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Searching for the Ideal Time Tracker

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Searching for the Ideal Time Tracker

A review of several time tracking apps and websites to help you or your team maximize their productivity.

· Agile Zone
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Whether you are a freelancer or run your own business, you need some way to effectively manage your working time. Today, the software market offers a wide range of time tracking and management tools that have much to offer. The right time tracker can save your time, helps you stay organized and increase your productivity.  

Choosing the time tracking tool that meets all your needs can be quite a challenge.

When deciding on the time tracking software program that fits best for me, I've tested over 20 of such tools. I came up with 5 popular products that worth your attention, one of which I rank the best for its excellence.

1. Toggl 

Quite a popular service that allows you to log user activity and simplifies new task creation. Standard reports are available.

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What I like:

  1. For each task, you can specify a customer and a project (if needed).

  2. You can apply a variety of filters when generating reports.

  3. You can highlight projects in different colors.

  4. There are different versions for all popular platforms.

What I dislike:

  1. Working time is not clearly visualized. In my opinion, there is no detailed representation of user activity.

  2. The complete functionality is available only for an additional fee.

2. primaERP 

A cloud-based application for work time logging, tracking work hours by projects and tasks. Supports the option of billing clients.

What I like:

  1. A planner resembles a table marked up by dates and hourly time slots.

  2. The capability to export or send reports by e-mail.

  3. You can keep track of a team work.

  4. A mobile application is available.

What I dislike:

  1. The tasks are presented in general terms and you don't always need to view a weekly schedule.

  2. Not all modules are free.

  3. Extended functionality and adding team members are fee-based.

3. Trello 

Another popular web application for managing projects of small groups. The app may be used as a multi-task manager, journal, powerful organizer and forum for discussing topical issues in a team.

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What I like:

  1. A planner looks like a kanban board (for some people, it is familiar and convenient).

  2. You can mark tasks, drag and drop tasks, change position in the list (set the priority), appoint executors, vote, set deadlines.

  3. You can see multiple simultaneously running projects and their current state.

  4. Versions for different platforms are available.

What I dislike:

The time tracking option is represented by a timer for various tasks. In my opinion, it's rather inconvenient to plan the entire working day, though someone might like it.

4. Zoho Projects 

A feature-rich service with a calendar, organizer, document storage and editors, reports, forum, messenger, wiki, meeting planner, time tracker. A handy system for team work in real time.

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What I like:

  1. Rich functionality, service capabilities for accomplishing a wide range of tasks.

  2. Mobile versions are available.

What I dislike:

I would use this tool as a multi-functional integrated solution for project management, but considering the fact that it is designed to track only work time, the system is too complicated. Only one project can be managed for free, and the cost of commercial versions is high.

5. TMetric 

A simple web-based application for IT-professionals and companies with a sophisticated user interface for time logging and tracking.

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What I like:

  1. It is absolutely free, with no restrictions.

  2. Supports integration with most popular project management systems.

  3. Your work day is visualized as a timeline. You can edit you work time using only a mouse.

  4. You can render any management structure: collective, hierarchical, or matrix type. 

  5. The reports are simple but flexible. You can view project time, team's time, or individual's time and use filters to configure the report.

  6. You can switch to team view and see what the colleagues are working on at the moment.

What I dislike:

As for me, I couldn't find any particular drawbacks in TMetric. That's why, this is my favorite time tracking tool so far.

A Brief Conclusion

The working process should not be limited to impassive implementation of working tasks. However, planning and laying out priorities allows to most effectively organize your time.

Personally, I've chosen the TMetric time tracker service, since using a mobile version during working hours is not a fundamental concern, and, on the whole, the Tmetric functionality works best for me.

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Topics:
time management ,productivity tools ,productivity ,cloud services

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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