The Ultimate Guide to Time Tracking for Freelancers

Earning a living as a freelancer comes with a lot of perks. You make your own schedule, you’re pretty much free to work whenever and wherever you want, you take vacations when you want, and you choose who you will and won’t work with…Basically, it’s a glorious and magical experience. 

Well, that’s sort of true.

Being a freelancer also means you don’t have paid time off, so you often work while on vacation, you work crazy hours because nobody else can cover for you, your office doubles as your kitchen, and so you struggle to manage your schedule, stay on task, keep up with individual projects, show the hours you’ve worked, and consistently hit deadlines.

With all the potential chaos that comes with freelancing,  freelancers could sure use a little help from a time tracking app. 

Why is time tracking important for a freelancer?

Time tracking applications and software are essential for any freelancer. Keeping accurate records of time can help save businesses time when billing, invoicing, and reporting. It also helps ensure worker productivity by providing a sense of accountability, giving freelancers an incentive to focus on their tasks with specific allotments of time, and helping to avoid falling behind schedule. 

Time tracking software is also beneficial for managing projects and determining budget requirements, giving business owners a better understanding of how their people are spending their time. It isn’t just about getting paid as a freelancer. It’s also about ensuring the greater overall efficiency of your business in the long run. 

Inaccurate paperwork takes unnecessary amounts of time away from other more important matters. By implementing efficient systems that provide accurate data, freelancers benefit from consistent operations and accurate bookkeeping.

What are the benefits of time tracking for freelancers?

Time tracking software has emerged as an essential tool for freelancers, allowing them to keep tabs on the time they spend working on a project. With these services, freelancers are able to have greater visibility of their hours worked and consequently take greater control of their finances. 

It also allows companies freelancers work with to make sure that their investment in the project is accounted for. The time tracking app keeps the proof of work easy to access.

The benefits of using time tracking software for freelancers are numerous—from automated tracking processes for accurate calculations, to streamlined workflow integrations that allow invoices to be presented quickly and efficiently—this type of software allows freelancers and their clients alike to benefit from its features.

Time reporting further allows you to monitor how your projects are progressing in terms of the hours dedicated by each employee or freelancer, while payroll processing can be swiftly conducted with ease. This is why time tracking software is becoming increasingly popular amongst freelancers because it offers a platform for total transparency and ensures no one is missing out on their fair share.

What to look for in a time tracking app

Whether you’re managing a team of freelancers or just tracking your own hours, having the right time-tracking software can make all the difference. With so many options out there, it’s essential to have a clear idea of what features to look for in the best freelance time-tracking software.

  1. You’ll want an intuitive and easy-to-navigate user interface in order to quickly start tracking time and accurately log tasks. Look for apps that have powerful organizational features, like project tags and task priority levels, to keep every hour accounted for and streamline workflow between multiple users. 
  1. Additionally, cloud integration allows you to access information from mobile devices and speeds up collaborative efforts if your team works across multiple platforms. 
  1. Automated billing ensures that clients are promptly sent accurate invoices so there are no unnecessary delays in getting paid.
  2. Lastly, make sure the app stores data securely with customizable security settings you can adjust as needed.

A comprehensive time tracking software can be a great tool to expand your business while effortlessly keeping track of freelancer or client work hours––but only if it has all the right features. Keep these key points in mind when shopping around for a reliable application to get the most out of each hour spent on the job.

Key points

Time tracking accuracy

Accurate time tracking is essential in today’s work environment. Freelancers need to monitor the progression of their projects and ensure that projects are properly allocated and on track, as well as manage overtime hours worked. Having a reliable time tracking tool that records an employee’s activities accurately is vital for these purposes.

Time tracking should measure not only total active time in a given day but also track areas such as web app usage, breaks, lags, and idle times. This helps identify problems with productivity or lack of efficiency so you can take steps to improve your performance. 


Timesheets provide essential management tools for freelancers. They are used to generate time reports and help track work hours, as well as specific project times. Timesheets should also be available in formats that facilitate their use, such as PDF, CSV, and Excel.

For freelancers, effective timesheet tracking gives you the ability to accurately assess and validate your billable hours and discuss any discrepancies with your employers. Keeping these records can help freelancers manage cash flow effectively, minimizing the opportunity for debt to build up.

Integration with your existing apps

Integrating third-party tools into time tracking apps can be incredibly beneficial for freelancers when they want to streamline their work process. It offers features like importing data reports of your billable hours from time tracking apps to accounting programs such as QuickBooks payroll. This can save time and stress in managing finances, making it easier to keep track of profit and loss throughout the year. 

Through integration with third-party tools, freelancers have been given access to several helpful integrations including project management tools, payroll processing tools, Google Calendar, developer tools, and content creation tools—all within the same app. These integrations provide enhanced efficiency and accuracy so that tasks such as syncing data across all your essential apps or automating tedious tasks can run smoothly without any errors. 

The majority of hosting providers are already integrating with many third-party services, so you don’t need to worry about manually going through settings or exploring complex manuals to set up integrations—everything is conveniently available at your fingertips within the same application. With them being readily available, maintaining projects while keeping track of expenses and profits just became much simpler with fully automated systems enabled by convenient integrations.

Harvest would love the opportunity to show you how we can meet each of your objectives when it comes to tracking time. See why 70,000 customers are using Harvest daily, and sign up for a free, 30-day trial (no credit card required).

Shelbie Watts

Shelbie is the Content Marketing Manager for Harvest. She works to provide relevant, informative, and engaging material to team leaders and hopes to make work easier one article at a time.