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Time machines: take charge of your life with these time trackers

Tony Bradley | Feb. 17, 2014
If you've ever felt fried at the end of your work day yet couldn't account for how you got to that state, you're not alone. One task blurs into another leaving no record of how you spent your time. That's where a time tracker can help. Whether you just want to track your professional tasks to assess your productivity or you actually bill clients by the hour, these tools can help you reclaim lost time and develop more efficient work habits.

You can manage up to three clients with Freshbooks free version. Beyond that, the service starts at $20 per month for up to 25 clients. The paid service includes additional features such as the ability to remove Freshbooks branding from your invoices, and automatically import expenses from bank or credit card websites.

's most important feature may not have to do with your productivity, but your idle time. In addition to time and expense tracking and invoicing capabilities, OfficeTime recognizes when you've been inactive and gives you an opportunity to deduct that time, or apply it to a different task. It also runs in the task bar for quick access to projects and features, and it can sync up with your calendar in Windows or Mac OS X.

OfficeTime is available for $47 for Windows and Mac OS X. You can download a 21-day trial version to test it out first. There is also an iOS app available. 

If you want a service that goes beyond time tracking to include more robust project management, check out PayMo. It tracks start and end times of tasks (rather than just cumulative time), and handles invoicing, but you can manage your tasks, milestones, timesheets, and associated files as well from within the project management section.

PayMo also has a library of add-ons including a desktop widget, plugins for Safari, Firefox, and Chrome, and an add-on that connects with the work timer and visual display elements of Klok.

PayMo is free for one user. The free version allows for unlimited clients or projects, but you can only generate one invoice per month. PayMo Basic adds a user, and significantly increases file storage along with increasing the invoices to 30 per month for $10 per month. Or, you can sign up for PayMo Premium for $15 per month for three users with unlimited invoicing.

Like some other time trackers Chrometa monitors your activity, but it tracks it at a more granular level so you can see exactly how much time you spent reading a specific PDF file, versus how much time you devoted to responding to a client email. There's also an iOS and Android app that monitors the amount of time spent on phone calls or using your mobile device in general. And though Chrometa doesn't have its own invoicing capabilities, it does let you export time data to other billing applications like Freshbooks and Quickbooks.

Chrometa Basic is $20 per month for one device and limited capabilities and reporting. Chrometa Plus allows for two devices for $30 per month, and Chrometa Premium will track your activity across four devices for $50 per month.


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