3 ways to track time spent on tasks for work, billing on a phone

If you charge people for the time spent on projects and jobs, you need to accurately record when and for how long you work. Personal time can also be recorded and analyzed on your phone.

There are many time tracking apps for Android phones and the iPhone, but here the focus is on three popular ones. HoursTracker, Clockify and Toggl Track. All the apps have free and paid options and the free mode of one of them is so good that many people won’t need to pay.

The phone apps can record work or personal activities and basically they are all timers. You tap a button to start and stop a timer and tell it what activity you were engaged in. They automatically add up the time spent on tasks whether you spend a day or a month and you can set a billing rate so you know how much to charge customers.

They can also be used for personal use, such as recording your gym visits, cycle rides, volunteering and other activities. They can tell you how much time you are spending on each activity and analyse how you spend your time.

There are many uses for these apps, although the primary one is work. Find them in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store on your phone and install them for free.

Track time with HoursTracker

HoursTracker simply tracks the hours you spend on jobs, projects, hobbies or whatever you want to tack. Unlike the other time tracking apps I look at here that enable you to analyze how you spend your time, this app just tracks time and shows totals.

The interface is also quite plain compared to the others and there are no graphs and charts. It is just plain text. At first sight, it might not seem as attractive, but it actually does a great job of tracking your time for work or personal tasks.

HoursTracker app for phones tracks the time spent on work or personal tasks
HoursTracker tracks time spent on jobs

The home screen lists jobs, which can be anything you want to track, from time spent on work projects or hours spent at the gym. The free version is limited to three jobs, but a one-time payment of £9.49 (around $13) allows unlimited jobs and removes the ads.

Tap a job there are two buttons, one to clock in now, which starts a timer, and another to start the clock at a specific time. When you stop working the buttons stop the timer or allow you to stop it at a specific time.

Time rounding enables the minutes to be rounded down or up, so go over the hour by five minutes and an extra 15-minute block can be charged for, for example. You can also set a number of hours for a job each day and be notified when completed.

When a timer is running, you can add tips, add mileage, add or subtract time or earnings. You can also add breaks. If it is a billable job, you can add the hourly cost. You can also go back and edit previous jobs, such as to add expenses or tips.

Work can be manually entered and the start and end times set, breaks and tips added, cost and so on. You can even add 1.5x, 2x and unpaid to the cost, such as for overtime. Locations can also be tracked and the app can automatically start and stop a timer or remind you to do it manually when arriving or leaving. It can automatically learn where you do jobs too.

All the entries can be viewed in a table listing organized by day, showing earnings, time and tasks. An alternative view lists items by job. Everything can be exported to a CSV file which is emailed to you and this enables the data to be imported into a spreadsheet like Excel or Google Sheets.

HoursTracker does the job brilliantly, but it is about as much fun as a spreadsheet. It is excellent and recommended.

Track time with Clockify

Clockify is both a phone app and a website and they are kept in sync, so you can use either one to record and view hours spent on jobs, projects, hobbies and so on. The website has more features than the app and is excellent, but let’s look at the app first.

The is straightforward and the timer started by entering a few basic details like the name of the project, the tasks and tags, and whether it is billable. You cannot set the rate in the app and billing is just an on/off switch. Billing rates are set on the website, more of that in a minute.

Clockify app for phones tracks the time spent on work or personal tasks
Clockify time tracker offers many features for free

The app’s home screen lists previous jobs and each has a start button. You can look down the list and tap a previous job’s start button to create a new timer for today. This is very useful for jobs that last days or weeks and a single tap is all it takes to continue working on it and tracking time spent. Jobs can be manually added too.

The Reports section of the app shows two very nice charts showing where you have spent your time over the last day, week, month, year and other time periods. This is a great app if you want to see where your time is being spent, making it useful for personal time tracking, like visits to the gym, as well as work.

The website is where Clockify really shines and you can view your time on a calendar and there is a smart dashboard with a chart showing how time is spent. It shows the number of hours spent on jobs and the percentage of your time. You can view the data by project or billability, only for you or for the team – there are team features.

Clockify stands out from other apps by its ability to manage teams and people can be invited to become members, so all time for a client or project can be tracked and accounted for, not just yours.

Clockify offers all the core features for free and many people will be happy with this version. However, if more control and features are needed, there are subscription plans starting at $3.99 a month. Among the extras are the ability to set required fields, add time for others, bulk edit, and go back and change rates.

This time tracker is clearly aimed at businesses and teams and that’s where it makes its money, but it is also a great app for personal time tracking too. It is recommended. Try a free account, it may be all you need.

Track time with Toggl Track

Toggl Track is a phone app and a website and either can be used to record the time spent on jobs, projects, tasks and hobbies. It is free to use the app and website, but there are also paid plans too. I have been using the free plan.

The app is very nice and the home screen is the best of the three apps here. At the bottom of the screen is a Start button so you can immediately start a timer and track what you are working on.

At the top of the screen is a Track Again section that lists recent tasks you have recorded. One tap on the adjacent start button creates a new entry and begins the timer. This makes it very easy to continue working on a task. Further down the screen is your activity where you can see what you worked on, when and for how long.

Toggl Track app for phones tracks the time spent on work or personal tasks
Toggl Track has a great user interface

Tasks can be manually entered and this is done on a calendar that shows the current week. Long press on a day and time and you can drag your finger to mark a block of time, then you can add the description. This is by far the easiest way to manually enter jobs of the three apps.

The Reports section is also nicely designed and you can select the time period from today, yesterday, this/last week, this/last month, this/last year. A bar chart shows the hours and a circular chart below breaks it down by project and shows the percentage of time and hours spent on each one.

This is a very nice app and the website is very good. However, it has a couple of drawbacks and the first is that the free version does not track billing. It only tracks hours. You only have to multiply the hours by the cost per hour to work out the billing manually, but you really need a subscription to access the best features.

The second drawback is that it costs more than the other two apps and you need to pay $9 a month to access essential features that the other apps provide for a fraction of the price. I like Toggl Track a lot, but prefer Clockify’s features/price combination.

Which is the best time tracker?

If you work solo and only want to track your activities, HoursTracker is a good choice and it is cheap because there is no subscription, just a one-time payment. Clockify and Toggl Track are both good and can be used solo or by teams, but Clockify offers more for free and has lower priced subscriptions if you want more features. It is my favorite here.

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