Where does the time go? With too much going on, it’s impossible to keep track of where those hours there doesn’t seem to be enough of went. A great way to get on top of your schedule is to log your hours and visualize your time. You’ll be able to see which tasks take the most time to do, which tasks take longer than they need to, which tasks may require more attention, and what your biggest time wasters are.
Toggl is a great free, simple, and intuitive application that allows you to track your time on your desktop or with any mobile device. Its simplicity is key and easily its best feature, but for a free app it offers a ton for your business. The tool integrates with a ton of other tools you might use like BaseCamp, FreshBooks, QuickBooks, or ActiveCollab. You can see clear reports and graphs to see where your day went and forward those reports in Excel or PDF formats. You can also track a team’s hours and even allot hours for specific projects. The app is free for up to 5 users but larger businesses will need to upgrade to the Pro edition at $5 per user.
Harvest is another popular time tracking and invoicing tool that offers a few more features than Toggl but costs more as well. Harvest allows you to track your time on a desktop or mobile device, provides extensive reports and graphs to help you visualize where your time went, manages your team’s hours and budget, sends invoices right from the app, and offers timesheet approval features. There’s also Google Apps integration, and other 3rd party add-ons. If you are a single user, you can get a free version that supports 2 projects and 4 clients but others will have to pay. A solo account for 1-3 users costs $12 per month, a basic account for 5-10 users costs $40 per month, and a business account for 10+ users costs $90 per month.
RescueTime is a different kind of time tracking tool but one that is very effective and helpful. RescueTime lets you see exactly where you spend time on your phone, tablet, and computer. You simply download the app and let it run in the background. The app will record exactly what applications and websites you are using. You can check in as often as you like to see how much time you spent on work and how much time you spent on Facebook. The app is great for spotting trouble times and zones in your day and doesn’t let you get away with spending an hour playing Words With Friends.