Category: Productivity

Time Tracking and Application Usage Trackers

I was looking at the current state of the market for tools that let you analyze how you’re tracking your time while at your workstation/computer. I’m not talking about general purpose timers, but specifically tools that monitor how long you’re using certain applications and websites in order to build an automated picture of how time is spent on projects. It seems that the two biggest players continue to be RescueTime and TimeDoctor. These are polished solutions and are good in their own right. The biggest problem I see with both of these tools are the data privacy and security implications, as both store your data on their cloud. So I went to see if there were any other tools that work without sending data back to the product’s company.

I wrote up a short list of tools that I found, favoring apps that are free and don’t send back data to the cloud.

ProcrastiTracker <– my pick

The tool I’m currently testing has been created by a very smart solo-developer (currently working at Google) and the software is offered as freeware. Yay! The application has a small footprint and a simple, but powerful interface. It won’t wow you with a flashy UI, but it gets the job done. It’s surprisingly well designed. For example, it can detect inactivity and ask you what you were doing once you get back to your computer. That’s an intuitive way to build a complete picture of one’s usage, considering it would be very easy to forget if one were tracking this completely manually.

Visit Procrastitracker’s site


This tool comes in free and paid versions. The focus with this app seems to be about helping to eliminate distractions. It lets you select applications and sets time limits on them. It also tracks usage time over all the applications and sites that you use. It’s kinda ugly but when you think about it, it shouldn’t be a major stumbling block considering you won’t spend hours on end looking at it. It gets the job done.


ManicTime is more feature-rich compared to above two, and unlike the leading solutions RescueTime and TimeDoctor, data is stored locally. It comes with tagging functionality, stopwatch timers, analysis and reporting tools as well as tracking application usage automatically. For all of the features you will have to pay, but a limited free edition is available too.