Time Tracking Tools

Have you ever asked yourself how much time during the day in the office do you spend looking at funny youtube videos, reading emails, taking coffee or doing some boring administrative task that keeps you from getting your work finished? I’ve actually been asking myself that for what it feels my entire life. I always tought that a well organized and productive 3 hours could be more valuable than a whole day of distractions. I always wanted to measure that productivity in detail and see what things I’m spending my time on and how much. Now I finally can.

A few months ago I found out on Lifehacker about this software called RescueTime that tracks how you spend your time on a computer. It’s free and you run it in the background. It categrorizes your activities in Communication, Development Tools, Reference/Search etc. If you are using a browser it is smart enough to distinguish which sites are you accessing, so reading The Server Side and Failblog.org are considered two different activities.

 

rescuetime-screenshot

One downside of RescueTime is that it posts your usage statistics to their servers, so if you don’t want anyone to see how much time you spent… watching porn in the office, you might choose to disable RescueTime for a couple of hours. On the other side, your usage statistics are accessible only by you, so your boss can’t detract from your salary every 5 mins you spent checking your private mail.

Another downside is that it doesn’t show you when exactly did you start working with a particular program and when were you AFK. So you can’t distinguish between a meeting and a lunch break.

Both of these problems are solved by ManicTime. Manic time works only locally and gives you information on what did you do at an exact moment of the day:
manictime-screenshot

 

 

The only downside of ManicTime is that it is too fine grained so you don’t get the quick overview that you can get in RescueTime. Currently I’m using both of them until I decide which one is better or one of them implements the functionalities of the other.

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5 comments

  1. April

    Hi.
    Free doesn’t give you as much needed features than those that are paid monthly or annually.
    I would like to recommend Freckle time tracking (http://letsfreckle.com) to you, soloists, and small teams. It is affordable and you’ll love the interface.

  2. Chris

    I’ve checked out Freckle time tracking and I have to agree with you April. I’m using it now. 😀

  3. jasonblack47@yahoo.com

    If you want a tool that can help you measure your productivity in detail, see exactly where time is spent and how much of that time was productive or unproductive. I highly recommend Time Doctor. Using this tool it tracks effectively all of your activities in REAL TIME and give you analytics for your work day, allowing you to improve your productivity and eliminate distractions or less productivity activities.

    You can also check this article ( http://blog.timedoctor.com/2010/07/25/how-is-time-doctor-different-than-rescue-time ) regarding the comparison between RescueTime and Time Doctor.

  4. Hello,
    We’ve recently launched our personal productivity software which currently has over 500 users. Although it’s still a beta version, Kiply allows you to track your activity in order to know how you really spend your time while using your computer.
    With Kiply you automatically record your activity in real time and keep it completely private. You can view your activity either on the web or on your desktop app, as well as create new projects and see your progress according to your goals.
    You can download Kiply beta version from our website http://www.kiply.com at no cost. Please share your thoughts about it! 🙂

  5. Hi, thank you for this post I agree with you that a well organized and productive 3 hours could be more valuable than a whole day of distractions. I will suggest you go for scopidea this software will help you in project management, invoicing and time tracker all in one. just go for the demo of it.

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