorful timesheet
- Tracking productive and unproductive activities
- Tracking billable and non-billable hours
- Different kinds of reports that you can customize
- Attendance management with time-off, different types of vacations, holidays, and more
- Idle time detection
- You can create invoices based on hours tracked to bill clients accurately
- GPS tracking for off-site employees
- Integrations with third-party apps or via API monitoring to ensure correct functionality
- Chrome plugin that enables work tracking with 70+ additional tools
🗝️ Available for: TimeCamp syncs seamlessly across all your favorite devices. It’s is available as a web app directly in your browser, and unintrusive desktop app (for macOS, Windows, and Linux), and a native mobile app (for iOS and Android devices).
Pricing: free for unlimited users with unlimited projects and tasks. Paid plans include a Basic – $6.99 per user/month (paid annually), Pro – $9.99 per user/month (paid annually), and Enterprise – custom pricing with custom options.
👉 Read also: 15+ Time Tracking Software for Mac OS X
Don’t waste your time on paper timesheets!Keep your hours in order, sign up for a free TimeCamp account! 💚
2. Pulse – simple time tracker app
Pulse is a lightweight job hours tracker. It doesn’t have such detailed features as most of the time tracking software but it’s easy to use, transparent and has a clear, intuitive interface.
With Pulse, you can track your time in the minimalistic app for desktop, or in the web app in your favorite browser. It’s focused on being functional so you can easily create projects and log time to them.
You get a team dashboard and simplified management features, project time estimates, a live view of who’s working, and team reports. You also get time reporting system with reports with projects, users, and time spent on work.
Pulse provides a simple project overview to help monitor a company’s financial health and time people spend on work.
It’s the best time tracking app for freelancers, small teams, and small businesses that need a straightforward time clock with time reporting to bill clients accurately for projects. It’s also helpful in tracking time spent on remote work.
👉 Read more about small business time tracking.
🗝️ Available for: web and as a desktop app (Windows, macOS)
💰 Pricing: free for the individual user. 4 euros/month per user. A 30-day free trial is available.
3. WorkLog – mobile time tracking app
WorkLog is a time tracking app for mobile (Android). It’s a time log tool that keeps track of the number of hours worked and wages paid over your pay period. It’s a great solution for employees who are often on the move and need a mobile app to log work time quickly.
👉 The features of the Work Log are straightforward but make tracking time easy:
- Time clock with punching in and out, or entering time manually
- Automatic break deduction and pay period settings
- You can customize the app according to your preferences
- View your hours in a variety of ways such as by week, month, pay period, or all of your shifts at once
- Set your pay period to automatically calculate how much time you worked and your wages for each paycheck
- The app tracks expenses, tips, sales, mileage, holiday pay, and more
- Keep track of overtime hours and wages for up to two separate overtimes
Work Log is a popular mobile time tracker that lets you effectively keep track of work hours from any place in the world.
🗝️ Available only as a mobile app for Android.
💰 Pricing: free. In-purchase is available in the app.
4. focus booster – time tracking app for Pomodoro technique
The tool is a perfect solution if you’re looking for a simple Pomodoro timer to track your time in 25-minutes intervals, or if you want to try out the technique to better manage your time.
focus booster has all the necessary management features for the best time tracking software—a to-do list, simple time tracking, mini and minimalistic timer, light and dark modes, reports with date, client, or label. You can see your progress in a neat dashboard that visualizes all data. Also, you can add time entries manually to your timesheet.
The free plan of the focus booster includes 20 Pomodoro sessions per month, simple time tracking, and productivity reporting. Tracking billable hours is available only in paid plans.
🗝️ Available on: desktop (Windows, Mac), web
💰 Pricing: free with limited features. Professional plan – $4.99 per month.
5. Amazing Marvin – a personal productivity app with time tracking
Amazing Marvin is a productivity app that offers a time tracking option. It’s a lightweight, customizable task manager and daily planner for beating procrastination.
👉 Here are its time tracking features:
There are two built-in timers in Marvin: a sand timer and a tomato timer
Tracking time with time blocking; you can also schedule specific tasks or time to work on specific projects into your time blocks
Duration time estimates
Tracking time for particular tasks
Build-in start/stop timer
Total time for all your time tracking sessions for tasks
Editing time entries manually
Daily and weekly time targets
Time tracking statistics with a breakdown of your time tracked
A table view with time tracked organized by categories
Marvin allows you to build your own workflow and decide how many hours you want to spend working for different clients. The app is in a constant development process with many fancy features to come.
