The Best Time Tracking Apps for Small Businesses: Find Out Where Your Time Is Going and How You Can Get More of It Back with These Tools

Sean Lund-Brown

Time—it's something we all want more of, can never seem to find enough of, and that can often get the best of us. Everyone is guilty of occasionally getting lost in the social media doom scroll or the time suck that is a mobile game. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to cut yourself off or even think about cutting the “cord”, as it were—as long as you’re willing to find a way to start managing your time better, you’re already on the right path. 

Today's market of apps and tools leaves little to be desired in the world of time tracking solutions. There are plenty of options for personal use, along with a slew of options for the modern small business that needs a better way to keep track of its valuable time. After all, if you’re in the zone and knocking the to-do list out of the park, do you really want to kill your momentum by stopping to track your time? 

With time tracking apps, you can track billable and non-billable hours, create more accurate invoices, analyze task time consumption and improve time waste, and even just to streamline productivity and make it simpler to keep track of everything with the help of automation. There are dozens of tools available today, but we’ve taken the time to pick out the best of the best for you, which you’ll find reviewed below. 

Whether your small business is running on a budget and needs something cheap or free, or you’re just looking for specific features, there’s plenty to choose from. While you’re reviewing the options below, check for things like:

  • Real-Time Tracking
  • Manual Editing and Time Block Additions
  • Reporting Features
  • Invoice Creation
  • Data Exporting

The difference between these tools and the ones designed for larger companies and enterprise brands is that they don’t have employee monitoring features or payroll tracking tools integrated. These are often beyond the scope of what the modern small business needs. You could opt for a project management tool or accounting app that has built-in time tracking, too, but again if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re probably in the market for a more dynamic solution than what these basic apps offer. 

When you want a dynamic solution that takes your time management further, consider enlisting the assistance of our virtual receptionists here at Smith.ai. We can handle mission-critical services like appointment scheduling and lead intake, inbound and outbound call overflow, and more. 

Toggl Track: best for free use

Toggl Track is available for those who need a reliable time tracking app, but might not be able to find room in the budget for a paid tool. It has a generous offering in its free service tier that allows access from all devices: Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, web access, and browser extensions are available. This effortless tool doesn’t ask much, which is what makes it so easy for people to use. Unlike some apps that require you to input all of the details of the task before tracking, Toggl allows you to track time now and fill in the rest when you can. 

It also has some of the most detailed options available for time tracking, including the option on the Chrome extension to automatically start or stop time when the browser is open or closed. Plus, it has great idle detection and allows for manual corrections as needed. There’s even a handy setting that follows the Pomodoro Technique, allowing you to work on a project for a set amount of time, take a short break, and then go back to work. 

You can also integrate this app with dozens of different tools like Zapier, Slack, Google Calendar, and others. It’s free for up to five users and if you need to upgrade to the Starter plan, you’ll pay just $9 per user, per month. 

Harvest: best for teams

Harvest is a platform that’s also available for iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, the web, and via browser extensions. It’s a tool that’s geared toward teams and offers features like time tracking, expense reporting, project and team tracking, detailed reports, invoicing, and other tools. Timesheets allow users to add time that hasn’t been automatically tracked or edit any of the tasks that might not have been captured correctly. 

If you aren’t great at time tracking, this tool is the answer. Plus, all of your users can install it on as many devices as they’d like—if they want the desktop app, the Android app, and the browser extensions, they can do that. The apps even work offline so team members can record their tasks even when they are offline. The administrator also gets automatic notifications of all tasks, timesheets, and change requests, and can approve or edit time, as well. 

Plus, Harvest integrates with all of the apps you’re already using, including some direct tracking integrations with tools like Trello, Asana, and Slack so that you don’t even have to transfer the time yourself. It integrates with Zapier, too, so you can make your own integrations as needed, and it’s free if you’re a solo user with only one or two active projects at a time. Otherwise, you’ll spend $12 per user, per month, which is also pretty affordable. 

Everhour: best for availability management

Everhour offers a lightweight scheduling and time tracking solution that is available via web or browser extension, as well as a beta version for iOS. It can be used in other apps with integrations, too, thanks to tools like Zapier. You can connect it directly to apps like Asana to track projects and automatically transfer the information to this app and there’s even a sync feature that allows you to add a timer inside the app so that you can start and stop time right in the app. 

