Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Recommended time tracking software?

I'm looking for a Windows application that will allow me to easily keep track of my time during the day. A quick search on Google shows a ton, so I'm interested in hearing if any JOS'ers have any recommendations to help sort through the chaff.

I want to use it for both business and personal. I'll use it to help track my time that I spend on client work, but I also want to be able to monitor and track my own time to help improve my time management skills.

Any recommendations?

Mark Hoffman
Thursday, January 8, 2004

I was using AllNetic's time tracker, based on recommendations from this board.  Unfortunately, when I moved to Win 2003 Server, the app wouldn't run anymore.

Anyone know another that will run on 2003 Server?


Thursday, January 8, 2004

Hey! Allnetic just realized a new version that supports Win Server 2003.  Good stuff.

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Allnetic Working Time Tracker seconded. I've recommended it here before.

Last time I checked there was a free version and a time limited beta for the next version. While the time limited beta had more functionality, the free version was free and never expired.
Thursday, January 8, 2004

I like the TaskCapture program by Captureworks ( ).  It can automatically track the time that you spend working in particular documents, or you can do manual entry like with Allnetic Working Time Tracker.  Plus it dumps my work history into Outlook's calendar so it's very easy for me to analyze my work along with everything else that I spend my time on, and it dumps billable timespans to Quickbooks so I can easily bill for my consulting time.

It's really handy, and they've got a free demo too.

Thursday, January 8, 2004

I've often wondered the same thing. The solution I've adopted that works really well for me is... Notepad.

Each day I create a text file and save it in a directory that goes into my cvs repository. Each line in the text file has a start time (F5 inserts the current time, though I more often just enter a time in hhmm format manually) and a task name. I've banged out some simple perl scripts to quickly answer questions like "how much time did I spend on task X between days Y and Z".

This works well for me for two reasons. First, I can use multiple systems without having to install software on each one, and consolidating and manipulating text files is very easy. Second, it keeps the barrier to use very very low -- no forms to fill out, no mousing around, just alt-Tab to the Notepad window, press a few keys, and alt-Tab back to whatever I'm doing. The low friction has really helped me maintain the discipline.

It's frankly taken me a couple of months to go from doing a soft of half-assed job (tracking specifically those things I needed to bill back to clients) to tracking everything I do 24 hours a day. But now that I've developed the habit I love the fact that I can run these reports and be able to look at where my time (both business and personal) really goes. How much time do I spend on business overhead that is not directly revenue-generating? How much time do I spend on the phone or emailing or IMing friends? How much time do I spend surfing JoS and a few other of my favorite sites (this number was a bit shocking at first, frankly).

John C.
Saturday, January 10, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home