Tracking your time is an important yet overlooked aspect of freelancing or running a business where you bill hourly. Even if you don’t bill hourly, it’s a great idea to track your time to be able to see what you spend your time on. Following are a few tools for time-tracking on Mac.
Billings - Link - $29.99 one-time or $4.99/month
Billings is a very popular application and it’s one of my favorites. It features beautiful interface for both quoting, invoicing and time-tracking. The time-tracker is easily accessible, sitting in your menubar where you can start and pause it as you wish.
Besides time-tracking, it also has recurring invoicing, one-click invoicing, multi-currency support, Address Book integration and many other great features. One of the best things about it that it comes with a very nice partnering iPhone application.
Freshbooks - Link - $0’79.95
Freshbooks is my choice of application for both expense-tracking, invoicing and time-tracking. Features include thorough reports, multiple currencies, both email and affordable snail mail invoicing, automatic invoice creation, client login, your own branding and much more.
Most of the time I use the very simple web interface but there are also both MacOS X and Windows widgets available, as well as iPhone and Android applications for expense- and time-tracking. It integrates with other popular applications such as Tick, Basecamp, Clarity Accounting and many more.
Actually, one of the strongest features of Freshbooks is the add-ons you can use. You can choose between seven options for accounting and seven other options for CRM. However, for me Freshbooks alone is enough for most projects. For larger jobs, I integrate it with Basecamp to handle most of the communication.
ProfitTrain - Link - $49.95
ProfitTrain is another popular application that was previously known as Billable. Like Billings, is features time-tracking and Address Book synchronization, as well as expense tracking, todo-lists, reports and much else.
ProfitTrain is a bit more expensive than Billings but it’s still a decent price. The interface isn’t bad but neither is it as polished as Billings.
Cashboard - Link - Free or $10+/month
This is the first web based application on this list. Cashboard is definitely not as good-looking as the previous two but it features some of the same functionality’time-tracking, expense tracking, estimates and more.
It’s a fully brand-able web application and a nice feature (if you use it) is that it integrates with Basecamp. To make it easy to track your time, there are widgets for Mac and Windows as well as three third-party iPhone applications to choose from.
FreelanceSwitch made a review of Cashboard, available here.
Harvest - Link - Free or $12’90/month
Another nice time-tracking application with widgets for Mac, Windows and Yahoo! Widgets. There is a free plan available and there’s also a business about for as much as $90/month. Having one active user would suit freelancers and costs $12/month.
It has a nicer interface than Cashboard and also integrates with Basecamp. In case you use QuickBooks for bookkeeping, you’ll be able to export data from Harvest. It’s available as both a native iPhone application and a web-based iPhone interface.
OnTheJob - Link - $39.95
Another beautifully designed time- and expense tracking application that lets you create professional invoices. It features multi-currency, automatic idle time detection and a menubar timer for easy access. You can set invoice number generation settings for each individual client.
In case you bill clients from multiple companies, this application features user profiles where you can have different logos, names and addresses. You’re can simply assign these profiles to clients to have the correct information automatically appear on the client’s invoice.
TimeLog - Link - ???????19 (~$23.15)
TimeLog is a pretty attractive application that according to the website is available in more than 10 languages. It’s tightly integrated with Mac OS X, using iCal to check the time you spend on projects and you can assign clients to projects from the Address Book. I’m not sure exactly how it works but it sounds pretty neat.
The application also integrates with GrandTotal which handles invoices and estimations. It has a nice interface and a lot of great features such as a layout editor, reports, export options, tax settings, account statements, drag and drop support and more. Both applications are bundles at $59 (~$71.89).
TimeTracker - Link - Free
If you’re looking for a free desktop application for time-tracking, this may be one for you. TimeTracker is a simple application for tracking time and you can use the menubar to start and stop the timer. Though it’s not as feature-filled or clean as some of the other applications mentioned, it does the job.
RescueTime - Link - Free’$15 per user/month
RescueTime is a bit different from the other applications we’ve talked about. It sits in the background, tracking how much time you spend on the web sites you visit. This lets you see how much time you spend on entertainment each day’no need to enter any data yourself.
It’s not really an invoicing application, it’s more of a productivity app. An example of this is the “Focus Mode??????? which blocks out your distractions for a specified amount of time. This can be a valuable complimentary app that you can use to not only track but also save time, as it warns you if you spend too much unproductive time.
Slife - Link - $5’$10/month
Slide is similar to RescueTime since it too tracks the time you spend on applications and web sites. You’re also able to log other activities that are not recorded automatically, such as phone calls and meetings.
A nice feature is that Sife can export data to my favorite time-tracking application, Freshbooks, so that you can easily create invoices from the time tracked. Finally, you can specify goals for your activities and Slife will keep track of them for you.
Timepost - Link - $39
Timepost is another application that sits in your menubar for easy access. It also integrates with many popular apps, for example Freshbooks, Basecamp, Harvest, Blinksale and more. It seems very simple to use, you can create unlimited timers and it automatically detects idle-time for you so you don’t have to pause the timer every time you leave your computer.
Flow - Link - $99
Flow is a lot more expensive than the other applications in this list but it also does a whole lot of things and has a slick interface. This app gives you a visual interface where you can see how your project files are connected, on a so called Workflow Map.
Of course, it also offers time-tracking but the unique selling point is the intuitive interface. It’s got “Visual Versioning” which is a complete history of your files, and even keeps thumbnails and metadata of all revisions.????
If this sounds interesting, I suggest you try the application yourself to get a feel for it. Since I’m personally more of a developer, I’m satisfied with the version control of the classic Subversion I’m using and I can use that for deployment to production as well. This could be a really valuable application for designers though.
e-TIM - Link - Free
If you’re looking at free alternatives, e-TIM may be something for you. While it doesn’t have a fancy interface, it does track your time. It also has “Eyes Mode???????, telling you when it’s time to take a break for your eyes, and “Notification Mode??????? which lets you know when your time expires.
Minco - Link - $12.69
A lightweight application, Minco integrates with iCal where it will visualize your work and create tasks from Mail and any other iCal integrated application. It has a very simple interface which sits conveniently in your menubar. The generated data can be used in SQL databases, accounting systems, Numbers/Pages and more’it’s possible to also use it on a PC.
Tick - Link - Free’$79/month
Tick is a web-based application with a fairly simple interface, and it’s generously accompanied by a free iPhone application in the App Store. It shows you how much time is left when working on a budget, and integrates with 37signals Basecamp. The reporting is very clutter-free and the whole application very simple to use.
According to the web site, Tick is used by the very good agency Happy Cog which tells us that it’s a great application. It has also gotten a very positive review from designer and author Cameron Moll.
Toggl - Link - Free’$79/month
Toggle has gotten positive reviews by both LifeHacker and FreelanceSwitch, as well as many mentions on Twitter. It’s not only available on Mac but also on Windows, Linux and the iPhone. It has both a web interface and a desktop application.
You can choose between Toggle Classic, featuring more functionality, and Toggle Nano, which is smaller and simpler. It’s also possible to embed it into iGoogle, Netvibes, Gmail or your personal intranet using an iframe.
ProfitTrain - Link - $49.95
This is a desktop application that let’s you track both time and expenses. A nice feature is that it allows you to see a full balance sheet. The invoices look great and the interface seems very simple to use. It also allows you to send estimations for your projects.
As you can see, there are many time-tracking applications to choose from with many different features and strength. Ask yourself if you need expense-tracking, invoicing and other features, then go ahead and try out a few applications. As mentioned earlier, my personal favorites are Freshbooks and Billings.