As a CEO of a time tracking software company, I need to know what my competitors are up to. That means I’m often researching about and/or playing around with their products… you know, it’s part of the job. Here, I share my findings from that research, giving credit to those competitors where credit is due and being honest about which products I believe you really need to avoid. And so, there you have it, this review. And in it, I try to be honest, fair, and insightful.
This Review Covers:
- What Do Users Like About Timely?
- What Don’t Users Like About Timely?
- What Pricing Plans Does Timely offer?
- What are the Standout Features of Timely?
- Selected Positive User Feedback
- Selected Negative User Feedback
- What are Timely’s Review Ratings from Review Sites?
- What’s My Final Verdict on Timely?
Time to talk about Timely!
This time tracking software with a catchy name and gorgeous interface is a project management and productivity enhancement tool that comes with a sizeable arsenal of valuable features that are intended to help businesses make the most out of their time. Along with its time tracking features, it also has a host of tools designed to run projects smarter, lead teams better, and monitor projects as they unfold in real-time. These features are powered by AI that learns from users’ behavior, which supposedly helps in tailoring the project to users’ unique needs.
Timely purports to capture every billable detail by precisely recording worked hours down to the second, which supposedly results in more transparent reports and invoices, and improved project rates and budgets. It also boasts of a strict anti-surveillance policy that empowers employees by fiercely protecting their privacy and regulating what information managers receive about their activities. The native integrations and open APIs also promise seamless incorporation into existing IT environments without disrupting workflows that took years to get right.
With all of these features that are designed to modernize time tracking and project management, Timely’s main claim to fame is the reduction of administrative work by up to a whopping 75%. Now that’s an impressive amount of time and resources that could be diverted to more important things that actively impact growth and profitability!
But all roses have their respective thorns, and this software is no exception. I promised you an honest review, and I’m giving you just that; so while we recognize the parts where Timely lives up to its name, we’ll also look into the parts where it doesn’t quite do the same.
A chief complaint about Timely is that its invoicing feature lacks firepower. While it does generate reports and timesheets, users are forced to use third-party invoicing software to make client-ready invoices. This is a major deficiency that I think could be a dealbreaker, especially for clients seeking an all-in-one solution that won’t require them to jump from one software to another just to perform a very basic task.
Another concerning con is that the AI needs a little bit more TLC — it’s supposed to automatically recognize and record what users are working on, but sometimes it gets that wrong, and those small mistakes could create potentially huge problems down the line. Add the mobile troubles of seemingly underdeveloped and laggy mobile apps that don’t record important work activities accurately such as mobile-based meetings, calls, and messaging that lead to lost hours (read: unjustly unpaid time!), and businesses have a potential untimely catastrophe in their hands. And at quite a hefty price for all of these, Timely may not be the solution that it aspires to be.
But let’s look at the brighter things for a while before we cast any further judgment on Timely.
I absolutely love the intuitive Memory tracker that allows users to work without worrying about manually switching tasks and guesstimating time spent on tasks at the end of the day. The Memory tracker remembers everything users worked on down to the second, and allows them to complete timesheets in seconds with a simple drag-and-drop of recorded hours and activities at the end of every workday. I also like the Timely Search powered by Dewo AI which allows users to search for anything they’ve ever worked on with just a couple of keystrokes, eliminating the scrollmageddon that usually comes with searching for specific files that haven’t been accessed for some time.
With all of that said, I think it’s time to look at what this software has to offer more closely, so scroll on for a comprehensive and timely review of Timely.
What do users like about Timely?
- Memory tracker
- Efficient and in-depth reporting
- Gorgeous user interface
- Presentable and engaging timeline view
- Responsive customer service
What don't users like about Timely?
- Mobile troubles
- Occasional bugs, lagging, and glitching
- High price and lack of a free version
- AI needs improvement
- Does not track phone calls
- Lackluster invoicing feature that requires a third-party integration to be client-ready
What Pricing Plans does Timely offer?
Timely has three tiers of paid plans with different feature sets designed for different needs. The higher users go, the better and richer features get. There’s also an optional add-on available. While there are no free plans, Timely offers discounts for students and a 14-day trial period that allows users to experience all its features for free.