This tool is great for small collaborative teams that need to track availability and hours that people have to dedicate to certain projects. There's an option to create time-off logs so that you know when everyone will be available, and you can even see timed sessions or events that went over their allotment because they’re highlighted in red. 

Everhour’s timer is web-based, so it won’t work offline. That can make time tracking difficult in some instances, but for those who always have access to the web, it’s not a problem. The tool integrates with FreshBooks, Xero, Google Sheets, Trello, and several other apps to ensure that you can track time as efficiently as possible. You can use the app for free if you’re not worried about the integrations, or plans start at $5 per user, per month. 

HourStack: best for visualization

If you’re looking for a different way to manage and visualize your time, HourStack has a solution. This app uses windows or blocks like a calendar rather than a list of time slots or tasks. It also puts more emphasis on time planning than many of the apps out there. You can even allocate time for later tasks, including how much time you think it will take. The app will then help you keep an eye on your expectations by monitoring your time once you get started. 

You can create your own projects and tasks and then color-code them for visual distinction and organization. You'll also be able to add labels and color-code those, and there’s a time limit feature that you can set to make sure that you’re not overdoing it. If you’re constantly finding yourself spending 10 or 11 hours at the office, this can be a great way to cut back and give yourself more time outside of work. 

HourStack is available on the web, as well as for iOS and Android. It integrates with tons of productivity tools, but you can’t integrate the timer. However, you can sync tasks and calendar events to HourStack, import and export data, and more. You can integrate with Asana, Google Calendar, HubSpot, Trello, and dozens of others, as well as Zapier, which allows you to create your own custom integrations. This tool starts at $5.60 per month for a single user on the personal plan, or $12 per month, per user, for the professional plan. 

RescueTime: best for reducing distractions

If you’ve got an easily distracted team, or even if you’re the one with the bad habit of getting lost in your phone or a good conversation for a half-hour, RescueTime is the app that will save the say. It’s available for Firefox, Linux, and Brave, in addition to the standard offerings for macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, and Chrome. This is an automatic tracking app that includes a monitor that will help track your usage. This allows your usage to be sent automatically to the RescueTime servers and present in your dashboard in real-time. 

The app already knows what tools you’re using and how long you’re using them this way, which saves a lot of manual entry. It also tracks your habits to try to categorize your effectiveness—Facebook is a “very distracting” task and something like Trello is “very productive”. There’s a website blocker included, called FocusTime, which can guarantee that you can’t access the doom scrolling when you need to be getting things done. 

You can also add exceptions or just time your usage outside of work so that you’re not overdoing it on the “breaks” -- it’s not a break if you spend an hour on social media. One cool feature is that you can use #focustime to schedule sessions automatically in Outlook, Office 365, or Google Calendar. Slack has an integration, and you can use it with Zapier, too, to create your own connections. The basic plan is free, while it’ll cost you $12 a month for the Premium package, which includes the time blocking features, along with project and document tracking, and more. 

Don’t just track time, get more time back by partnering with Smith.ai

Now that you’ve seen what the best time tracking tools can do, it’s going to be easy for you to understand the value of this investment. Of course, it will still be up to you to choose the app that best suits your needs. Any of the ones on this list will be sure to deliver. You can also check out other popular free and cheap options like Clockify, TrackingTime, and Timeneye, which offer similar features and solutions for time tracking, but we just didn’t have room to list them all. 

When you integrate time tracking tools, you’ll be able to improve your efficiency, reduce waste, and improve your business all around. Plus, you can take things one step further and get even more time out of your day when you enlist the help of the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai. We can handle overflow call answering, appointment scheduling, lead intake, live website chat, and even Facebook and SMS message answering so that you have time for the tasks that require your attention. 

Automation is changing the way everyone does business, and so far, it’s been for the better. When you can count on tools like this to track your time and help you get more out of the hours in your day, you’ll feel better, be more productive, and see bigger profits as a result of it all. Plus, when you partner with Smith.ai on top of it all, you’ll have the peace of mind that your mission-critical services are handled by the professionals while you’re otherwise engaged. And, we can even integrate with your tools to sync information seamlessly and keep everything streamlined.

Schedule a live chat consultation today to discuss how our solutions can help you grow your business by getting more time in your days. From overflow calls to 24/7 live chat and call answering services, and even things like payment collection and spam call blocking, we’ve got you covered. You can also find us at hello@smith.ai or call (650) 727-6484.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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