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I am looking for time tracking software to use as an individual consulting on multiple projects at once. The projects I work on are billable to different clients. Some clients are billed on an hourly basis while others are billed on a project basis. I also track personal projects that may never produce income. I need to be able to track the time down to the individual task level. I am looking for software that is easy to use, cost effective, easy to invoice out of and has data mining reports.

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closed as off topic by ChrisF Jan 2 '12 at 13:03

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try, task management tool by ex facebooks developers – user44229 Jan 2 '12 at 12:56
Not sure that questions about non-programming tools (you're basically asking for a spreadsheet-type package) are on-topic. Possibly or would be more on-topic. – Cyclops Jan 2 '12 at 13:04

11 Answers 11

I love Allnetic WorkingTimeTracker. Been using it for more than six years.

  • It sits in Windows' system tray and can be started and stopped with one click
  • It supports multiple clients, projects and subprojects that can be switched directly from the tray
  • Detailed activity notes can be entered directly in the tray menu while the clock is running
  • It detects inactivity and when you return, automatically suggests counting the time, discarding it, or counting it towards a different project
  • It has a mature GUI that supports moving tracked time slices from one project to another, calculating total times by selecting slices, moving sub-projects around, etc.
  • It supports time slices that do not count towards the total time of a project
  • It can do basic reporting and XML export

costs $30 but is totally worth it.

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I've just installed this and started using it, on your recommendation. So far it looks pretty good. – quickly_now Mar 4 '11 at 6:52

I've tried many softwares and web based solutions (all free) until I choose Grindstone. This is the one that best suited to my purposes:

It looks complex at first, but it's not.

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A couple of years back I needed to do some contracting. Two clients independently recommended that I use it. Freshbooks was easy to set up, trivial to use, and supported a very convenient workflow. It is free for up to 3 clients, and after that the nominal cost is quickly recovered in time saved, and more accurate billing.

I can't recommend it highly enough.

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Why? Providing a link is great, but you'll need to add your experience with it as well. What was good about it? What was not so good about it? – Walter Feb 20 '11 at 23:06
@Walter: When I did a little contracting, I tried it on the recommendation of my clients. I found that Freshbooks was easy to set up, trivial to use, and had a great workflow. It is free if you have up to 3 clients, and after that it is still pretty cheap. (And pays for itself very quickly with the fact that you don't lose track of what you are supposed to bill.) I didn't have any negative experiences at all with it, so I can't comment on drawbacks. – btilly Feb 20 '11 at 23:20
You need to add your comment to your answer. You're not answering me, you're answering the OP and future people who see your answer. – Walter Feb 21 '11 at 2:06

I prefer FogBugz.

It's UI is very easy to work with, specifically because it supports using only the keyboard well. It is primarily task based, and tracks time against tasks. It has evidence-based scheduling, which I think can be particularly helpful for an individual working in a consulting type environment. Over time, FogBugz helps me more accurately translate my work estimates into calendar time until completion.

FogBugz also integrates beautifully with Kiln, a hosted Mercurial system. This lets me kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Mercurial is my preferred DVCS, and the UI - like FogBugz - is as polished as any.

When you consider the quality of FogCreek's software, and their obvious commitment to building the best of breed developer tools in their market - it is easy to rely on them for such cornerstone's of development as task management and source code control.

And, both FogBugz and Kiln have free accounts for up to two users. This sounds like an advertisement, but honestly I think they are great tools.

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If only we could all get customer testimonials like this. =P – Lèse majesté Jan 2 '12 at 14:31

If you are emacs user, there is org-mode a great tool which apart from all cool features(Org-mode is for keeping notes, maintaining TODO lists, doing project planning) also support Clocking tasks, have a look into this article.

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I installed Kimai on a subdomain of cheap hosted server and have been quite pleased with it. Web-based, free and open source, and has worked great for me for the last couple of months.

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We have developed exactly for this purpose. We chose to develop it around a simple online calender. Here you can plan tasks and write time from one place. Since we developed it ourselves I will leave rating it to others but feel free to have a look.

  • Flexible rates per user/client/project
  • Task scheduling
  • Project budgets, estimates and timelines
  • Reporting by user, client, project, phase and task
  • Every report exportable to csv
  • Google calendar sync (available in a few weeks)

It's free for small companies up to 3 users (unlimited projects) and for 6 EUR/user/month you'll get invoicing with it as well.

Good luck with you search.

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Which operating system do you use?

Unfortunately I can't offer you first-hand experience; but if you're just looking for suggestions and happen use Mac OS X or an iPhone, I've heard really good things about Billings from Marketcircle.

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I don't use OS X either, but one of our designers swears by it. – Lèse majesté Jan 2 '12 at 14:26

Have you come across 1DayLater before? It will let you bill on a project or hourly basis...It's also a lot more fun and intuitive to use than most other time tracking / timesheet software as it's designed for freelancers

Hope that's helpful! Paul

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I like TSheets. You can clock in and out using your browser, or with an iPhone app, or via a phone call or SMS message. Has lots of reports and features. Costs $10 per month for one user. Free trial.

I particularly like the flexible clock-in/out options, because sometimes I will get to the parking lot and realize I haven't clocked out. Takes just a phone call.

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Are you saying that you use to clock in/out of TSheets? Or are you recommending Jott as a separate solution? – Lèse majesté Jan 2 '12 at 14:23
Unfortunately was shut down last May, 2011. Since then, TSheets added its own dial-in capability but I have been just been using the broswer and iPhone app. I'll edit my answer to remove Jott. – tcrosley Jan 2 '12 at 15:12

I use Manic Time to track what I'm doing at work. It runs in the background and records the active program and file down to the second. It also tracks websites. I don't know if you'd consider its reporting capabilities as datamining, but you can assign tags to chunks of time, which delineate themselves automatically as you switch programs or files, etc.

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