Windows only: Productivity Meter is a time tracking tool from Fruitful Time, makers of the task manager we reviewed earlier this year. Once installed the software sits in the background and keeps tabs on your activity. Productivity Meter tracks the active versus idle time, how your active time is split among applications, which applications were used the most, and which websites you browsed and for how long. You can review the stats for the last day, week, month or a user defined block of time. One of the most useful features is the ability to tag programs, windows, and domains. It would be entirely useless to many users—myself included— if the program simply told you when you’d been using a web browser and time spent on certain domains. I use a web browser for nearly all the work I do on my computer. By using the tag function I can tell Productivity Meter which domains I access for certain tasks and jobs. It’s tracking for how much time I spend doing Lifehacker-related work became significantly more accurate when I tagged all the domains I use. Another concern was that with a triple monitor setup and a huge number of windows open at any given time it wouldn’t accurately track what I was really focusing my time and attention on.
After testing it for the better part of a day it does a fantastic job tracking what I’m actually working on. The program is free for personal use, with the small caveat that after 30 days the ability to generate time cards is removed. If you don’t need to generate time cards to show a boss or client how your time was spent on a give project it shouldn’t matter much. All the graphs and information in the main dashboard is available even after the 30 days window. Productivity Meter is freeware, Windows only.