Time Tracking

10 Best Time Tracking Apps for Freelancers in 2023

June 22, 2023

Freelancing is all the rage these days. It's like having a job but with the bonus of being your own boss, employee, and IT department all rolled into one.

You can work from anywhere, whether it's your cozy bed or that trendy coffee shop down the street where you can pretend to be a mysterious writer while sipping on an overpriced latte. Just don't forget to pack your laptop charger because no one wants to see you crying over a dead battery in the corner.

The true appeal of freelancing, however, is the ability to set your hours at your convenience. It is like being a lone wolf in the business world, hunting down gigs and projects that align with your skills and interests.

Let's not, however, be fooled by the allure of working in your PJs and enjoying flexible hours.  Time-tracking for freelancers has its fair share of challenges too.

Freelancing requires discipline, self-motivation, and hustling like a caffeinated squirrel. You become the master of your destiny: responsible for finding clients, managing projects, and handling the occasional curveball that comes your way.

So how to manage your crazy workloads and be a successful freelancer? 

Keep reading to find out the answer.


  • Time tracking is crucial for freelancers to stay organized, focused, and accountable.
  • Time tracking helps freelancers improve productivity and optimize work processes by accurately billing clients and identifying time-wasting activities. 
  • By using time tracking effectively, freelancers can enhance their efficiency, meet deadlines, and ensure fair compensation for their work.
  • Take advantage of time tracking to maximize your efficiency as a freelancer and achieve success in your freelance career!

Why is Freelance Time Tracking Important?              

As a freelancer, you might have to juggle multiple projects and tasks simultaneously, which makes efficient time management even more crucial for success. One tool that can significantly aid you in managing your time effectively is a time tracker for freelancers. You can unlock several benefits that enhance your productivity, financial management, and overall work processes by tracking your time effectively. 

Here are five key benefits of time tracking for freelancers:

1. Improving productivity and efficiency

It is easy to overestimate your limits when you get positive feedback and more opportunities. But it can go downhill from there if you start stretching yourself beyond your capacity. Keeping track of the time spent on all your assignments enables you to understand your productivity patterns and power hours. You can use this awareness to harness your peak productivity for completing your most important projects.

Having a precise record of how long certain tasks take, you can estimate future projects more accurately and avoid the dreaded curse of overpromising and underdelivering. Staying within the limits of your capacity and skills enhances your productivity by allowing you to be more engaged and provide quality results to your clients. 

Here’s an interesting read: How to Make Time Go Slower

2. Accurate billing and invoicing

Accurate billing is crucial for freelancers to ensure they are fairly compensated for their work. But managing invoices and tracking payment statuses can be an administrative burden, requiring attention and follow-up. It takes away time and focus from actual client projects and tasks. Organizing and reconciling different billing rates adds another layer of complexity and potential inaccuracies.

An automated time tracker eliminates the tedious and time-consuming task of manually logging your hours worked on paper or in spreadsheets. You can generate accurate invoices that reflect the time and effort invested, avoid the risk of getting underpaid, and increase a healthy cash flow by focusing on tasks that earn you better hourly rates. 

3. Identifying time-wasting activities and distractions

Distractions and time-wasting activities can significantly hamper a freelancer's productivity. 

Time tracking acts as a powerful self-assessment tool, allowing freelancers to identify and address these productivity killers. By reviewing their time logs, freelancers can spot patterns of time wastage, such as excessive time spent on non-essential tasks or getting distracted by social media or emails. 

For freelancers, it's like having a personal assistant who watches how you spend your work hours and keeps you organized, focused, and accountable. By diligently tracking your time, you gain valuable insights into your productivity levels, identify time-wasting activities, and improve your overall efficiency.

4. Analyzing and optimizing work processes

Time tracking tools offer reporting and analytics features essential for understanding how to improve work processes. They enable you to generate reports quickly and efficiently, allowing you to measure progress, identify productivity trends, and gain valuable insights into your work habits. 

