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How to choose the best time tracking app for you

Last updated on 
February 7, 2020

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You’ve realized you need a time tracker in your life, but with the ton of apps currently available how on earth do you choose one? Some go way beyond measuring time, while others tailor their features to a specific clientele. It’s a minefield out there, so we’ve broken down the main points you should consider in order to find the best time tracking app for you.

Where do you work?

By this we mean your physical setting and work devices. If you work on-the-go, you don’t want a heavy-duty, desktop-only tool. You’ll likely use your laptop, phone or tablet for ad hoc work, so it’s important to get a time tracking app that captures work across devices. Some even track your location, which could be an important feature if you need to bill for travel time or track off-site client meetings.

It’s also important to understand whether the tool has a manufacturer bias; some tools are clearly created as Mac-, Windows-, iOS- or Android-first tools. Take a look at the tracker features available for your work devices to ensure you’ll get ongoing support, development and priority.

How do you work?

The best time tracking apps fit seamlessly into your existing workflows. Take note of all the work apps you use on a daily business, as well as how you coordinate and communicate with clients and colleagues. Your chosen time tracker should integrate painlessly with all of these by default.

But it should also accommodate the way you organise your work, since we all work to differing degrees of structure. If you’re big on scheduling ahead, you’ll want a tool that allows you to plan work and track time against it, to see how much you logged against your forecast. Conversely, for those who are more unstructured, you’ll want a tool that can gather, analyze and order work for you – AI time trackers are great at this.

What do you need?

Clearly, if you’re a freelancer, you don’t want a time tracking app built for a large company. To make sense of what time tracking features are useful, make a note of the main tasks you need it to solve, as well as secondary “nice to haves”. For team managers this might be timesheet control, easy client reporting and team insights. For freelancers, you’ll mostly likely want a tool that lets you track different projects at the same time according to different rates for each of your clients.

Take a look at how you share reports from the app and what timesheet export file types are available. Consider whether a ready-made project performance dashboard would actually be a great asset for managing your growing client base, or a luxury for future consideration.

How easy is it to use?

Your time tracker should be simple, regardless of the features it offers. We’re not just talking about a pretty design – it shouldn’t involve a steep learning curve or lots of training. The whole point is to reduce the overhead and admin of time registration, whilst tracking it much more accurately. If your tool is invasive or requires a lot of management, it’s not meant to be.

The best time tracking apps keep pace with changing design trends and innovate age-old inefficiencies. Some people are attached to manual timers, for example, but good time trackers offer more accurate alternatives alongside it – such as the option for automatic time tracking.

What’s your budget?

All serious industry time tracking apps offer staggered pricing to reflect differing demands for features and usage. As a general rule, the average monthly price sits at around $10 for freelancers, $14 for small teams, and $29 for large enterprises.

Take a look at each plan offered by the apps you’re considering, and make sure you’re clear on what your money actually gets you. If you’re missing out on the biggest selling points for your work, it’s not worth it.

Have you tested it?

If you’re looking at investing in a long-term time tracking solution, always try before you buy. This is especially important for team managers, since employees need to feel comfortable and buy into the tool if it’s going to work. You should start seeing the benefits of your time tracking app almost immediately, which is why Timely is confident you’ll fall in love with the app in just 14 days.

Now you know what to look for, it’s time to get your research going!

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Timely automatically tracks team hours,
activity and capacity to keep remote work visible.
Lead happier, healthier teams.

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Keep your team ticking

Timely automatically tracks team hours, activity
and capacity to keep everyone connected.
Lead happier, healthier teams.

Book a demo

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