Best Free Project Time-keeping Utility

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Introduction

Do you need to record the time you work on a project, or even a series of tasks you work on? There are many good, free tools available with varying degrees of functionality to suit just about any of your needs.

While the ability to have time recording to multiple tasks simultaneously is available in many of the programs reviewed, the true benefit of this is debatable.

Some people claim they have the ability to multi-task. The reality is, we may be task switching, but we are not truly multi-tasking, or working on more than one thing at any time. It is impossible for a programmer, for example, to be editing code in one window and debugging in another simultaneously. You could be running a long compile on a large application in a different window, but that is the computer doing the compile in another window without your intervention.

Is it reasonable to be charging time to a customer for compiling when you are not actually doing any work, while working on something entirely different, possibly even for the same customer? I don't believe so, that seems a lot like "double dipping" to me. However, not everyone will agree, and that is why multi-time recording may be a feature to you.

 

Rated Products

Task Coach  

A fully featured and excellent task management and time recording application


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Open source)
Data stored in XML format, create sub-tasks within tasks, multiple customizable categories, set alarms and recurring reminders, priorities on different tasks and sub-tasks, detailed task capability, and more.
No export to CSV format, no GUI or other reporting capability.
Read full review...

ToDoList  

A task management tool allows you to repeatedly sub-divide your tasks into more manageable pieces


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Open source)
Encrypt a task list, small memory footprint; Set priorities, due dates, time estimates, percent completion, etc; shows overdue items, multiple filters, powerful import/export, sort and search, share data, etc.
Does not show due date of a task once the task is marked closed; there was no way I could find to view time logged by date and time, it seems to record only the total time logged, not the actual times themselves.
Read full review...

Project Timer  

A simple utility to record time against different projects


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Smple to set up and use, multiple timers but uses more memory, customized colors and fonts, rename projects, stats in historgram form.
Only one color and font setting is allowed, data is stored in a binary data file with no data export or other reporting capability, data is not portable and stored in C:\Documents and Settings\\Application data\Project Timer\Project Timer.data.
Read full review...

Cratchit.org TimeTool  

Easily handles multiple projects and only needs to be running when you clock on or off


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Data can be exported to CSV format, times can be adjusted, toolbar and menu options, status bar shows totals in minutes and hours, active task or none, fully portable program with data file ttdata.txt stored in the application directory.
Quirky (buggy) scroll bar behavior, scrolls the tool icons and status line at bottom of the window; no color, font and other customization options.
Read full review...

TimeTracker  

A PC activity monitor to track time spent in all open windows, with time accumulating for each running application


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Automatically records time for all processes, stop and start timers as you switch between windows, three different views, create custom tasks and rules, portable, data saved in CSV format in the same directory as the program.
Only current activity is displayed, need to open the CSV export to view previous activity. No color customization options.
Read full review...

Zanami Time Tracker  

A simple time recording utility with multiple tasks able to be timed in a single instance of the program


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Multiple tasks can be tracked at the same time, elapsed time is recorded even when the tool is shut down, sort on Activity name, Duration, Status or Created.
No ability to rename tasks, limited options and no customization ability, no data export, no GUI reporting, non-portable data which is stored in C:\Documents and Settings\Application data\Time Tracker\TimeTracker.sdata.
Read full review...

Other Project Time-keeping Utilities

  • ManicTime helps you keep track of your work hours. It automatically records your computer usage and remembers which apps you've used and for how long. It also traces the web sites you've visited and which documents you've worked on.
  • RescueTime Lite is free for you to track time in websites and applications, set goals and get a weekly email report with 3-month history. The Premium service offers more features but requires a subscription fee.

 

Related Products and Links

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Comments

I just discovered the freeware time tracker software Grindstone.
It looks very basic, but it has more features then you would expect.
In my opinion it certainly deserves to be mentioned in this list.
(http://www.epiforge.com/Grindstone/)

Thank you for your suggestion. I have looked this product over, and I really like it. I am currently working on adding it to the list. Thank you again for sharing this treasure. JDHeileman

You're welcome. Sharing good freeware, that's what this site is all about, isn't it?