What is time tracking

Time tracking is as much a part of the business world has coffee breaks and deadlines. Large companies, for example, have for years provided workers with an identification card that is swiped through a work clock, allowing managers to know when employees start and stop work.

Advances in technology have brought improvements to time tracking, even allowing employers to remain aware of when and how freelance employees work.


Why track time?

Time tracking was born from the realization that there often is a gap between a business plan and what actually is accomplished. There may be valid reasons for the disparity, but crafting a feasible plan can narrow the gap between what is hoped for and what is accomplished.

Time tracking is an effective tool to ensure a business plan is accomplished despite unexpected events. It also is a great retrospective tool to compare project cost with revenue.


Technology and time tracking

Time tracking becomes detailed when employees work on computers. When an employee works on computers, it’s possible to track every move of the mouse, Website visited, and file opened. It’s even possible to evaluate employee performance by analyzing keyboard speed and mouse movement compared to inactive time.


Tools to help you track time


The chart above shows my work week before Christmas, which was recorded using RescueTime time-management software. RescueTime is a good way to estimate work efficiency, since it categorizes how work time was spent.

hubStaff screen

The report above was created using Hubstaff. The finance-oriented software provides a weekly report. Starting with a countdown, users can measure time spent on each project.



Time tracking has its advantages, but every rose has its thorns. Take screenshots (pictured below) as an example.

Tracking screenshots

Malicious managers can use screenshots to spy on subordinates, even on their private lives. Big companies may not be prone to misuse the screenshots, but smaller businesses could be enticed to bend the rules and spy on workers.

Another drawback to time tracking is that managers could spend more time analyzing data than doing work.

In short, simple, judicious use of time-management software will ensure tracking employees’ work will contribute to productive.


What about you ?

Did you ever try this kind of software?

Do you have a clear vision on which tasks you spend your time every weeks?

Feel free to comment, I’ll answer for sure.