Time to take a look at the plans and features that Timely has to offer!
Timely Starter Plan
The Timely Starter Plan is designed to help solopreneurs and micro businesses become more productive by billing for up to 20% more hours and streamlining timesheet generation. It can be used by a maximum of five users with up to 20 projects.
For a hefty $9 per user per month when billed annually or $11 per user per month when billed monthly, the Timely Starter Plan has automatic time tracking, AI timesheets, idle detection, location tracking, manual timer, bulk editing, weekly stats, automatic reminders, a project dashboard, billable rates, budgets, and tags. It also has snapshot reports, high-level reports, report exports, the ability to access log time for others, automations with Zapier access to the help center, and email support.
Timely Premium Plan
The Timely Premium Plan is intended for teams. It is designed to boost efficiency and cut on manual administrative tasks with more automations. It can be used by a maximum of 50 users for unlimited projects.
For a whopping $16 per user per month when billed annually or $20 per user per month when billed monthly, the Timely Premium Plan has all the features of the Starter Plan, plus budget milestones, anomalies and error detection, internal cost rates, required notes, teams, workspace capacity, team leads, and the ability to view entry history, plan time for others, and mark timesheets as billed. It also has API automations, sync integrations with ClickUp and QuickBooks Online, and in-app support.
Timely Unlimited Plan
The Timely Unlimited Plan is intended for larger companies and is designed for extra capacity management, planning, and scalable security. It can be used by more than 50 users for unlimited projects.
For an eye-watering $22 per user per month when billed annually or $26 per user per month when billed monthly, the Timely Unlimited Plan has all the features of the previous plans, plus logging nudge, multiple currencies, a people dashboard, individual capacity, company view, live reports, and branded reports. It also comes with unlimited training and communication with a success partner, unlimited API automations, and unlimited sync integrations with ClickUp and Azure AD.
Timely has a Tasks add-on that is designed to help teams schedule shifts, assign tasks, and track progress against deliverable projects. This feature is helpful for granular control of progress, as it pinpoints key persons and defines timeframes for projects, especially those that require sensitive attention to time.
The Tasks add-on is available for any plan for as low as $5 per person.
To avail of a student discount, interested student users must send a message to Timely Support detailing their intention to avail. They will be requested to provide a valid student ID and a valid student email address.
What are the Standout Features of Timely?
1. Automatic Time Tracking
Timely touts automatic time tracking as the solution to the cumbersome and repetitive start-and-stop timers usually available in the market. The idea is that it sits quietly and unobtrusively in the background of the device, silently gathering data about all activities that the employee accomplishes across the course of the day. At the end of the day, the employee is presented with a log of their activities that the software has recorded, and they can choose which to share with their managers in the timesheets, and which to delete in the interest of protecting their privacy.
I love the concern for employees that went into designing this product. Unlike similar software solutions that brandish employee empowerment as a hot buzzword without really meaning it (I’m looking at you, Time Doctor), the self-determined sharing of captured data facilitated by Timely’s unique timesheet generation process is truly empowering for employees, mindful and protective of their privacy, and lives up to the company’s anti-spyware stance.
But how does it work? Powered by AI, Timely eliminates the need for manually starting and ending tasks with start-and-stop timers by intuitively recognizing the programs, apps, websites, and documents used, opened, and visited by the employee throughout their workday and tracking time against the relevant projects or tasks to which those actions are connected. It also records idle time to ensure that businesses only pay for hours actually spent working. The location tracker records users’ GPS location to ensure that they are where they need to be when they need to be, and this is especially important for location-sensitive jobs.
This is especially helpful for workers whose jobs require them to jump from task to task every day, as it unburdens them of the responsibility and attendant risk of human error in ensuring that their manual timers are properly engaged for every single task switch. Timely’s AI-powered automatic time tracker allows them to focus on actual work instead, helping them achieve better productivity by eliminating disturbances to their momentum and saving a significant chunk of time previously devoted to fiddling with timers.
While this is a really good idea, AI can present some unreliability in tracking time correctly against the right tasks, as it may take some time to be trained according to the user’s unique workflow and circumstances. This may result in inaccurate timesheets that require more time to verify and edit, which is kind of counterintuitive and runs against the grain of Timely’s promised efficiency.
