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Whether you are working in a home office and telecommuting to a company, or working at home as a freelancer or consultant, chances are, you will need a way to track the amount of time you spend working on various tasks. Luckily, there are many solutions to this problem. Below you will find a list of some of the best time tracking options for home office workers.
For more options, please see Tricia Goss's Free Time Tracking and Billing Software.
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Microsoft Outlook's Journal
Microsoft Outlook can be a simple solution to the time tracking problem if you already use it to manage your email, calendar, and tasks. In Outlook, you will find a "Journal" folder. The Journal can be used to track time spent on tasks, telephone calls, and Microsoft Office tasks. You can enter notes from an interview into the pane, or notes on what needs to be done next. You can also automatically track how long you worked on various projects using programs like Word and Excel automatically. One problem: Unless you remember to pause the timer in the journal, Outlook will continue to time the task when you are idle.
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OfficeTime takes care of the problem of idleness. It automatically senses when you have been idle and subtracts this time from the time tracked. Other great features of this time tracking specific software include the ability to generate reports, visually display where your time goes, and invoice. OfficeTime will set you back $47.00 and it is available for both Mac and PC platforms. This program allows much more detail in time tracking than Microsoft Outlook.
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ProjectClock is another time-tracking software option available to home office workers. This program will cost $35.00 for a single-user license. This program allows you to track time and work with QuickBooks to invoice the time. It is a good program for home office employees who telecommute to a company (and for companies that use telecommuting employees). It functions like a time-clock, with the ability to track specific project, task, and client information. Like OfficeTime, it features the ability to produce reports based upon the client or project.
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A final choice is FreshBooks.This program is an excellent, all-in-one time tracking and billing software program. This program makes it easy to track time accurately, bill clients, and track invoices. Freshbooks is great for Home Office workers - especially freelancers and consultants - because it allows users to pay monthly depending upon the number of clients. FreshBook is free for up to three active clients at a time. After that, it costs just $14 a month for one user and up to twenty five active clients. This program is heavily recommended if you need to track time in addition to creating invoices for billing purposes.