Understanding how much time your employees spend on specific clients and tasks can be a real game changer when it comes to analyzing whether your resources are being used the way they should.
Unfortunately, doing it manually would not only take a lot of time that you would otherwise be able to dedicate to other, more important tasks but the chances of someone making an error while tracking this data are also increased.
There is, however, another solution that you should definitely consider, and it’s called time tracking apps.
With the increased number of remote workers in recent years due to the pandemic and national lockdown in many countries, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that companies paid close attention to what managers supervising multiple employees working from different locations were in need of and tried to meet those needs. As it turns out, an effective time management tool was high up there.
But how can you know which one to choose if there are so many options available? Well, I took the liberty to review quite a few of them and combined the ones I thought performed the best in the list that you will find below. So, if time-tracking apps dedicated to working on Windows are something that you might be interested in, keep on reading.
Best Time Tracking Tools for Windows
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Toggl TrackExpert Review
If you’re hesitant to invest money in a time tracking software as you don’t know if it will work for your company but still want to give it a try, then I can definitely recommend Toggl Track.
Best free time tracking app
Why I Like It
Despite being free, it has all the features you would expect from this type of tool – not to mention it’s highly intuitive and user-friendly. After all, the last thing you want is to pick software that is so complicated that it would take you at least an hour to explain how it works. With Toggl Track, you don’t have that problem.
The free version gives you unlimited time tracking, as well as unlimited projects and clients, automated time tracking triggers, Pomodoro timer, CVS reports, and exportable reports. You can also use it while working with more than 100 popular tools (for example, Google Docs) via a Google Chrome or Firefox extension, which will embed a timer on the interface of the said tool. Pretty good for a free app, huh?
With a free plan, you can integrate your Google Calendar into Toggl’s Calendar view, allowing you to create or start time entries based on the scheduled events. A paid plan, on the other hand, allows you to integrate your Outlook calendar, as well as have multiple Google Calendar accounts integrated with one Toggl account.
Finally, contrary to many other time-tracking apps I encountered, Toggl Track doesn’t require you to put in any details before you start your time tracker. Here, you can just start a timer and worry about adding details, such as the client or the project, later.
When it comes to the pricing, as I already mentioned a few times, it’s a free app. However, if the basic features are not enough for your company and you need something more, such as billable rates, project templates, time audits, or time tracking reminders, you can opt for one of the three paid plans – Starter at $10 per month, Premium at $20 per month and Enterprise (custom pricing).
Additionally, all plans come with a 30-day free trial that doesn’t require any credit card info. I appreciate that, as sometimes you just don’t know if you will use all the features available in more advanced plans. This gives you a good opportunity to check it out and ensure you’re not paying for something that your team will only use once or twice.
When it comes to cons, I found one – the free version only allows you to have a maximum of 5 users, which should be fine for smaller companies and freelancers, but if you have more employees, you’d have no choice but to go for a paid plan. Also, if you want to use it to manage your team’s workload, you might want to consider another app, as there’s no task management or planning feature.
Pros and Cons
- The features of a free plan will probably be more than enough for freelancers and small businesses
- Google Calendar integration
- Unlimited time tracking and clients
- Doesn’t require you to add details before starting time tracking
- Outlook Calendar integration is available only in the paid plans
- Free version accommodates a maximum of 5 users
- No task management or planning feature
If you’re looking for a time tracking software that will make the whole process as easy as possible, then you should definitely consider Timely.
Best for automatic time tracking
Why I Like It
imely makes the process of tracking time a breeze – mainly because you don’t need to remember about turning on a timer. God only knows how many times I have forgotten to turn on the timer while working on a task and had to input the time manually.
Timely automatically recorded how much time I had spent on a specific app – all I had to do to have a visual representation of how I spent my time in the form of a timesheet was to drop my activities into the right projects. Easy, right?
Now, if you’re an employee worried about it being an employee monitoring software instead of a simple time tracking app, I can reassure you that it’s not – even though this time tracking tool does collect quite a bit of data, it is all private to you, and you’re the one that decides how much you’re sharing on the timesheet.
I found Timely’s interface very easy to navigate, so if simplicity is what you’re going for, then this Windows time tracker might be just the right choice for you. I would also recommend it to project managers, as thanks to its project management features, they can have all the necessary information about how much work has already been done for a specific client and how much is still left to do. What’s more, they can calculate budgets, as well as probable deadlines.
Finally, I liked the fact that I can integrate my calendar with this Windows time tracking app – whether you use Outlook Calendar or Google Calendar, both of them can be synced with Timely.
Timely has four pricing plans – Starter, Premium, Unlimited, and Unlimited+:
- The Starter plan costs $11 per month per user and allows you to automatically track time and set automatic reminders, as well as provides you with AI-generated timesheets. You are, however, limited to 3 teams and 50 projects.
- The Premium plan costs $20 per month per user and allows you to do everything mentioned above, plus live project dashboards, and capacity management, and it also allows you to lock billed hours and see entry history. With this plan, you get unlimited projects and teams.
- The Unlimited plan has all the features of the Premium plan and costs $28 per month per user. Some of the additional features unique to this plan include live reports that you can send to clients, assigning team leads, seeing everyone’s timelog in one godlike view, or logging nudges to remind employees to complete their timesheets. Aside from unlimited projects and teams, you also get unlimited features and individual capacity.
- The Unlimited+ plan doesn’t have a specific pricing – after getting in touch with their customer service, Timely will provide you with a custom rate. It comes with Unlimited plan features and additional customized support with an assigned success partner.
