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Published:Jan 30, 2024

The 13 best Harvest alternatives for time tracking

No matter what system — or lack thereof — you use to track time at your business, if you’re here, you’re looking for a better way. 

Whether you’re still just shopping the options or you’re an active Harvest user who’s on the lookout for a replacement, this article is all about diving deep into why time tracking is so critical, what to look for in a time tracker, and the most effective alternatives to Harvest on the market today.  

Why should my team use a time tracking app?

During the typical 8-hour workday, the average employee is only actively working for about 4 hours and 12 minutes.

That’s just over half a day.

The average worker spends just over half of their day actively working represented by a circle graph showing 53% of a workday of actual work

And no, it doesn’t simply boil down to distractions. That does happen, but many report not needing a whole day to complete their work. Most workers also reported spending a lot of unproductive time in meetings. They also found they were only about to work a maximum of 90 minutes straight on intellectual tasks before needing a brain break, which takes time.

You can’t figure out your team’s patterns or how to maximize productivity without causing stress and burnout if you have no insight into what they spend their time on throughout the workday. 

Here are all the ways using a smart app to get deeply familiar with your team’s time can help you succeed as a leader and your team grow in skill and morale. 

Better understanding of team & personal growth

Being able to keep track of their time can help individuals visualize and optimize how they’re progressing on specific work skills — which can be highly motivating. 

In addition, seeing that same growth from a management perspective can give insight into where your team is skill-wise, when they might be ready to level up, and how long they usually take to get up to speed on a new app or language. 

Insight around hiring and retention

What’s the most effective method to see when individuals in your team are not fully engaged — or are over-engaged to the point of being overwhelmed? 

Monitoring the hours they’re working via your time tracking method of choice. 

Utilization trends provide valuable insights into how well your team size matches the workload. Underutilization may lead to employees feeling unchallenged and looking elsewhere. Overutilization may indicate employees are on the edge of burnout and it’s time to hire.

Identify issues faster

When overseeing a team and all the other moving parts of a project, bottlenecks can fly under the radar for a dangerously long time. 

But when you’re able to monitor time spent on various tasks easily, you should be able to quickly spot issues causing big time sucks — and resolve them before they muck up utilization, ruin your timelines, and blow up your budget

More informed time estimations 

Actual time spent on different tasks will enable you to establish a correlation between initial effort estimates and how long things actually take to get done.

This correlation allows the people doing the work and the people estimating — and building schedules and budgets based on those estimates — to get more accurate and realistic about how long things take. This is pivotal to better planning and can create a less-stressed workplace.

Different approaches to cost estimation: parametric estimating, expert judgement, analogy-based estimation, bottom-up estimation

Caveat: Time tracking can go wrong when… 

The benefits of time tracking apps are clear. But we must issue a warning — time tracking can fail to help you hit your goals if it isn’t done ethically and thoughtfully.

It takes too much effort 

The primary complaint about time tracking software? It’s more trouble than it’s worth! 

And it can be, if you don’t choose the best solution for your team. 

When the time tracking process consumes more team time and energy than it helps you save, your time tracking method may be counterproductive.  

Tasks of different calibers are lumped together

Consider the variability in how much time it takes to do different tasks.

For example, building a complex software product and adjusting a few lines of CSS for a website animation are vastly different tasks that require vastly different time frames to pull off. 

In a work environment where time tracking is employed the same way across the board to assess employee productivity, context like this is overlooked and can make it look like someone is “wasting time” when they’re just working on a more demanding task than usual. The worst thing that can happen here is that workers become encouraged only to do quick and easy tasks, so you lower the level of deep skills and knowledge across the company.  

You don’t have the best solution 

There are still plenty of outdated time tracking methods out there, like finicky manual spreadsheets or even paper-based processes.

Using these systems interrupts the work day and introduces the opportunity for human error, making time tracking a burdensome chore that workers and managers alike dread. This understandably creates resistance around time tracking, which breaks down morale and eventually leads to late and less accurate time entries.

Diving in: What makes Harvest stand out at time tracking? 

Speaking of time tracking solutions, let’s talk about today’s topic: Harvest. 

Harvest is a well-rated and popular time tracking, time analysis and reporting, invoicing, and payments platform that integrates with workplace applications such as GitHub, Trello, PayPal, Basecamp, QuickBooks, and many more. 

In their own words, it does “everything your team needs to keep track of hours and projects” — and it does so with a clean interface that makes adoption approachable. 

Tens of thousands of companies in advertising, accounting, IT, law, architecture, and other industries engage Harvest to gather time data that enables better estimating, budgeting, scheduling, and hiring.

Why look for a Harvest time tracking alternative? 

Harvest isn’t a bad option, but there are a few reasons you may be looking to find your perfect Harvest alternative. 

The manual nature of starting the time tracking process and then entering time into timesheets is one of the main complaints from users.