Reviewing your time logs allows you to address inefficiencies, bottlenecks, or tasks that take longer than expected. It helps you make informed decisions to streamline your workflow, eliminate unnecessary steps, and implement more efficient processes. 

As a freelancer, you can assess your comparative performance on different projects or tasks and invest your concerted efforts in the most profitable ones. Continuous analysis and optimization of work processes based on time-tracking insights lead to increased productivity, higher-quality deliverables, and improved client satisfaction.

5. Monitoring Project Progress and Meeting Deadlines

Meeting project deadlines is crucial for maintaining client satisfaction and building a strong professional reputation as a freelancer. Time tracking allows freelancers to monitor project progress more effectively. By tracking time spent on different project phases or specific tasks, freelancers can assess whether they are on track to meet deadlines or if adjustments need to be made.

This real-time visibility helps freelancers stay proactive, identify potential delays, and take necessary actions to ensure timely project completion. Time tracking also enables freelancers to provide accurate updates to clients on project status, fostering clear communication and trust.

Top 10 Time Tracking Apps for Freelancers 

Here is a list of the 10 best free time tracking apps for freelancers:

1. RescueTime

RescueTime can be a great time tracking app for freelancers who want to track and analyze their time but are not required to report back to managers or clients. You can get detailed reports with valuable insights into your productivity, all while keeping your information confidential.


  • Easy to use and navigate
  • Allows setting alerts/timers
  • Blocks distractive websites


  • Outdated interface
  • Lack of detail in reports
  • No free plan

2. Klok

Klok offers a powerful desktop application that delivers excellent results as a freelance hour tracker. With its data-driven approach, Klok utilizes past project data to assist you in estimating future project durations. Furthermore, the app enables you to categorize your work, providing valuable insights into time allocation for meetings, phone calls, and self-marketing efforts.


  • Calendar-like display with time entries shown as blocks
  • Easy setup of clients, projects, and tasks with a customizable hierarchy


  • Not easily affordable
  • Limited integration with other platforms
  • Mobile app functionality is limited

3. FreshBooks

FreshBooks is an ideal solution for freelancers looking to streamline their time-tracking and accounting processes. With its cloud-based platform, you can easily log billable hours, track expenses, and send professional invoices. FreshBooks provides all the essential tools you need to effectively manage your freelance business, including robust invoicing, project management, and reporting capabilities. 


  • User-friendly interface
  • Expense categories can be customized
  • Automated invoice reminders


  • No free plan
  • Manual timer
  • Mobile app can be buggy

4. TimeDoctor

With customizable monitoring options, TimeDoctor caters to individual preferences. Freelancers managing teams can generate comprehensive productivity reports, while contractors gain insights into how the time is being spent. Using Time Doctor, you can easily identify if you're over or under-servicing a client.

It allows you to provide accurate breakdowns of your work to meet client requirements easily. Stay on top of your time management and deliver detailed reports when needed with Time Doctor.


  • Payroll management
  • Supports multiple integrations
  • Detailed reporting


  • Some users find it intrusive
  • Clocking can be redundant
  • Screenshots tracking

5. HourStack

HourStack is designed to provide innovative time-tracking for freelancers. It allows you to organize tasks into time blocks, providing a visual approach to managing your time effectively. You can customize your workflow with integrations to popular apps and extensions like Google Calendar. While it doesn't have a free version, HourStack offers features like project tracking, detailed reports, and convenient cross-platform availability.


  • Intuitive interface
  • Easy reporting
  • Drag and drop calendar invites
  • Integration with popular apps


  • App integrations are not smooth
  • Notifications can be annoying

6. Clockify

Clockify is a popular free time-tracking software for freelancers, offering unlimited project and user tracking. It stands out with its extensive support channels, including chat, email, and live phone assistance. With features like browser compatibility, visual activity breakdowns, and weekly progress, Clockify provides comprehensive tracking and detailed reports specified by projects or clients.


