A technological breakthrough sets 9 to 5 jobs back, giving us the opportunity to work and grow professionally from any place in the world. It makes not surprising the fact that the number of British people leaving offices increased by a quarter of a million over a decade, according to the OddsMonkey report. Experts predict that nearly half of Britons will work remotely by 2020, at least from time to time.
Most of remote workers use their laptops to get the job done, so we have a lot of work and business-related apps for PC to help you work productively. Yet a laptop is not as portable as smartphones, latest models of which offer similar features inside a smaller device. Thus, some non-technical specialists start using them for working purposes while traveling, commuting, or even having a coffee break in the city.
One of the most essential apps for a remote worker is a time tracker. It helps you understand how much time you spend on each task and receive proper payments for your hourly contracts. The selection of these apps for mobile platforms is not as wide as for PCs, but we’ve managed to pick 3 of the best trackers available for iOS users.
Why Else Do You Need a Time Tracker on Your iPhone
You may use a time tracker for your iPhone not only to optimize billing, but to organize yourself as well. If you work on the go, you encounter tons of distractions with the most treacherous of them hiding inside your phone.
For example, you may suddenly realise that you spent a lion share of time not on working, but on browsing the web, chatting in messengers, or watching videos on Youtube. Crap, it happens all the time!
A stand-alone issue is mobile gaming, as it makes you almost forget about the real world existence for a while. Gaming providers engage people to use their apps with such triggers as in-game achievements, bonuses, events, etc., therefore people become addicted to mobile games. The apogee of the dependence-producing games are those offered by mobile casinos, which are even more addictive because of their direct connection to real money. People hope to win a jackpot, forgetting about reality in their pursuit of fast cash.
If some of these points are true for you, there is a fast way to get yourself back to work. Time trackers visualize your working and non-working hours, helping you to figure out how you wasted your precious time and how little of it you spent specifically on your work. You might be surprised to find out that more than half of your 1.5 hour-long bus trip you was listening to music instead of preparing an outline for your business meeting, and so on.
Moreover, utilizing time trackers is a much better decision than keep taking notes or memorising your time entries. iOS apps require you to create a project, assign yourself a task, and tap a “start timer” button. That’s the basic functionality of any time tracker that takes 2 minutes to set up, tops. But apart from the basics, most of those apps offer other functions what makes them quite different. Let’s compare 3 popular time trackers and define the one with best features for you.
App Store Rating: 4.9 out of 5
As most of time tracking apps present on the market, Toggl was initially designed for desktop. A mobile version of the tracker offers much fewer features than a desktop one, but it is still a neat and user-friendly time tracker to monitor your working hours on the go.
The app has 3 major sections: time tracker itself, statistics, and calendar. In the first one you can see your time entries in the chronological order. The statistics tab shows you total working hours for the designated period and their distribution by days and clients. The calendar view gives you a better insight into your schedule, so you could plan tasks more accurately.
You can also integrate the app with Siri what makes it possible to control the app using your voice. Also, Toggl provides you with smart suggestions of what to track next.
Unfortunately, you can’t generate reports via the mobile app, but all your data is being seamlessly synced with a Toggl desktop app. This way, you can include your mobile-tracked entries next time you generate the report on desktop.
Verdict: The app is perfect for remote workers that use PC as their primary working device (freelancers of all kinds, remote digital experts, online business owners, etc.).
App Store Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Hours is a lightweight tracker designed for nothing but just counting hours you worked. The functionality of the free version is rather basic, yet very convenient for people who don’t need all those tricked-out features. Interestingly enough, only the mobile version is free of charge. If you want to use a desktop app with detailed analytics, online data backup, and cloud-based data syncing, you need to purchase Hours pro for $8 per month.
Unless you do this, your main screen will look as depicted above. You can add separate timers for each client and tag a task you’re working on. However, you’ll never know how long you were dealing with one or another task, what makes this feature pretty senseless without an access to detailed reporting.
But if you are the person that often forgets to switch the timer off, Hours offers a solution. An app has a smart reminders feature to keep you aware of what timers to enable, disable, or switch between. The time stopping works even from the home screen thanks to the 3D Touch technology present in iPhone 6s and newer devices.
The other useful section is the calendar that displays for how long you were working during any specific day. It’s quite useful to determine the days you missed out.
Verdict: The app is great for individuals who deal with lots of clients and use their phone as a primary working device (consultants, land-based business owners, salespeople, etc.).
App Store Rating: 4.7 out of 5
atWork is a rather simple time tracker with very plain design. Most of its features are similar to those present in Toggl or Hours, but this app is more focused on calculating your earnings within the designated period.
If in two previous apps you could only specify the client and the project you’re currently working on, atWork allows you to tie your hourly rate to each activity. There is also a category of earnings called “bonus”, so you can calculate profits coming from your flat-rate projects as well. Aside from working hours, it’s possible to record break times, vacations, and sick days.
It also seems that atWork offers more in-app features than Toggl and Hours like reporting, location-based time tracking, and unlimited entries. Yes, time entries are limited to only 25 per month, which is not that convenient. However, when you try to access these features, you stumble upon an offer to buy a so-called “extension” for an extra fee.
Verdict: The app suits best remote workers with a strict schedule and official employment contract, as it allows them to set breaks and manage vacations or sick days. It is not the best option for freelancers that switch between a lot of tasks due to the limited number of time entries.
Conclusion: Comparison Table
All three apps have basic time tracking options such as timer, basic statistics, calendar, and task & client management. However, the major characteristics that differentiate them are summarized in the table below:
None of the apps can be called a total winner, though. All in all, every tracker deals well with basic time tracking on your iPhone and offers some extra features that may be useful to specific categories of remote workers.