Coupled with the deficiencies of the mobile app in accurately recording time for certain activities, especially calls and meetings, the occasional unreliability of the AI-powered automatic time tracker poses a double-edged threat to both the employee and the company. These seemingly small slip-ups could lead to loss of worked time on the employee’s end, and legal headaches, inaccurate spending, unhealthy projects, and more for the business.
2. Powerful Project Management
Timely has a robust suite of project management features designed to equip businesses with sufficient information about how their projects are doing with the end goal of maximum profitability and timely delivery of quality output, pun fully intended. It boasts highly visual statistics that allow managers to transparently see where budgets and progress stand in real time. It’s intended to foster collaboration, track time and attendance, keep projects healthy, and have important analytics available on command so businesses can have a firmer grasp on how things are done.
The Timely Project Dashboard is where the main action can be seen. It contains all the essential information that administrators need to see about projects at a glance. The Status tab shows the total logged hours, and how much they cost, the total unbilled amount, budget spending details such as total budget, percentage spent, and remaining budget, a comparative graph contrasting actual worked hours against planned hours, and a list of individual users detailing their actual logged hours and money versus planned hours and money. The Budgets, Activities, Planning, and Hours tabs delve deeper into the details of the data presented on the Status tab, and the Reporting tab displays analytics with customizable time ranges.
To ensure that projects deliver optimum profits, it is important to define and anticipate how much it would take to get things done. Timely allows businesses to specify time and money budgets, customize billable rates for the hourly rates of specific users, set internal cost rates for individual users to compare against billable rates, and define which currencies are to be used for each project.
Projects are also organized with tags that allow users to tailor how they categorize their hours across projects. Things are kept neat and orderly with required tags and required notes containing specific information when logging hours, while the mark as billed feature prevents timesheets from being billed twice.
3. Comprehensive Team Management
To run and manage projects smoothly, a comprehensive suite of team management tools is required. Timely offers an arsenal of features geared towards making planning, scheduling, and collaboration proactive, more straightforward, and more time-efficient.
The People Dashboard is where administrators can see all the important information about individual employees’ capacities and workloads. On a highly visual graph, the dashboard displays the total weekly capacity of each team member, the total time logged and planned for a chosen period, and the remaining available hours left for that period. It also shows which employees have unaccounted time or missing hours that haven’t been logged in their timesheets, and those who log more hours than their daily capacity or go into overtime regularly.
Aside from the statistics display, the People Dashboard also allows administrators to send in-app or email notifications in-app or via email to ensure that important information reaches the people they’re intended for, individually or by group.
Speaking of groups, Timely makes compartmentalization easier with the Teams feature. Employees can be grouped for optimized collaboration on important project elements, and the Team Leads feature allows administrators to assign individual members as group leaders and project point persons without granting account-wide data access.
The Individual Capacity feature allows managers to keep an eye on and support teams with different weekly schedules, while the Workspace Capacity safeguards against burnout by showing total weekly hours which helps in distributing workload fairly and intelligently. The Plan Time for Others feature allows administrators to assign work and shifts to individuals after perusing Workspace Capacity, and the Log Time for Others allows them to ensure that members who put in the hours but forget to log them in aren’t marked absent.
The Tasks add-on is also a helpful feature that facilitates scheduling, progress tracking, attendance tracking, and task assignment, which is especially beneficial for projects that require a lot more fine-tuned control and devoted attention than usual.