  • It has a user-friendly interface
  • Real-time tracking
  • Reports can be downloaded in Excel or PDF
  • Affordability


  • Clunky manual timer
  • Some basic actions are not free
  • Mobile app has limited features

7. Bonsai

Bonsai is a comprehensive time-tracking software tailored for freelancers, accessible on the web, iOS, and Mac OS. It simplifies project management with features like automated invoicing, cloud-based accessibility, and built-in contract and proposal templates. Freelancers can effortlessly track time, draft contracts, and generate invoices with Bonsai's all-in-one solution.


  • User-friendly interface
  • Easy to set up
  • Electronic signature


  • Unreliable customer service
  • Expense tracking can be misleading

8. BuddyPunch

Buddy Punch is a user-friendly web-based platform that streamlines time management for freelancers. It offers seamless integration with accounting software and enables time tracking across multiple devices through facial recognition and QR code login features.

Noteworthy features include integration with invoicing and payroll tools, billable hours tracking, automatic break and overtime calculations, and vacation and task tracking capabilities.


  • User-friendly and easy to navigate
  • Automatic breaks


  • limited mobile functionality
  • Screenshot monitoring
  • Setting up new users requires effort

9. TimelyApp

Timely is a calendar-based time-tracking app designed for freelancers. It captures your time spent across different apps, creating a comprehensive freelance timesheet of your activities. Notable features include AI-based automation, team, and project management reports, and a comprehensive dashboard for efficient time management.


  • User-friendly interface
  • Intuitive dashboards


  • It is expensive!
  • Customization can be confusing
  • Limited integrations
  • Lacks reporting filters

10. timegram

timegram is a smart management solution that provides effortless freelance time-tracking for individuals and teams. It provides a comprehensive solution to the biggest concern of freelancers: automatically generating accurate invoices from the hours logged!

It simplifies invoicing by allowing you to easily tag billable and non-billable activities and create detailed invoices with just a few clicks while eliminating any chance of discrepancies. It ensures that freelancers are fairly compensated for their work. 

With timegram, you can focus on what truly matters and set up recurring payments effortlessly, relieving the stress of managing multiple bills over extended periods.

And that’s not all!  

Whether you are freelancing with a small team or an individual seeking to manage their time more productively, timegram can be your lifesaver. It is free for up to 3 users forever, so you don’t have to worry about monthly recurring costs. Some of its features include:

  • Automated and unobtrusive time tracking
  • You can see estimated vs. actual time reports
  • Generates accurate timesheets automatically
  • Respects privacy by not taking screenshots or logging keystrokes
  • Optimizes productivity by helping identify peak productivity trends


To sum it up, time-tracking plays a crucial role in the success of freelancers by improving productivity, enabling accurate billing, identifying time-wasting activities, optimizing work processes, and monitoring project progress.

It helps you stay organized, focused, and accountable while providing valuable insights into your work habits and productivity patterns.

A reliable freelance time-tracker like timegram can improve time management, generate accurate timesheets, and simplify invoicing. With its user-friendly features and emphasis on privacy, timegram offers you a seamless and efficient time-tracking experience.

Learn how our key features help you take control of your time and enhance your productivity. 

Try timegram for free to unlock the full potential of time tracking in your freelance journey!


How do you measure freelance hours?

Tracking freelancers can be achieved through various tools and strategies to ensure effective monitoring and collaboration.

You can utilize time-tracking tools that allow freelancers to log their working hours, track project progress, and generate reports and invoices. Task management platforms enable you to assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress. Communication and collaboration tools keep you connected with freelancers, while regular updates and reports provide insights into their activities and productivity. 

Is there a free screenshot-free time tracker for freelancers?

Many time-tracking apps have free plans or trials for a limited period, but very few offer screenshot-free tracking.

tiimegram is a privacy-first smart time tracking and project management tool that offers a free forever plan for individuals and small teams. It is the best app for freelancers wishing to effectively track their activities and work progress without invasion of privacy.

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Sidra Ali Shah

About the author

Sidra is a research scholar and a philosophy nerd who fell in love with language at a very young age. She believes it's words and their combinations that make the world go round. In her free time, she likes to brainstorm with her children.

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