Empowering the Freelance Economy

Are Time Tracking Apps Worth the Money for Freelancers?

Time-keeping apps can help ensure you are billing correctly and can be well worth the investment./ Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán via Pexels
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We look at the pros and cons of investing in time-tracking apps for freelancers. Does the monthly app fee pay for itself? We compare 5 of the top time-tracking apps to help you decide

As a freelancer, you know that time is money. That’s why it’s important to track your time effectively so you can bill your clients accurately and get paid what you’re worth.

There are a number of time-tracking apps available, both free and paid. Some freelancers choose to track their time manually, using a simple timer or spreadsheet. But there are a number of advantages to using a time-tracking app.

Advantages of Using Time Tracking Apps

  • Accuracy: Time-tracking apps are more accurate than manual tracking methods. They can track your time down to the minute, and they can automatically generate reports that show how you’re spending your time.
  • Efficiency: Time-tracking apps can help you be more efficient with your time. They can help you identify where you’re spending too much time, so you can make changes to improve your productivity.
  • Billing: Time-tracking apps can help you bill your clients accurately. They can generate reports that show how much time you’ve spent on each project, so you can charge your clients accordingly.
  • Collaboration: There are time-tracking apps that allow you to collaborate with your clients or team members. This can be helpful for tracking the progress of projects and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Disadvantages of Using Time Tracking Apps

  • Cost: Time-tracking apps can be expensive, especially if you need to use a paid plan.
  • Complexity: Some time-tracking apps can be complex to use. If you’re not comfortable with technology, you may find it difficult to learn how to use a time-tracking app.
  • Privacy: Some time-tracking apps collect data about your work habits. If you’re concerned about your privacy, you may want to avoid using these apps.

Should You Use a Time Tracking App?

Whether or not you should use a time-tracking app depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you’re serious about tracking your time accurately and efficiently, then a time-tracking app is a good investment. However, if you’re on a tight budget or you’re not comfortable with technology, then you may want to consider tracking your time manually. However, you may find that you can get by easily with the app’s free version.

Top 5 Time Tracking Apps for Freelancers

  • Toggl: Toggl is a popular time-tracking app that’s easy to use and affordable. It offers a free plan for up to five users, and paid plans start at around £8 per month.
  • Clockify: Clockify is another popular time-tracking app that’s free for unlimited users. It offers a variety of features, including automatic time tracking, project management, and integration with other apps.
  • Time Doctor: Time Doctor is a more advanced time-tracking app that offers features like screenshots, screen recordings, and activity levels. It’s a good option for freelancers who want to track their productivity in detail or are collaborating with other freelancers on a project.
  • Everhour: Everhour is a time-tracking app that’s focused on billing and project management. It offers features like invoicing, budget tracking, and timesheets, which can be a time saver for your admin. Here is a video showing the different features.
  • RescueTime: RescueTime is a productivity app that tracks your time across all your devices. It offers features like focus mode, distraction alerts, and website blocking. This app would be useful for someone who wants a better work-life balance or who has been set specific time limits for projects or assignments and doesn’t want to go over time.

Is a time-tracking app a good investment?

Time-tracking apps can be a valuable tool for freelancers who want to track their time accurately and efficiently. They can help you bill your clients accurately, improve your productivity, and collaborate with your team members. If you’re serious about tracking your time, then a time-tracking app is a good investment. You could look at it this way, would paying between up to £10 to £30 a month be worth it if it meant ensuring you didn’t miss an hour’s worth of time you spent emailing clients, researching something on a client’s behalf and then the time it takes to do all the admin of calculating hours and invoicing? Or would you rather save the £30 and do the work yourself? It is a personal choice.

Which time-tracking app is right for you?

The best time-tracking app for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences and budget. Consider the following factors when choosing a time-tracking app:

  • Price: How much are you willing to spend on a time-tracking app? Would it pay for itself?
  • Features: What features are important to you? Do you need automatic time tracking, project management, or invoicing features? Don’t get caught up in paying for an app that you don’t use most of the features.
  • Ease of use: How easy is the app to use? Do you need an app that’s easy to learn and navigate?
  • Integrations: Does the app integrate with other apps you use? For example, if you use Trello for project management, you’ll want an app that integrates with Trello.

Once you’ve considered these factors, you can start comparing different time-tracking apps to find the one that’s right for you. Many apps offer a free trial, so take advantage of those and see if a time-tracking app is a good investment for your freelance business. See how it benefits your work and personal time for a better work-life balance.

2 Comments
  1. Jon Sinigaglia says

    My experience tells me one thing loud and clear. Being an event producer, everything we do in our industry is based on schedules and timing, as there is always a zero date beyond which we can’t pass. But I work somewhat differently to the clip-board carrying crews. I treat my role as the boss in charge somewhat like a circus ringmaster, and as such I need to remain floating, mentally flexible – and flexible regarding my time. I have tried time trackers and they just don’t work for me. My history tells me tat time trackers are great for those who are ALREADY very structured in their minds and work. ~So if you are already someone who is very structured in their thinking, then these tools CAN be useful, although my instinct tells me that if you are already THAT structured, you generally don’t need these tools.

  2. Jon Sinigaglia says

    My own experience is that time tracking apps are great for folks who are already organised and structured. If you ARE organised and structured, then you probably don’t need such an app as you’ve already figured it out in advance :). These apps SHOULD be more useful for the disorganised, however those with such a mindset (and there are PLENTY in the creative industries) need another more personal approach to ensure that their time is monetised.

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