The price isn’t bad for what you get, but for some smaller businesses and contractors, what you get may actually be too much. It’s a very heavily-featured app that may simply present too much of a learning curve when you want to get up to speed quickly. And because it’s such a built-out platform, anyone looking for any flexibility or personalized service may find it too rigid for their liking. 

Another thing to consider is that Harvest can monitor employee keystrokes and mouse movement. We find activity monitoring of this style can make employees feel untrusted and turn timekeeping into a weapon for micromanagement — so it’s not something we recommend using. 

Want more? Here are 13 effective Harvest alternatives to try

The ability to fully harness all the business benefits of time tracking software depends on adopting the just-right solution for you and your team.

On this list of Harvest time tracking alternatives for businesses, we’ve included the best options for every type of business or worker.

Keep reading to find your fit. 

1. 7pace Timetracker: Integrated, fast, and easy time tracking for knowledge workers  

7pace Timetracker is a time-tracking extension that works with and Azure DevOps

Because of its ability to integrate into almost any workflow, 7pace enables seamless time tracking for employees, so you never have to jump to another screen or log into another app to log your time when you’re in a flow state. 

And for the team leads, managers, and financial folks who must use all that tracked time? 

Accurate time data and robust out-of-the-box reporting capabilities don’t just simplify accounting and billing. They give anyone who has to plan projects the power of historical time data necessary to form realistic worker goals as well as project estimates, timelines, and budgets. 

7pace is an example of where we see the future of time tracking going. It’s highly integrable and makes the entire process of tracking, sharing, and implementing time data seamless — cutting out the chance for human-introduced errors and procrastination.

With pricing that ranges from just $5 to $11/user/mo annually — though it’s free to get started with 7pace for here and 7pace Timetracker for Azure DevOps here — 7pace’s seamlessly integrated time tracking software solution is ideal for freelancers and owner-operators as well as development and creative teams in small to enterprise-level businesses.

If you’re already using Harvest or another over-built time tracking app that doesn’t meet your needs for integration, ease, speed, and accuracy, get started with 7pace for or Azure DevOps today.

7pace Timetracker for

2. Clockify

Clockify is a popular time tracking, timesheet, and scheduling app that offers a traditional, user-friendly interface.

Clockify allows users to track time across projects with a running timer, a weekly timesheet, a calendar for viewing hours worked, and automated tracking. On the management side, users can schedule workers, track expenses, and view reports and rates to understand project costs and estimate the time and cost of future undertakings. 

This time tracker integrates with many other apps in the project management and productivity space, but access to some is limited to paid users. Speaking of pricing, it’s free to get started with Clockify, and basic plans range from around $4 to $12 per user/month annually.

3. Toggl Track

Toggl was once a dedicated time tracking app that has grown into a full-fledged suite of business apps that also help with hiring as well as team and project planning. 

Toggl Track helps with everything in the time tracking wheelhouse, from employee time tracking to billing, invoicing, project budgeting, reporting, and payroll. 

Toggl Track has more than 100 integrations with apps in HR, accounting, web development, calendar, project management, customer support, sales, writing, and more categories. 

Organizations can use Toggl Track free with up to five users, then it ranges from $9 to $18/user/month. Custom enterprise packages are also available. 

4. Timeular

Timeular is a time tracking app with many features you expect, plus one unique one — the Timeular Tracker. 

This tracker is a physical, 8-sided device where you can assign different tasks to different sides. When you flip the device, it starts tracking time for the task assigned to the upright side, automatically feeding this information into the Timeular app. This approach is designed to encourage more accurate time tracking from workers who aren’t great at remembering to track time to different tasks, or who feel overwhelmed by entering time data into spreadsheets. 

Aside from this device, Timeular also features automated tracking, a global shortcut to track time from whatever screen you’re using, tie off tracking, billable versus non-billable time accounting, and more. 

There is a free trial for Timeular, then it runs from $7.50/month annually for individuals to $15.80/month/seat annually for teams. Custom pricing is available.

5. TimeCamp

TimeCamp is another time tracking software with project management functionality to help individuals, teams, and businesses efficiently manage time and projects.

Features include automatic time tracking that reduces manual input (and human error), 

project and task management for the most detailed tracking of time spent on every different project, invoicing that’s informed by the time tracking elements, and attendance tracking, which can be beneficial for managing remote teams.

Like other trackers in the space, TimeCamp integrates with project management, sales, accounting, development, project management, and other types of apps. 

Pricing ranges from freedom to $ 7.99 per user per month when billed annually, and TimeCamp can also create custom enterprise plans. 

6. Hubstaff

Hubstaff is a comprehensive time tracking app that helps businesses — especially those with remote teams — automate time tracking, workforce management, and productivity boosting. 

