Well, I’ve got good news for you.
There’s a (recently) free tool called TimeTracker that automagically tracks how much time you use up using Adobe Creative Suite software (i.e. Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash Professional for the handful of people that still use it, and InCopy).
Whether you need to track your work hours for freelance projects or just want to learn how you use your creative time, TimeTracker can help. It will spit out useful reports that you can use to better understand your creative time.
TimeTracker solves what I believe to be a pain point in time-tracking software.
In most time-tracking tools, you need to press a button to begin tracking your time. Then you have to remember to press the "stop" button when you’re done.
Manual start/stop buttons aren’t ideal for creative work because when you’re in a good flow, you can’t be bothered (or you might forget) to manage your time-tracking tool.
Mark Hirsch, CEO of CreativeWorx, the company that created TimeTracker, sees the same problem with time-tracking software.
"Other time-tracking products still disrupt the design process, often by having Start & Stop buttons. TimeTracker not only captures the activity automatically, but it intelligently assigns billing codes to produce a flexible timesheet in real-time," Hirsch told to me.
What’s great about TimeTracker is that it works in the background. You don’t need to remember to set your timer.
TimeTracker was developed by former Adobe employees, which should give you added reassurance in terms of how well it behaves with Adobe products. "My experience at Adobe let me meet a number of very smart scientists and software developers who helped us build a spectacular integration with the Creative Suite applications," Hirsch said.
What tool do you use to track your creative time? Talk about it in the comments.