👉 Read also about Best Time Blocking Apps
🗝️ Available as: Marvin is available for the web, as desktop apps (Windows, Mac, and Linux), and mobile apps (android, iOS)
💰 Pricing: Amazing Marvin doesn’t offer a free. Monthly subscription – $12/per month; yearly with $8 per month (billed annually), and a Lifetime purchase billed once with $300
6. Checkiant – time tracking with employee monitoring
Checkiant is a time tracking software with employee monitoring and productivity tracking. The tool is simple but has all the necessary features you need to track your time.
Checkiant offers automatic time tracking with a simple start/stop online time tracker. You can freely add, remove, and change time entries, or track your time manually.
You receive simple reports with projects, and clients, and tracked time for all team members. Besides tracking time, you can monitor the time your employees spend on work to allocate resources better and plan workflow.
Because Checkiant doesn’t have integrations, it’s best to use it as a standalone solution. However, you can use their API to build custom features for a more personalized time tracking experience.
🗝️ Available only as an online time tracking app.
💰 Pricing: 30-day free trial is available. During this period you can try all features. After the trial, you can either stick to the freemium plan (for 1 person) or subscribe to Premium ($5 per user/month), or Enterprise ($10 per user/month).
7. DOL-Timesheet – time tracking for overtime
U.S. Department of Labor’s Mobile Timesheet app is an official governmental time tracking app. It’s an app to track hours worked and calculate pay.
There’s a simple automatic time tracker that works as a time clock. You can add or edit time entries manually. DOL helps track billable time for regular work time, break time, and overtime.
Additionally, the app calculates overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times (1.5) the regular rate of pay for all hours you work over 40 in a workweek.
Reports are available as simple timesheets with basic information—start and end time of work, breaks, total time spent on work, and date.
This DOL-Timesheet does not currently handle items such as tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, holiday pay, pay for weekends, shift differentials, or pay for regular days of rest. However, new functions are in development and are being continually added.
🗝️ The app is available only on iPad and iPhone and doesn’t integrate with other tools.
💰 Pricing: The DOL time tracking app is free of charge and you don’t pay for using it.
8. OnTheClock – attendance and time tracking
OnTheClock is an employee time clock system for small businesses and teams to track employees’ hours worked and improve payroll processing.
It’s a time tracking app that works as a working hours log and allows you to access time cards quickly, and manage employees and shifts.
The web-based time clock automatically calculates time cards, including regular and overtime, paid time off hours, and more. The number of hours and time you spend on different projects is available in timesheet reports.
Additionally, you can authorize almost any device to be used as a time clock; employees can clock in from their phone apps, a computer, or using their fingerprint. The GPS feature allows you to use OnTheClock as an employee monitoring app.
OnTheClock also offers messaging feature to communicate with your team members within one app.
🗝️ Available as: an online time tracking app, a mobile app (iOS, Android).
💰 Pricing: free plan is available for up to 2 users. Pricing starts at $3.50 per user per month. Free 30-day trial with all features is available.
9. Hours TimeLord – mobile time tracker app for task management and goals tracking
If you rather prefer using mobile apps for day-to-day Hours TimeLord can be the tool you’re looking for. It shows your time tracking data in total and the breakdown of time entries for each task you’ve been working on, all in a neat, visual way.
Hours TimeLord allows you to set up multiple trackers (up to 5 timers at once in a free plan, expands to unlimited trackers in paid plans) – it’s up to you whether you want to track time for a specific task or just launch a running timer for the general one.
As most of the time tracking software described here, the tool offers time reporting. They get you an insight into how many hours you usually spend on particular tasks. You can export them to PDF or CSV files and send them to your clients as perfect proof of work.
Hours TimeLord stands out among other mobile apps for time tracking with its visual capabilities. The tool allows you to personalize how you want to see the stats of time spent at work – you can choose from 100+ colors, e.g., different ones for each client project or task.
What differentiates the tool from other time tracking tools is its pricing structure which includes three personal plans and one for teams; it allows adding up to 5 team members.
🗝️ Available as: a mobile app for iOS and Android
💰 Pricing: Hours TimeLord is a free time tracking app, but only in its limited version. Paid plans start at $9.99 per year
10. Keeping – a simple online time tracker
Freelancers often struggle with proper recording of actual time spent working for their clients. A proper time tracker app solves that problem – so does Keeping, which offers a nicely packed free plan that should meet every solopreneur’s needs.