Key features include both automatic and manual time tracking divided by projects and tasks. This stand-up hosting app helps eliminate meetings, scheduling, analytics reporting, payroll processing, GPS tracking (which can help keep time for field-based employees), and employee monitoring (Note: surveillance-based timekeeping isn’t something we recommend, but the truth is many time trackers do include this feature.)  

A single user can sign up for Hubstaff for free. For businesses, pricing is about $5 to $25/user/month annually. 

7. QuickBooks Time

You’ve likely heard of QuickBooks, the popular accounting software from Intuit. Part of their offering is QuickBooks Time, a cloud-based time tracking solution that features timesheets, an app for time tracking on the go, customizable time reporting, scheduling, team management, and integrations with accounting and payroll apps, including QuickBooks. 

The interesting thing about this time tracker is that, even though it comes from a massive financial tech company, it has relatively basic time tracking features compared to most of the solutions on this list. Keeping the features of each of its apps highly focused makes it easier for businesses to pick and choose the best apps to create a custom business management platform.

Because of its association with the rest of the QuickBooks suite, this app’s pricing is a little high — starting at $10/mo plus $8/user/month and ranging to  $20/mo plus $10/user/month. You can get a free trial and find discounts on the website. 

8. RescueTime

RescueTime is a productivity and time management application that integrates AI and a drag-and-drop interface for quick and accurate timesheet creation. The best part of this unique approach (which is in beta, FYI)? It gets smarter every time you use it. 

Other notable features include a morning forecast, automated time tracking, distraction alerts, focus sessions that block distractions, and virtual workspaces that inspire team collaboration. 

Pricing is not made clear on RescueTime’s website, but according to G2, there is a free package called RescueTime Lite as well as a $12/month option.

bar graph showing statista data on workforce management app global revenue where time and attendance is the largest segment in the app space by nearly half, second coming in at workforce analytics

9. ClickUp

ClickUp aims to help businesses manage every type of work from their singular platform. It does this with a collaboration interface, chat, integrated documents, task management, lots of integrations, add-ons called ClickApps, and more. 

On the time management front, it includes both automated and manual time entry that employees can do from any device, attaching estimates to tasks to get a better idea of resource allocation, and detailed time reporting.   

The pricing is relatively simple considering all these time tracking features, with a free personal plan and paid packages that cost between $7 and $12/user/month yearly. A custom enterprise package is available.

10. ActivityWatch

We wanted to highlight ActivityWatch because it’s unique in that it’s an open-source and privacy-focused time tracking platform.

What does that mean? Open source means anyone can access, modify, and download the source code to make the software work on their computer. Once that’s done, ActivityWatch can primarily be used to track time related to tasks and apps, which will help you understand work productivity, work-life balance, and digital habits. All of this timing data is stored on the device where the software is installed, so it can’t be used for activity tracking unless you share it. 

This tracker is probably best for small or contract-based teams because it’s designed for use by individuals who can then add the data they’ve gathered to whatever timekeeping and invoicing software their business uses. 

ActivityWatch is free to download and use. The only “cost” is that users must be somewhat tech-savvy to install it and get started. 

11. TimeTagger 

TimeTagger is a lightweight time tracking app with a simple mission: providing insights into how you use your time throughout the day. 

The application allows users to attach tags to tracked blocks of time, making it easy to keep time in the way that makes the most sense to you. Users can also set targets in the app to view progress toward goals, export detailed reports for client billing, and use the app offline. TimeTagger is also uniquely developer-friendly as an open-source app with a web API. 

Host TimeTagger on your computer for free or pay for a basic (3 euro/month) or lifetime (144 euro) plan. 

12. Everhour 

Everhour is a time tracking that’s probably best known for its deep integration with popular project management apps, including Asana, ClickUp, Basecamp, Jira, Monday, Github, and more. 

Once embedded, it helps users track time, conduct project budgeting, send invoices, and run reports and analytics to determine productivity and timelines. 

Freelancers and micro teams (five or fewer) can use Everhour for free. Team pricing starts at $8.50/month/seat yearly. 

13. Timely

Timely is one of the few time trackers on our list with AI capabilities, which helps it provide automatic time capture. This feature means users can track time spent working on documents, attending meetings, answering emails, developing or designing in different applications, and so on. 

In addition to smart time tracking, project managers can monitor budget and hours in real time and integrate with plenty of other digital solutions across the business tech stack. 

Timely starts at $9/month/user annually, and the unlimited plan costs $22/month/user annually.

91% of business owners experience timesheet errors, 40% deal with timesheet errors weekly, and 13% deal with timesheet errors daily

Which Harvest alternative is right for you?

Selecting the right time tracking app is pivotal for enhancing productivity, boosting employee morale and retention, pulling off flawless project management, and even growing revenue.

Whether you’re actively looking to replace Harvest or still just exploring alternatives for your team, the diverse options mentioned here should cater to any business need.

If you need seamless integration, ease of use, and the unencumbered flow of time data across your team, visit 7pace to choose your best integration and start your free trial.

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