Time tracking is crucial in ensuring productivity levels are high – and this is even more important for us freelancers who are surrounded by more distractions than the average office worker.
As we all know, the freedom we love can also easily be our downfall if we don’t keep ourselves accountable.
Enter tools for freelancers to streamline our work and make our lives easier.
Time tracking software is one such tool which I have found integral to my workflow. I use it in tandem with Google Calendar to organize my tasks for the day and count the time I spend on each task. I’ve used a lot of time trackers to figure out which one suits my needs and preferences best, and as new apps are released, I keep checking them out – they always keep getting better.
So when the guys at QotoQot approached us about their automatic time tracker for Mac, Qbserve, my interest was definitely piqued.
Qbserve does what it says on the tin: it tracks what you do on your computer without requiring action on your part. You just need to launch the program (or you can set it so that it launches when your computer boots), and you’re good to go.
There are three things that will make it a freelancer’s best friend:
1. It detects websites you use, tracks the time you spend on them, and labels them as productive, neutral, and distracting.
As you can see, though, it labels some sites incorrectly. After I installed it, it placed Gmail under “Neutral”. Obviously, I need this to be under “Productive” (okay, maybe that should be arguably).
Qbserve does have a wide range of customization features and you can easily re-label sites/activities and add categories. For example, it also labeled FWJ as “Neutral”, so I changed it to “Productive”.
With this system, not only are you able to monitor the time you spend on work-related activities, but you are also able to see how much time you “waste” – time that may be put to better use to increase your work output.
2. The second thing you’ll love about Qbserve is that it does more than track your time. It can also generate invoices for you.
Billing software is another integral part of a freelancer’s arsenal. It takes away the chore of tracking time spent on tasks, computing fees, and sending invoices manually – all of which is prone to human error. Qbserve takes things one step further by integrating time tracking, billing computation, and invoice creation.
If you’re already using a time tracker, you might want to see a comparison chart. I think you’ll find Qbserve to be an excellent choice.
3. Qbserve stores data locally.
There are huge advantages to cloud-based software, but if you’re concerned about privacy, then storing data locally is key.
Arguably, the lack of cloud sync features may be a drawback for some, but if you work primarily on your laptop, you don’t really need it.
Qbserve is available as a free download, but if you want more in-depth features, you can purchase it for $40 (up to 5 Macs for individual and family, 1 Mac for business). Student discounts are available. Visit the download page here.
So we’re giving away SEVEN licenses for Qbserve. You can be based anywhere. There are no restrictions. All you need to do is send your entries via the Rafflecopter widget below.
The giveaway starts today, Monday, July 24 and ends on Sunday, July 30. You can tweet every day, once a day, to get more chances of winning.
Tim Chadwick says
Love the fact that this can automatically create my invoices!
Ashley Smith says
I love the customization feature. As a blogger, a lot of my time is spent on social media and I SWEAR I’M WORKING!
Noemi Tasarra-Twigg says
Great productivity tool
I love the distinction between “neutral” “productive” and “distracting” – it would be great to see how much I actually spend on each!
Noemi Tasarra-Twigg says
Since using Qbserve, I have been more conscious of how much time I spend on what…I want to see green (productive) all over the place. It’s like I’m competing with myself, and well, I guess I’m a little competitive. 😉
Skye Sherman says
It’s so cool that it learns and labels the websites you spend time on–this would be soooo helpful in staying off of time-sucking social media sites during work hours!!
Tanja Cilia says
I am curious about how the distinction will be made between “neutral” “productive” and “distracting”; some of us use Facebook and Twitter and Linked In, as other social platforms, to find work, and to network. There is also the fact that freelancers tend to talk to people in PMs on these, to save on phone bills and postage. What about newspapers and magazines sites and online publications. They are neutral, productive, and distracting, all at once, I’d say… depending upon what you are reading at the moment, off them.
Ivan Mir says
I have this problem with Twitter and solve it by using another browser because Qbserve tracks sites in different browsers separately.