Keeping is one of these time tracking tools that, besides registering working hours, also accurately track and report non-billable and billable time, giving you an insight into your business’ revenues. You can then create invoices based on time entries and send them to your customers. The tool also integrates with accounting apps.
Like many other time tracking apps, Keeping also offers reporting feature. You can determine what to include in the report – projects, tasks, team members, and the number of working hours. Generate the report and send them to your clients as an Excel, PDF, or CSV file.
Moreover, you can also use the features of this simple time tracking app to maintain the highest level of productivity tracking and gain insights into the team’s performance.
🗝️ Available as: a web app, mobile apps for iOS and Android, extensions for Chrome and Firefox
💰 Pricing: If you’re a freelancer, Keeping offers a free time tracking app that offers features like timesheets and project budgets. For unlimited users, there are two dedicated paid plans (€ 5,40 and €16 per user per month) that include e.g. most of the integrations.
11. WebWork – Time Tracking and Employee Monitoring Software
WebWork is a time tracking and employee monitoring software. It is suitable for all types of teams. WebWork aims to boost productivity and reflects how you work. Also, it helps you to focus, improve work-life balance, and make the best out of your work.
Here are the main features:
Screenshots – Have proof of work with 4 screenshot modes.
Attendance monitoring – Get amount reports and generate invoices to get paid.
Activity level – Get detailed information of your activities by percentage based on mouse clicks and keyboard strokes.
Reports – Analyze your daily activities with tables, charts and graphs.
Task management – Assign tasks and track the time spent on each of them.
Invoice – Set an hourly rate in the billable contract and generate an invoice.
Apps & Websites – Get detailed information about how exactly you spend your working time by monitoring the visited apps & websites.
Time tracking – Review and analyze your working hours.
Billable hours – Get amount reports and generate invoices to get paid.
Member types – Set different Member Types in your team and give certain permissions to get valuable results of your workflow.
WebWork makes it easy to work from anywhere in the world. With WebWork, you will make your work experience better.
Read also about what’s new on WebWork – HR Tools.
🗝️ Available for: Windows, Linux and macOS.
💰 Pricing: Basic ($4,99) and Enterprise plan. (Custom$)
Other Ways to Track Work Hours
Statistics show that the global time tracking market size will grow at a CAGR of almost 20.69% until 2025. Automatic time tracking apps are the most popular form of tracking time since it helps to fill timesheets and boosts productivity accurately.
And you can keep track of how much time you spend working in various ways, not only with the use of time tracking software.
One of the latest trends in the time tracking market is the Polygon – a device that helps to manage time. This is another tool for people who want to keep track of time in a simple and efficient way. Polygon goes with dedicated time tracking software that lets you monitor your worked hours. Such devices are more a gadget, but they are perfect for people who like to try out new things and experiment.
Another form for tracking time includes productivity apps – to-do lists, work and task management tools, or specialistic project management software. These tools often offer the feature of tracking time, but it’s not as expanded as in dedicated time tracking apps.
However, if you are more of a traditionalist, you may want to use simple timesheets for keeping track of hours, for example, Excel or paper timesheets. In spite of its simplicity, it may not be a good idea to use a spreadsheet unless you use ready
👉 Read also: The Best Weekly Schedule Templates That Will Help You Organize Time
What Is Your Favorite Way to Track Time Spent At Work?
There are many productivity and time tracking apps, both mobile and desktop, which are helpful in monitoring and keeping track of work time. Before you decide to use any of them, make sure it corresponds to your business needs.
You can easily experiment and play with tools, methods, and gadgets. Also, there are plenty of people who are experts on time management and whose advice can help you in your work. You can read books, blogs, and learn how to track time effectively.
Also, try to establish your own routines and strategies because you are the only person who truly knows your work style. If you’re willing to implement changes and maintain consistency, your productivity will skyrocket.
Keeping track of hours is a way of organizing work, not trying to act like a robot. So remember that it’s there to help you become more efficient, not to make you feel like you’re under control.
Good luck, hope you’ll soon be able to say, “I found the perfect tool or way to keep track of my work hours!” 😉
👉 Check this article about best time keeping apps
Co-author: Ola Rybacka, Content Specialist at TimeCamp