Five minutes here, ten there, oh no!
January 10, 2006 4:13 AM   Subscribe

I'm having a bit of trouble tracking my time for web consulting work. I need to be able to handle small increments of time, and it needs to have a flexible reporting system. What (preferably web-based) software should I use?

I build and consult on websites, and I often get small 'tasks' from clients that will pile up in my inbox until I get into a purging mood and finish them all off. I would like some app that will let me queue up and check off the tasks with the following structure: I have a list of clients, and each client has one or more projects, and each project has one or more tasks. Then, each task has a time associated with it.

I've looked at TiddlyWiki, but it is too unstructured and open-ended for me. I have ended up using it for other tasks. I have also tried TrimPath's Next Action, but it is too restrictive and GTD-focused. Basecamp looks really nice, but it costs money. I don't want to pay any money for this (although I am open to suggestions!)

I would like a web-based app that I could install and access from multiple locations, or a portable html file (like TiddlyWiki or TP's Next Action) that I can carry around on my USB key. Last in preference would be a desktop app, and this has to run on Linux.

Needed features:
- Free
- Easily accessible/reachable (this is why i don't want a desktop app)
- Must keep track of time
- Allow me to generate reports in the format: "Client - Project - Task: Time" or something similar.

Extras (for bonus points), that would be nice:
Web 2.0
posted by bkudria to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Best answer: What about Sidejobtrack? Seems like it meets all of your needs and more.
posted by mikel at 4:45 AM on January 10, 2006

Tasks has most of those features, but not completely sure about the tracking time part.
posted by misterioso at 6:48 AM on January 10, 2006

Best answer: Check this out. Haven't used it personally, but tested it once and seemed good:
posted by ejaned8 at 7:52 AM on January 10, 2006

I asked a similar question to the 43folders google group. Basecamp seemed to be the best web-based thing available. Sidejobtrack was also mentioned.
posted by bobot at 7:55 AM on January 10, 2006

I've been using a palm app called Hours. It's really good for this kind of thing. I wish I could turn it into invoices easily though.

On the web-side, I've taken more than one look at Free for a small (<2 0, i think) number of>
Until I find something fantastic, I've been using the 'Timesheet' function of Quickbooks. It's not my favorite, but it keeps the time tracked and the money coming in. Definitely not free.
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:37 AM on January 10, 2006

I've been working on a (very alpha) Rails app to do time tracking - based on the clockworktimer code.

It's available for ask.mefi testing at

Disclaimer - only works in Firefox right now, and is very not done. I'd be interested to see what people that are looking for such a thing have to say, however.
posted by slhack3r at 9:51 AM on January 10, 2006

Response by poster: Ah, thank you, thank you! I very much like SideJobTrack, it seems to do exactly what I want. Thank you, mikel!

ejaned8: ClockworkTimer looks to be very useful, when I just want to quickly log some time. Excellent no-frills interface.

slhack3r: I tried to join, but I never received an email. SideJobTrack have a very good architecture, and if you make your app resemble the work flow, that would be great. Users want to log in and get started immediately, so if you have a starting area where a user can start tracking time as soon as they log in, and then add pertinent details later, it would be awesome.

Thanks again, guys!
posted by bkudria at 2:26 PM on January 10, 2006

Time Snapper may be useful for this. Haven't tried it myself but it would be useful for keeping track of what you're doing on the computer all day.

"TimeSnapper is an Automatic Screenshot Journal. It runs in the background of your computer, taking screenshots of your desktop every few seconds all week long. "
posted by jacobsee at 2:19 PM on January 11, 2006

I use a spreadsheet I downloaded from Bob Walsh.

I have a reminder pop up every 15 minutes and then I just fill a number in the box according to what I'm working on or 'not working' on.
posted by jacobsee at 2:27 PM on January 11, 2006

Having just re-read the original post my Windows-centric, desktop-based solutions don't really apply, but maybe they'll help someone else who stubles across this later on....
posted by jacobsee at 2:31 PM on January 11, 2006

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