I tried Timely using the free 14-day trial, which comes with the Unlimited features.
As for cons of this tool, I would say that one of the most important ones is that if you do some (or a lot of) work off-screen, then the reports you’ll receive won’t be that accurate, as the AI is unable to track this part of your work.
Also, if you manage a remote team that works from several different locations, the tool can create some confusion, as it doesn’t allow its users to choose the time zone, so just keep that in mind.
Pros and Cons
- No need to remember to track time – all is done automatically in the background
- Project management features make it a good choice for project managers
- The collected data is private
- No free plan available
- Not suitable for people who also do work off-screen
- Doesn’t let users pick time zones
When you work remotely, it’s very easy to get distracted. Suddenly, you might find yourself having to complete a few days’ worth of work in just a few hours, which will not only make you feel burned out but can also cause the quality of your work to be lower than usual. Thanks to apps like RescueTime, you can prevent that from happening
Best for time management and eliminating distractions
Why I Like It
I worked remotely due to the pandemic, so I know many distractions there are throughout the day. Having a desktop app that supports you in focusing on your work and ensuring that you have a healthy work-life balance can be extremely helpful in ensuring you don’t overwork yourself. I found that RescueTime helps you do just that.
It’s important to know that this Windows app is mostly dedicated to those who want to keep better track of their working time, as well as understand what they can do differently to become more productive. It’s not meant for task management, as there’s no way to distinguish between specific work activities. Instead, you have three categories to choose from – Focus Work, Other Work, and Personal Activities.
Some of the things that RescueTime does that allow you to keep focus and that I personally found very helpful include the ability to choose which sites are productive and which ones are not, as well as limit the notifications I receive.
So, how exactly does it work? Once you open RescueTime, you will be able to set how long you want your Focus Session to last for, what you want to achieve during it, and which applications or websites you will need to do it. Once the session is in progress, you won’t be able to access websites that aren’t deemed productive, and you also won’t receive unnecessary notifications that might make you distracted. Every once in a while, you receive an alert from the app to make sure that you’re staying on track.
When it comes to pricing, there are two options you can choose from – there’s the Lite version, which is free, and the Premium version, which costs $12 per month. The free version includes time tracking, personalized Focus Work goals as well as weekly reports. The Premium version, on the other hand, includes everything already mentioned, plus calendar and music integration and history reports. It also allows you to warm up before you start your Focus session.
Personally, if you’ve never used software like this before, I would recommend starting with the free version, using it for a few weeks, and seeing whether it’s something that helps you.
Lastly, RescueTime allows you to integrate both Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar, so that you can see your device time, goal progress, as well as overall meeting time all in one place.
One thing that I would say is a con of this app is the fact that if you use it simultaneously on several devices, it will count what you do on both of them. So, let’s say that you’re working on your desktop computer but are using your phone to play some YouTube videos in the background – both of those activities will be counted in your report, which might create an inaccurate picture of your productivity.
I also wish that I was provided with a more detailed report – but overall, it’s not a dealbreaker for me.
Pros and Cons
- The software allows you to keep track of the time spent working and how productive you were during the day
- Blocking unnecessary websites and notifications to minimize distractions
- Free plan available
- Counting multiple devices into the end of day report
- The report is not that detailed
- Not suitable for task management
How I Picked the Best Time Tracking Apps
As you can probably tell, picking just a few tracking apps for Windows that I could recommend to you was not easy. I always want to be honest, and when I think that an app does not meet a certain standard I set, I’m not going to sugarcoat it and say it’s perfect. With that being said, there are a few criteria that I specifically paid attention to so that I could truly pick the best of the best. Some of those things are:
- Ease of use. Complicated software that requires hours of training to understand and use semi-confidently isn’t beneficial to anyone. Employees become frustrated that they have to learn how to operate a completely new piece of software, while the employer is getting impatient because they usually want their workers to start using it as soon as possible.
- Real-time time tracking. I appreciate every app that aside from allowing you to log time manually, also provides you with real-time time tracking, so the only thing you need to do is click a button once you start, when taking a break, and when you finish the task.
- Integrations. The more connected the apps you use are to each other, the easier working with them is, which is why one of the things I looked at was how many time-tracking apps can be connected with other tools, as well as which ones had the option to connect to a Calendar.
- Reporting features. One of the easiest ways to understand how your time was spent is by seeing a visual overview of a day/week/month, etc., especially since many people are visualizers. That’s why when testing out the different Windows time tracking apps, I paid attention to whether you have the option to create a report or not.
- Price. The price can make a huge difference, especially if you have a lot of employees – not to mention that some time-tracking tools are simply not worth their price. That’s why I carefully evaluated whether the price you’d pay for it is adequate for what you receive in return.
The Bottom Line
Keeping track of how you and/or your employees spend time during work hours is crucial in understanding whether the resources are being used as they should or if some kind of change is needed to use them more efficiently. A great solution to achieve that is by using some kind of time-tracking tool.
I took the liberty to review some of my favorite ones, as I understand that there are so many that making a decision on your own can be quite challenging, especially if you haven’t used anything like it before.
Each of them is best for different situations. If you’re looking for a tool that has basic time-tracking capabilities and that is free, then Toggl Track is perfect. If you need something more automated, then Timely is the best time-tracking software you can pick. Finally, if you simply want to improve your productivity, then RescueTime would be the right one.
However, remember my reviews are just a suggestion – only you know which one will be the best for you and/or your company.
With that being said, we have reached the end of my review of the best time-tracking apps for Windows. See you next time!