As the lines between professional and personal life blur, finding an effective time tracking tool to track and manage your working hours is critical. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the landscape of time tracking apps. But, what is a time tracking app, you ask? We’ll explore the features, functionalities, and user experiences that leading apps include, aiming to equip you with the knowledge to make an informed choice for the time tracking app that fits your work style best.

What is the best app to track working hours?

Discovering the best app to keep track of work hours and pay is personal, as it’s tied to the unique cadence of one's professional life. With so many options available (you’ll go from asking, ‘is there an app to check my work hours?’ to asking, ‘what is the best app to track my work hours?’), the key lies in aligning the app's features with the nuances of how you work. Considerations such as the nature of your tasks, collaboration requirements, and preferred interface play a pivotal role in selecting the best app for tracking work hours.

The ideal app integrates into your workflow, offering intuitive time management solutions that enhance rather than hinder your productivity. To find the perfect match, you’ll need a solid understanding of your work habits, priorities, and the specific demands of your profession. This info becomes the compass that guides you toward the app that not only tracks your working hours but elevates your overall efficiency and work-life balance.

How can I track my time online?

Tracking your time online is now easier than ever with various user-friendly tools. Our recommendation? Start by exploring work time tracker applications that offer cloud-based solutions. You and your team would simply create an account, log in, and begin recording your tasks or projects. Features like timers, manual input, or integrations with project management tools are typically included to give an additional convenience boost. Many platforms provide insightful reports, helping you analyze your time allocation and identify patterns. Such a great way to tell where time is being spent…and if it could be better used elsewhere. Whether you're a freelancer, remote worker, part of a team, (or manage any combination of those) these online time tracking tools cater to diverse needs, able to fit the working style of most.

How can I keep track of my own hours?

You're probably wondering, 'how can I track my work hours easily?' As such, we’ll guide you through six time tracking app options (and some app-adjacent choices) to consider.

  1. Manual entry apps: With this option, you can manually input start and end times for each task or project.

  2. Automatic time tracking apps: These automatically track your work hours by monitoring your computer or device usage. Time spent can be categorized on different applications and websites.

  3. Project management apps: These apps often let you associate your work hours directly with specific tasks or projects.

  4. Calendar apps: With these, you can create events for each task or project, specifying the start and end times to maintain a visual representation of your schedule.

  5. Browser extensions: This option integrates with your browser and tracks the time you spend on various websites. (This is particularly useful for identifying time-wasting habits.)

  6. Collaboration tool integrations: If you use collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams, look for apps that integrate with these platforms. This allows you to track your work hours while communicating and collaborating with your team.

How do you know when tracking hours is helpful?

Once you’ve found the best time tracking app leveraging the guide above, how do you get the most out of it?

One word: reports. Hopefully, the work hour tracker/app you chose has a reporting function. For example, with Harvest, you’d be able to see reports outlining your work habits within the app, as well as have the option to export to a spreadsheet or a PDF file. These reports give you a visualization of how your time and efforts have been allocated. Let’s say it’s year-end, and you would like to reflect on how the year has gone (this can be done quarterly or in other custom time frames as well). You’ll want to look at the following:

  • What are the areas that burned through hours and went over budget?
    • You may want to increase budgets on similar projects moving forward
  • What types of projects turned out to be the most profitable?
  • What types of projects were not profitable?
  • What clients were a joy to work with?
  • What clients would you rather not work with in the coming year?
    • You may notice that projects that were less profitable may be tied to challenging clients - this could inform your future work

Consistently looking at the cycle of projects could improve your work over time, assuming you take action on the data. For example, when you track your time, you can notice things like always going over budget in the final stretch of a website launch. That way, when you sign on for a similar project, you will know to increase the budget by 25% to match the overage amount you see in the reports. On the flipside, if you see a trend of projects frequently coming in under budget, that data can empower you to know you’re on the right track.

Many who track their time individually want to understand if they are using their time intentionally. Individual reports emailed summarizing the past week with data such as how the time was used and the volume of time spent on which efforts are helpful visualizations to gain that understanding. Some may realize they spent an excessive amount of time the previous week answering emails. To combat this, they may set a goal to be more intentional and shift over to a more pressing project or an initiative that they have more interest in.

A time tracking app as unique as your working style

Embrace the power of the right time tracking app to manage your working hours and elevate your entire work experience. It could mean the difference between increased efficiency, improved focus, and a more balanced professional life…or frustration and burnout. By tracking time and expenses in Harvest, you capture critical project data that allows you to learn from the past, keep current projects on track, and better estimate future projects. Ready to kick your productivity into high gear? Sign up for a free trial here