In the U.S., there are now 56.7 million freelancers. Are you one of them? Then it might be time for you to try a freelance time tracking app.
It’s hard to deny the appeal of freelancing. You get to be your own boss and switch between clients as you please. You can make money from just one skill set, or from more than one. And, of course, you get the luxury of setting your own hours.
However, that last part can also make it difficult to stay on task. Without an employer watching over your shoulder, distractions can delay you from getting tasks done. The solution to finishing the workday faster is a time tracking app.
Not only that, but tracking your time is crucial to getting paid if you have an hourly rate. Time tracking apps keep both you and your paycheck on track.
Which time tracking apps should you download? While each freelancer has slightly different needs, we recommend starting with these top picks. Give each one a try, then stick with the app that works best for you.
If there’s one thing we love, it’s a free time tracking app for freelancers. Clockify is a completely free option that makes it easy to track your billable hours, so you always know how much you’re getting paid.
One of the best perks of Clockify is its flexibility. With this app, you can track your time via mobile or browser. You can also track it right there in the sites and apps you use for work, like Github, Trello, and others.
Clockify is best for freelancers who mainly want to track time for billing purposes. However, knowing that the clock is running can also make it much easier to stay on task.
Toggl offers another free time tracking app option that’s ideal for freelancers. This app keeps you organized, but also does more to keep you on task. For example, it offers reminders and an idle detection feature to keep you focused on work.
Like the Time Clock Wizard app, Toggl is focused on getting teams to be more productive. However, it can work very well for individuals, too.
Toggl is also great for freelancers who want to get better at budgeting. With this app, you can see your billable hours across clients or projects, for a big-picture look at where your money’s coming from.
You can use Toggl on your phone or desktop as needed, so it’s flexible just like you are. This app is great if you want a combination of financial organization and assistance with staying focused.
Harvest also provides an excellent way to get a deeper look at how you make money and spend your working hours.
Like most of these time tracking apps, you can either download Harvest to your phone, use it on your desktop, or use the browser extension. Harvest keeps you organized across your projects, and also gives you a good sense of just how productive you’ve been.
Compared to other time tracking apps, Harvest is especially detailed. Not every freelancer may need all those details, but some are sure to find them helpful. You can also integrate other work apps like Basecamp and Asana to get even more out of Harvest.
Finally, Harvest even has an invoice-making feature, so you can turn time spent working into cold hard cash in your bank faster. Harvest is great if you want detailed breakdowns and invoice support along with your time tracker.
If you mainly just want to get a better picture of your own schedule, RescueTime is the freelance time tracking app for you.
RescueTime doesn’t deal with payments or billable hours. Instead, this app is solely focused on increasing your productivity. When you can see how you tend to spend your time (and waste your time) during the workday, you can see how to become more efficient.
The Lite version of this app is free. However, if you want to unlock more features, you can pay $9 a month for the Premium version.
If you want to focus more on payments and less on productivity, Due might be a great app for you.
Due keeps things simple. Its main function is to track your time spent on projects, and alert you to idle time. When it comes time to submit an invoice, you can also tap Due to figure out how many billable hours you’ve racked up. This is the best app for freelancers who want a super-simple option.
TopTracker is another one of our favorite free time tracking apps.
This app was designed by freelancers, for freelancers, so it might do a better job of meeting your needs than most. It allows you the most flexibility out of all these apps—you can actually choose what you want to track using TopTracker.
For example, you can decide when your tracking should happen, and what form it takes. And, of course, you’ll also have all the regular time tracking features to use, too. This app works well for someone who needs a custom approach to time tracking.
Finally, if you want your time tracker to be calendar-based, this is the best freelance time tracking option.
Calendar ranges from free to $10 per month for a few extra features, making it very affordable. It includes scheduling and time tracking all in one place, making it easy for freelancers to map out their days.
You can also use Calendar on either mobile or desktop to keep yourself organized. With this app, you can even share or sync calendars, so it works well for team projects as well as individual work.
Getting the Most out of a Freelance Time Tracking App
Now, you can see which freelance time tracking app might be a good fit for you. We suggest testing a few out before landing on the one that meets your work needs best.
To get the most out of your time tracker app—just use it! The longer you use it, the more you’ll get used to this level of organization. Soon, you’ll be more efficient at work, even without putting in much extra effort.
However, getting better at time tracking is just one way to improve your freelance work. For more business tips, check back to our Business section soon!