Cloud

Never forget a task or billable hour with this cloud-based time-tracking tool

If you've been scouring the web for a solid cloud-based time-tracking solution, stop the search. Here's how to use TrackingTime on your Chrome device.

timehero.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

If you're a busy consultant or freelancer, one of the most important things you must do is keep track of your time. Without the reliable means to do so, your billing will not be accurate and, should anyone question a bill, you won't have the means to back up your claims.

That's where a good time-tracking tool comes in. If you happen to use Chrome, or prefer to carry a Chromebook around with you to gigs (or even an Android or iOS device), you're in luck. TrackingTime happens to be an outstanding, cloud-based time tracking tool that does the job...and then some.

Tracking Time allows you to:
  • Track tasks
  • Track activity
  • View reports
  • Create projects
  • Work with a team
  • Keep timesheets
  • Get desktop notifications
  • Manage clients and services
  • Work from either an Android or an iOS app

TrackingTime is free and, if you don't happen to have a Chrome-based device handy, you can always log in to your account on any web browser.

With that said, let's install and get up to speed on how to use this outstanding time-tracking tool. I'll be installing and using TrackingTime from a Chromebook.

SEE: Kill distractions — 2 tools to stay productive online

Installing TrackingTime

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Point the browser to the TrackingTime extension page.
  3. Click ADD TO CHROME.
  4. When prompted click Add Extension.

Once the extension has been installed, you will find it in either your Apps tab (Chrome) or in the App menu (Chrome OS). Click to open TrackingTime and then either sign up or sign in to start working with the app. Before you track your first second of time, you will be prompted to enter a name for your company. Do so and move on to the TrackingTime main screen (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

A brand new TrackingTime main window.

Using TrackingTime

You can use Tracking Time as a quick and easy means to track tasks and activity. However, if you're serious about tracking your time for clients, you'll want to walk through a couple of important steps before starting.

If you hover over the COMPANY button (bottom left corner), you will see a popout menu where you can add clients and services, and manage your account. If you work with clients, click COMPANY | CLIENTS. In the resulting page, click the ADD CLIENT button, give the client a name, click CONTACT INFORMATION, fill out the details, and click SAVE. Add all of the clients you work with and then move to COMPANY | SERVICES. If you work with any services, add those in the same fashion you did clients.

Now that you have your clients and services ready, you will want to add a project. Click PROJECTS and then click ADD PROJECT. In the popup window (Figure B), fill in the details and click ADD PROJECT.

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

Adding a project that for time tracking.

Now you can invite coworkers to join by clicking TEAM | INVITE CO-WORKERS. When the coworker accepts the invitation (and signs up for TrackingTime), you can invite them to work on a project by following these steps.

  1. Go to the PROJECTS section.
  2. Double-click the specific project.
  3. Click the Add button to add a task.
  4. In the TASK DETAILS section (Figure C), select the coworker to be added to the task.
  5. Fill out the remaining details.
  6. Click ADD TASK.

As soon as you add that task, the project will appear on the coworker's Tracking Time Dashboard under PROJECTS.

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen

Adding a co-worker to a task.

At this point, for every task or activity you create, you can assign Tasks to existing projects and Time Entries to existing tasks. Your team can track their individual time on their assigned tasks — their entries will automatically be updated in your Dashboard. You can also get a quick glimpse of timesheets by clicking TIMESHEETS, selecting a date range, choosing either Clients, Projects, or Team, and clicking LOAD TIMESHEET. TrackingTime will present you with an easy to read graph of time logged (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D
Image: Jack Wallen

A sample timesheet from TrackingTime.

The best in its breed

TrackingTime is one of the finest cloud-based time tracking tools I've used. Considering it's free, there is no reason why you should not give TrackingTime a try.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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