In the world of freelancing, time is quite literally money. It’s the currency you trade for your skills, expertise, and creativity. Mastering time management can be the difference between a thriving freelance business and one that struggles to make ends meet. That’s why savvy freelancers turn to time tracking tools to optimize their productivity and ensure they’re charging their clients accurately for the time spent on tasks.
If you’re a freelancer looking to take your time management to the next level, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will explore the top three time tracking tools that are user-friendly and offer features specifically tailored for freelancers. These tools can help you track time, manage tasks, generate invoices, and more – all to make your freelance work more efficient and profitable.
We’ll go over the following topics throughout this article. You may go straight to your desired section by clicking any of the links below or keep reading as we dive into the world of time tracking tools for freelancers.
- Benefits Of Time Tracking For Freelancers
- Must-Have Features For A Time Tracker Software For Freelancers
- Choosing The Best Time Tracking Tool For You
- 3 Best Time Tracking Tools For Freelancers
- Making The Most Of Time Tracking As A Freelancer
- Final Thoughts
Benefits Of Time Tracking For Freelancers
If you are a freelancer who gets paid per word, you may think that time tracking is useless to you. Why track time if you are simply going to submit a certain quota of words?
Time tracking can be immensely valuable to freelancers in several ways. Here are three of the best.
1. Time tracking can help you become more efficient.
When you track how much time you spend on each task, you begin to better understand how long different projects take you. This information can help you to budget your time better and become more efficient in your work.
2. Time tracking can help you avoid burnout.
Freelancers are particularly susceptible to burnout, as they often have a different job security level than those working in traditional employment arrangements. Time tracking can help you be more mindful of how much time you spend on your work and take breaks accordingly.
3. Time tracking boosts your productivity.
In addition to helping you become more efficient and preventing burnout, time tracking can also boost your productivity. When you can see the amount of time you are spending on different tasks, you can focus on those that provide the most value. This will help you get more done in less time.
4. Time tracking ensures accurate billing.
One of the main advantages of time tracking for freelancers is the ability to bill clients accurately. By keeping a precise record of the time spent on a project, you can ensure you’re compensated fairly for your work. This also fosters trust with clients, as they know they are paying for the time you’ve dedicated to their projects.
5. Time tracking can provide insights for future project estimates.
Tracking time lets you gather valuable data about how long specific tasks or projects usually take. This information can be beneficial when estimating the time and cost for future projects. Over time, you’ll be able to provide more accurate estimates to your clients, which can lead to increased client satisfaction and less stress for you in meeting deadlines.
6. Time tracking can aid in achieving a better work-life balance.
Freelancers often struggle to separate their professional and personal lives, especially when working from home. By tracking your work hours, you can delineate when you’re “at work” and “off the clock.” This can help you establish boundaries and ensure you’re making time for rest, hobbies, and personal relationships, ultimately leading to a healthier work-life balance.
So, even if you aren’t billing by the hour, time tracking has plenty to offer in productivity and a more efficient workflow.
Must-Have Features For A Time Tracker Software For Freelancers
Choosing a time tracking software can be overwhelming with the many options available. While it’s ultimately up to you to decide which tool best suits your freelancing needs, certain features are invaluable. Here are six must-have features to look for in a time tracking program:
1. Multiple Project Tracking
As a freelancer, you’re likely juggling multiple projects at once. A good time tracking tool will allow you to easily switch between tasks and projects, keeping a separate timer. This can give you a clear picture of your time on each project, helping you manage your workload more effectively.
2. Customized Timesheet Creation
Customizable timesheets are a must for freelancers as they work with many clients on a project basis. The ability to add detailed notes, categorize tasks, and adjust time logs manually gives you the flexibility to adapt the tool to your workflow. Plus, it simplifies reviewing your time data and creating reports for clients.
3. Billing and Invoicing
Look for a tool that integrates time tracking with billing and invoicing. This feature allows you to create invoices based on your tracked time directly within the software, ensuring accurate billing and saving you from the hassle of manual calculations.
