What is AI-powered time tracking

Paul Doerwald • July 20

AI (Artificial Intelligence) time tracking is a revolutionary way to track your working time. By tracking the things you do on your computer, an AI time tracking app can analyze how you spend your time. These tools can help you optimize your working time. They show you when you’re most productive, and what factors help your productivity. They can also help you with your billing, by giving you the clues you need to build your timesheet.

The two kinds of time tracking apps

Time tracking apps come in two flavors: manual, and automated (AI-powered).

With manual time trackers, you are responsible for all data entry. You choose the project, you enter the hours (sometimes with the help of a start/stop timer), and you add a description.

AI time trackers, on the other hand, automate parts of this workflow. By installing one or more trackers on your computer, the AI time tracking app can analyze your activities. To one extent or another, the app can help you fill in your timesheet.

Popular manual time tracking tools

There are countless manual time trackers. From a technical perspective, they’re pretty simple to write. They differentiate themselves with pleasing designs, powerful reports, data entry, and team capabilities.

A key benefit of manual time trackers is that they are absolutely private. Each team member reveals only what they want to. Since there are no trackers, the employer can’t verify the employee's timesheets.

If you’re trying to choose the right manual time tracker for your business, there are two types: stand-alone time trackers, and project management tools with time tracking capabilities.

Popular stand-alone time tracking applications

These three tools are easily the most popular standalone time tracking applications:

  • Toggl
  • Harvest
  • Clockify
  • … and countless others

Popular project management tools with time tracker capabilities

The most popular project management tools with time tracker capabilities include:

  • Clickup
  • FunctionFox
  • FunctionPoint
  • Wrike
  • … and countless others

Popular project management tools WITHOUT time tracker capabilities

There are even more project management tools that don't have time tracking built in. For example, Trello, Asana, Monday and JIRA. Fortunately, many stand-alone tools offer desktop apps and browser extensions that integrate automatically. These add-ons allow you to track the time you spend on a particular ticket/issue.

AI time tracking tools (aka Automated time tracking tools)

In order for an AI-powered time tracker to work, you need to install at least one tracker on your computer. Typically these trackers watch which apps you’re using, and report that information to a server. Sometimes these tools also take screenshots. Most time tracking tools only need one tracker, which watches your currently active application.

Clockk is an AI-powered time tracker that requires two trackers. One is installed on your computer (macOS or Windows), to watch the applications and files you use. The other one is installed in your browser, to track the websites and web apps you use. Clockk uses two trackers to get a finer granularity of information. This finer granularity helps you identify the specific project you’re working on.

There are three kinds of AI time tracking tools, each targeted at a very specific use case. All three types help you build your timesheets so you can send accurate invoices to your clients, but that might not be their primary goal.

Timesheet automation tools

Timesheet automation tools focus on helping you bill your clients accurately. These tools exist for freelancers, agencies, consultants, consultancies, bookkeepers, accountants, and lawyers. The apps help you remember what you worked on, so you can submit timesheets that honestly and accurately represent your work.

The most popular timesheet automation tools are:

These tools guarantee individual privacy. Employers cannot see employees’ tracked data.

Productivity tools for “deep work”

This is a hugely popular genre of AI time tracking tool. Productivity trackers make value judgments about the apps and websites you’re using. They decide whether that time is productive or unproductive. Microsoft Word and JIRA would be considered productive time. YouTube and Netflix might be considered unproductive time. Because you might use YouTube professionally, you can override it to "productive". These tools try to identify sustained periods of productive work — also known as “deep work”.

Over time, productivity tools will help you identify and maximize your deep work time so you can be as productive as possible.

Popular productivity-focused time tracker apps include:

  • RescueTime
  • Rize

These tools are often used by consultants and freelancers to allocate billable time, but that is not their primary use case.

You can use Clockk to gauge productivity. By default, Clockk does not make any value judgements about how you use your time. Watching a YouTube video is considered as “productive” as a Google Sheet. The only difference in Clockk's opinion is that by default, only the Google Sheet is billable time. The time spent watching the YouTube video may be billable (learning how to do an animation in AfterEffects) or it may be relaxation (watching the trailer for the newest Disney+ Marvel Comic Universe movie). It’s up to you to decide how to bill that time. In Clockk, you could create a “Time wasters” project where you assign the time you spend on Reddit, Amazon and CNN. By watching when and how you waste time, you can find ways to become more productive as well.

Employee monitoring tools

Employee monitoring tools are distressingly popular. The purpose of the apps below is to monitor your employees’ productivity. Are they working on assigned tasks, or are they browsing Facebook? Employee monitoring apps include:

  • Time Doctor
  • DeskTime
  • HubStaff

You can use these tools for timesheets and billing as well, but that is not their primary purpose.

Clockk cannot be used for employee monitoring. We believe that if an organization feels it needs to monitor its employees, it’s actually a management problem.

Is Artificial Intelligence the future of timesheets?

At Clockk, we believe it is.

The most stressful part of timesheets and time tracking is remembering what you did. The most accurate timesheet is the one you update all day long, regardless of what tool you use. However, most of us are working on several projects every day, fighting fires and responding to clients. We’re too busy to remember to start and stop a timer.

An AI-powered time tracker means that you can leave your timesheets until the next morning (or even the next week!) and still bill all your customers accurately and fairly.

Clockk lets you work the way you want to, staying focused on serving your clients. There are no start/stop timers. With just a bit of setup, Clockk can actually start filling in your timesheet for you, project by project.

Sign up for free today.

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