It’s not the most exciting or glamorous part of running a business, but it’s oh so important!
Time tracking is not only important when you’re charging by the hour, but it’s important to know how long tasks take you to complete for two main reasons:
- You can plan your day more effectively. If you’re planning your day or week, it’s difficult to know how much you can do during those timeframes if you don’t know how long anything takes you to complete. This can result in putting too much on your schedule, which will force you to fall behind schedule and can lead to stress and overwhelm.
- You can give more accurate quotes to your customers. When you give a quote to a customer, many entrepreneurs figure out how long it will take to complete and multiply that by your hourly billable rate. You can’t do this accurately if you’re not sure how long it takes you to complete a task! Knowing how long the task will take will also allow you to give an accurate date of when a customer can expect the deliverable! This accurate time and money quote result in a win-win for you and your customer.
There are a lot of different time tracking programs available, but it can be a little overwhelming and time-consuming to try to decide which is right for you and your needs.
|Adding manual time||Yes||Yes; can require manager’s approval||Yes|
|Billable rates||With all paid versions||Yes||N/A|
|Rounding time||With all paid versions||N/A||N/A|
|Project time estimates||With all paid versions||N/A||N/A|
|Team size||1 with free version
Unlimited with all paid versions
|Integrations||iCal, Asana, Basecamp, Freshbooks, Github, Teamweek||Asana, Basecamp, Citrix, FreshBooks, FreshDesk, GitHub, Google Apps, Intellitnote, Jira, LiquidPlanner, MavenLink, Microsoft Project, Payroll Hero, Pivitol Tracker, Podio, ProjectManager.com, QuickBooks, RedMine, SalesForce, SharePoint, Slack, VisualStudio, TeamWork, todoist, Trello, unfuddle, Workflow Max, Wrike, Yammer, ZenDesk, Zoho||N/A|
|Apps||Mobile (iOS and Android)
Desktop (Win, Mac, and Lotus)
|Mobile (iOS and Android)
Desktop (Win, Mac, and Lotus)
|Screenshots||No||Yes, optional setting||No|
|Website and Application Monitoring||No||Yes||Yes; this is the main feature|
|Payroll||No||Yes, optional setting||No|
I believe that Toggl is the easiest to use of the three options. You don’t have to download anything and it can be used right in your browser.
You can easily navigate around the system by using the left menu. Here, you can view your client list, teams, project lists, workspaces, and tags as well as the timer, reports, and insights. (Insights are only available to Premium and Enterprise users.)
To track time, I simply go to the website, select the client and project, and press the start button! You really can’t get any easier!
If you’re looking for an easy application to track your time for different clients and projects, Toggl is perfect for you.
With Time Doctor, you can fully customize the projects for you and your team. You can turn on/off the following settings:
- Work schedules
- Client payments
- Website/application tracking
- Project/permanent tasks (including a user’s default project and requiring the selection of projects)
- Add clients
- GPS tracking
Time Doctor is a pretty robust system. You have the ability to do many different things. This includes:
- Tracking time for yourself to increase productivity
- Tracking billable time from you and your team to invoice your clients directly
- Tracking your employee’s time so that you can pay them through the system
It took me a little bit of time to comfortably maneuver around within Time Doctor just because I was immediately looking for a place to easily add clients and projects (similar to Toggl) to get started. Once I got used to how the system is laid out, it was much easier to navigate.
There’s a 14-day free trial, so I’d definitely recommend taking a look at Time Doctor if you’re trying to decide on a system.
RescueTime is a little different than the other two. It seems to be more focused on your own productivity and not tracking your time for certain clients and projects. It keeps track of different websites you’re on and how much time you’re spending on each while you are working.
You can categorize these websites and create goals for how productive you want to be each day. For example, a certain number of hours of productive work. You can then run different reports to see how productive you were and how much time you spent in various applications.
I did have to download the application onto my desktop but once it was downloaded, it is easy to start!
If you’re looking for something to do a self-audit to see how you’re spending your time in order to become a more productive worker, RescueTime could definitely help you.
In summary, I’d recommend:
- Toggl if you’re looking for a simple platform to track your time for clients and projects.
- Time Doctor if you’re looking for a more robust system to track and bill your clients
- Rescue Time if you’re looking to track your own habits to increase your productivity
What do you use to track your time? What do you like/dislike about it?
Amanda Leigh, with her business savvy tools and upbeat attitude, helps entrepreneurs develop systems that work for, not against them. By setting up project management systems and email management protocols curated specifically for each business, Amanda’s dedication to helping others thrive means making sure nothing is forgotten.
If you could use an extra set of hands in your business, Schedule a FREE Discovery Call here