Selected Positive User Feedback:
- “The interfaces are simple to understand and to use, and I’m much more confident in my recorded time than with other methods I’ve used. I appreciate how hard the Timely team works to add features to the product, and the company is responsive to my questions.” – Brian R. (Source Capterra)
- “Timely helps me track how much time I spend on any application. (…) I can manage my time very well and measure how I improve in working on many tasks efficiently.” – Hadiyani A. (Source G2)
- “No longer need to manually log everything and forgot what I did on any day, and with the new AI, I spend less than 3 mins a day to log and report my time spent.” – A Google User (Source Google Play Store)
- “Everything shows up on a nice timeline and it’s easy to edit events or create new ones and get a quick overview on how my time is being used.” – A Google User (Source Google Play Store)
- “Some days you are so busy you forget about tracking time (and thus missing income). But with memory I can easily see what I have done when I have done it, and how much time I spend on it.” – Siger S. (Source Capterra)
- “At a single glance, I can know if my schedule for the week/day is already full or if I can keep accepting new assignments.” – Jennyffer (Source Software Advice)
Selected Negative User Feedback:
- “The app lacks features. No built-in invoicing is a bummer. Must export report and make your own.” – Ryan Rockich (Source Google Play Store)
- “Timely needs improvement on mobile and web channel experience. The mobile app lack features.” – Bhagvan (Source Software Advice)
- “Doesn’t really track time on phone or tablet. It’s presumptuous to assume people don’t have business meetings and workflows that occur on mobile platforms.” – Laurent Frazier (Source Google Play Store)
- “(…), the AI does not always recognizes correctly the tasks I’m doing. Invoicing option is not available.” – Verified Reviewer (Source Capterra)
- “AI needs improvement. I also wished it synced with your phone calls (iPhone) better so you can say 13-minute phone call with so and so. I am entering that manually now into our billing software.” – Verified User in Legal Services (Source G2)
- “Its price and the errors that it sometimes emits during its use is one of its greatest difficulties.” – Mariedglys (Source Software Advice)
- “The tool does not correctly follow the time spent on mobile devices (calls, WhatsApp, etc…). Plus, there is no invoicing option.” – Lionel C. (Source G2)
What are Timely's Review Ratings from Review Sites?
(As of 17/09/2023)
- Capterra: 4.7/5
- G2: 4.8/5
- Software Advice: 4.5/5
- TrustRadius: 8.8/10
- Google Play Store: 3.5/5
- App Store: 3.5/5
What's my Final Verdict on Timely?
Timely is a very well-designed software that is intended to make work smart. It frees up a huge chunk of time and resources usually allocated to administrative tasks with automations and allows employees to focus on actual work by cutting out the timer-fiddling when switching between tasks and projects throughout the day with AI that records and categorizes every action and logs it against relevant projects or specific tasks quietly in the background. While the AI still needs a lot of improvement, I’m quite confident that it will grow and improve over time, just as it is designed to. It just sucks that it gets stuff wrong occasionally today, but that’s to be expected in learning models — they get better and “understand” how you work better as you use them.
Recognizing that tasks other than those that involve keyboard and mouse movement — such as calls, meetings, and other off-screen actions such as solving problems and plotting courses of action in one’s head — would be a step in the right direction for Timely. Making the mobile apps as robust as the desktop version would be another. And ensuring that no worked hours are lost or left unrecorded when doing off-screen tasks would help ensure that businesses can avoid ugly confrontations and expensive legal actions.
But more than the occasionally wonky AI, bugs, and glitching, what really irks me is the lack of an invoicing feature. I mean, what were the developers thinking? Designing something quite nice but leaving out an essential feature that would make the software a total solution is just a big NO in bold red letters for me. This oversight that forces users to jump between Timely and another third-party invoicing software is counterintuitive and distasteful.
But on to the silver lining: the Memory tracker is something I truly love. It’s a thoughtful and very smart touch that makes life easier for both employees and admins. And speaking of employees and their lives, I really appreciate that Timely really walks the talk when they say that they put employee privacy first. The Memory tracker records everything that a user does during the workday, that much is true — websites, apps, documents, everything — but at the end of the day, they still have the power to regulate which information makes it to their managers’ dashboard to review.
That being said, I’d say that Timely’s pros outweigh the cons, and if you think that their high price points are an investment worth splurging on, I’d say it’s timely to get Timely today.
Timely’s Memory tracker is absolutely brilliant!
It makes it so easy for employees to keep track of previous work and log their time accordingly. And it’s pretty cool that time logs are privacy protected, so there is no need to worry about random screenshots that may compromise employee privacy.
Timely can feel limited when it comes to using the mobile app.
First off, the AI does not accurately follow work hours spent on the phone. So, suppose you need to track hours spent on calls, Timely’s tracker is just not that reliable.
Secondly, the mobile app lacks features compared to the web version, which doesn’t make it my first choice for on-the-go tracking.