How many ways can Mac users track time, tasks, projects on a Mac? From Stickies to a To-Do list to accounting and invoicing to full-fledged project managers, Mac users have many choices.
What if you want to track time and tasks and projects and create invoices? That narrows the field. Out go the Stickies and To-Do list managers. In come Mac apps to track your time, attach time to tasks, and spit out invoices.
Time, Tasks, Projects Equals Money
If you work for yourself and get paid by someone else for the work you do, then you understand the sequence of events and the need to track certain details.
Your time has to be tracked and accounted for, then assigned to a project.
The actual time is generated by a task. Then you add up all the tasks under a project. Once you have all those pieces added together, you can send out an invoice and hope to get paid for your effort.
Of all the Mac apps we’ve reviewed through the years, we’ve come to appreciate a handful of task, time, and project managers that also function as invoice generators. Personally, I love generating invoices.
You can use Mac Things for tasks and projects, but not time or invoicing. Mac360’s Ron McElfresh, a time management expert, prefers the venerable Office Time. Our anti-diminutive Bambi Brannan has fallen in love with ProfitTrain.
My preference is TaskTime4. All have something in common besides generating invoices. They each track time, assign a task to the time, add the tasks to a project, and bill clients for projects completed.
Keep The Process Simple
TaskTime4 isn’t time management. You’re on your own for that. What you get is an elegant Mac app that makes it easy for you to track the time you spend on a particular task for any given project or client and then generate a detailed invoice.
To accomplish that, you’ll need to remember the basics. Set up clients, set up projects for each client, and then assign specific tasks for each project. That’s the basic process in TaskTime4.
Once your client information is entered in TaskTime4, it’s a snap to create projects and assign them to clients. Each project is made up of a number of billable tasks, so create tasks for each project.
TaskTime4’s timer tracks your actual time on a specific task and relates the task to the project, which is related to a client. The Project Manager creates projects and the Client Manager manages client details.
You can also track expenses for each project and client, adjust rates per client or project (or activities with different rates), and keep detailed notes for each task.
Among our three obvious favorites for managing time, tasks, projects, and invoices, TaskTime4 may be the easiest to set up and use. Focus is on the basics functions where you do the set up. Clients, projects, tasks, time. Invoices are generated automatically in whatever time frame you choose. All the task detail and rates are entered and calculated automatically.
What’s missing? The task timer is a bit cumbersome.
There’s no iPhone version to sync back to the Mac. It’s Mac only. Many iPhone users consider our phones to be a Mac in the Pocket, an extension of our Macs. Syncing data between devices is a must.
ProfitTrain doesn’t have an iPhone version, either. OfficeTime says an iPhone and iPad version is on the way. TaskTime4 needs an iPhone app. More features and complexity (and a higher cost) gets you the popular and recommended Billings, which also has an iPhone version.