Forbes emphasized the importance of billing automation in driving digital growth. Maintaining various pricing models and ensuring a positive customer experience necessitates accurate, timely, and consistent automated billing. Such a system not only streamlines the financial operations but also makes the inflow of cash more predictable for freelancers.
4. Integrations with Other Tools
Your time tracking tool should play nice with the other tools you use daily. Whether it’s project management software, communication apps, or your favorite calendar tool, integration can streamline your workflow and save you from switching back and forth between different platforms.
5. Offline Time Tracking
As a freelancer, you may not always have a stable internet connection, especially if you love to work on the go. A time tracking tool with offline capabilities ensures that you can keep track of your time accurately, regardless of your connectivity.
6. Data Security
Finally, you want to ensure your data is safe. Look for a time tracking tool that has robust security measures in place. This includes data encryption, secure servers, and regular backups. After all, your time data is valuable and should be protected accordingly.
Choosing The Best Time Tracking Tool For You
As a freelancer, you have a fair bit of freedom regarding time tracking tools; you aren’t trying to manage a company of 50+ employees. Still, you need to find a time tracking tool that will be effective and efficient.
There are a few things you should take into consideration when choosing a time tracking tool:
What is the cost?
Sometimes tracking tools don’t consider the size of your team, so you end up paying more for features you will never use. Try to look for a tool that offers a variety of pricing plans, so you can find the one that fits your budget.
What features does the tool offer?
Time tracking tools have different features, so find one with the ones you need. For example, if you need to track time spent on specific projects, ensure your chosen tool has that feature.
It’s also a good idea to find a fairly simple app in terms of features, as you won’t need extensive invoicing capabilities or mass employee management tools.
How easy is the tool to use?
This is especially important if you aren’t very tech-savvy. Ensure the time tracking tool you choose is easy to learn and use daily. After all, time is the resource you are trying to save with a time tracking tool, so you don’t want to waste time learning how to use the app.
3 Best Time Tracking Tools For Freelancers
Now that you know the benefits and must-have features of time tracker software for freelancers, let’s look at the top three tools available. We’ve handpicked these tools for their user-friendliness and features tailored to freelancers.
1. Day.io – The Best Tool for Freelancer Time Tracking
Naturally, Day.io is our top recommendation to freelancers, not just because it’s ours, but because it works. Welcome to the World’s Best Employee Time Clock App – a simple time tracking solution for freelancers and businesses that won’t clutter your screen or get in the way of your tasks.
Day.io is a desktop app that works in real-time to track your time seamlessly. With offline capabilities and five different ways to clock on, time tracking has never felt so accessible! Moreover, you can let go of any security worries and trust the four-point security system that protects you from data theft and fraud.
- Project and time tracking. With Day.io, you can track the time you spend on a task and the project and client associated with it. Your projects remain organized and accessible, so you can always be aware of your progress and billing status.
- Profitability analysis. You can find comprehensive details regarding your project cost and billing details with Day.io to quickly analyze and track profitability to know what you should prioritize.
- Schedule setting. You can set schedules for your workday, ensuring that time tracking never interrupts your flow. Simply clock in and out according to the tasks you’re working on, and Day.io will take care of the rest!
- Voice command touchless clock on. The Day.io app allows you to register your voice and clock on without pressing a button or screen. Alternatively, you can use the face ID feature, unlocking in 0.3 seconds.
- Offline capabilities. Don’t let a little internet connection stop you from tracking your time! Day.io works offline, so you can always clock in and out, regardless of location.
- Extra hours. Day.io makes it super easy to track overtime and extra hours for yourself and your team members. You can quickly calculate paid time off with customized formulas and manage banked hours.
- Integration. Day.io smoothly integrates with other platforms, including SAP Successfactors, Asana, Todoist, ClickUp, QuickBooks Online, and more. New integrations are being added all the time.
