If I'm going to rely on a time-tracking service, it needs to be drop-dead simple, with almost no learning curve. Freckle comes pretty darn close. The service offers a two-minute overview that got me up and running quickly. I like how easy it is to create projects and track time spent on them, and I really like how Freckle uses tags, so you can spot trends in your work and analyze it later on.
Once your time has been logged, Freckle proves its worth. Its "Pulse" view displays an overview of your month, so you can see where your time was spent at a quick glance. For more detailed information, Freckle offers Reports, which you can customize by time period, client, project, and the tags you've used when logging your time. The Reports screen can be a bit overwhelming at first, but that's in large part because Freckle offers so many on-screen tips about how to use all of its features. Taking a few minutes to read through them proved very helpful.
Freckle includes invoicing tools that are simple to use, and allow you to create slick-looking invoices quickly. It's an easy way to make sure you're getting paid, but you'll also have to pay up to use Freckle. The service includes a 30-day free trial, but after that, plans range from $19 per month (1 user, designed for Consultants and Freelancers) to $159 per month for large teams.
Chrometa promises it can accurately track your time with "no effort or data entry required." After hearing that, I had to try it out — and was impressed to see just how well it worked, with so little input required from me.
Chrometa's automatic time-tracking tools will work best for anyone who needs to bill someone for their work, whether that's a lawyer tracking billable time or a consultant working on a variety of projects. The software runs in the background on your Mac, PC, or Android device (an iOS version is in the works), recording what you're working on.
I was worried Chrometa's records of my activities would be too general to be helpful, that was not the case. Chrometa was able to tell me I was working in Microsoft Word, and also the exact name of the document I was editing or the subject line of the email I was typing.
Once your activities have been logged by Chrometa, you can assign them to certain clients or projects. This is the most tedious part of using Chrometa, but it's not difficult. Chrometa can create timesheets automatically, and allows you to track time spent away from the computer, which will prove useful to lawyers and other professionals.
Chrometa includes a free 30-day trial, after which pricing starts at $12 per month and goes up from there. That's a small price to pay for an application that's so good at tracking your time, it's almost spooky.
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