- Project time tracking: $6 per user/month and free for up to five users.
- Time & attendance tracking: $4 per user/month and free for up to ten users.
2. QuickBooks – Best App to Track Freelance Hours and Manage Invoices
QuickBooks offers a time tracking solution, primarily a cloud-based app, allowing freelancers to clock in and out of their work using mobile devices. It effectively replaces paper timesheets with electronic time data, making payroll and invoicing processes faster and more efficient.
One of the key features of QuickBooks is its ability to integrate with popular payroll, accounting, and invoicing software. This makes it a versatile tool for managing your freelancing work.
- Mobile app time tracking for on-the-go work
- In-app scheduling with automated time clock
- GPS tracking to report and follow real-time location, even without internet
- Push, text, and email alerts for schedule adherence and overtime limits
- Real-time reports and analytics in multiple formats
- Safe data storage and detailed time log for labor disputes and audits
- Management of Paid Time Off (PTO), leave, and holiday time
- Customizable overtime alerts, notifications, and approvals
- Premium: $20 monthly base fee for Admin account and $8 per user/month for user accounts.
- Elite: $40 monthly base fee for Admin account and $10 per user/month for user accounts.
3. RescueTime – Top Productivity Manager and Time Tracker Software for Freelancers
RescueTime is not just another time tracking software but an all-in-one productivity management tool. It helps freelancers understand their work habits and provides personalized goals and smart coaching throughout the day. With RescueTime, freelancers can track their time, minimize distractions, and improve productivity.
One standout feature of RescueTime is its Focus Sessions, which block distracting websites and allow freelancers to work with total concentration on their tasks. After each session, users receive a detailed report that shows the difference in their focus level compared to their average times.
- Blocking distractions with focus sessions
- Daily work focus and productivity management
- Smart coaching to help you stay on track and avoid procrastination
- Detailed reporting and analytics
- Automated time tracking with task-level analysis and breakdown
The paid plan starts from $12 per month.
Making The Most Of Time Tracking As A Freelancer
When you choose a time tracking app and get it all set up on your computer or phone, remembering to start and stop the timer each time you switch tasks can be a bit of a hassle. But, with a little practice, it becomes second nature — and you’ll likely find that tracking your time more closely makes you more productive overall.
To close out the article, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your time tracking tool:
- Start tracking your time from the very beginning of your next project. Beginning your new habit immediately will help you understand how long different tasks usually take so you can better estimate future deadlines.
- Review your time logs regularly and look for ways to optimize your process. For example, if you notice that you’re spending a lot of time on email, you might want to try using an app like Boomerang to help automate some tasks.
- Set reminders to start and stop the timer as needed. Regular reminders like the ones offered by Day.io can help you stay on track and ensure that you’re capturing all of your billable hours.
- Time for absolutely everything. This might seem a bit excessive, but if you aim to be as productive as possible, it can be helpful to track not only the time you spend on billable tasks but also things like breaks, phone calls, and time spent checking email.
Choosing the best time tracking tool for freelancers can be overwhelming, given the many options available. But when it comes to time tracking, it’s not just about recording hours. It’s about enhancing your productivity, improving your efficiency, and ultimately, transforming your freelance career.
Whether Day.io, QuickBooks, or RescueTime, each tool offers unique features to cater to different needs. Day.io stands out with its emphasis on ease of use and broad integration capabilities. QuickBooks shines with its payroll and invoicing features, while RescueTime is your go-to for managing distractions and enhancing focus.
Regardless of your chosen tool, remember that the goal is to find a solution that fits into your workflow seamlessly and helps you make the most of your time. Because, as freelancers, time is not just money; it’s your most valuable asset.
So why wait? Get started today and take control of your freelance journey. Sign up for Day.io, your ultimate partner for freelancer time tracking, and experience the transformation in your productivity, efficiency, and work-life balance. Your best freelance life is just a click away!