I have a suggestion for Upwork -
Your time tracker is great for hourly projects. One of the best features on this site (in my opinion).
However, I do feel it could use a few improvements:
1. A way to crop screenshots. For example, if the tracker snaps a picture of my screen while I am chatting with my client, it is also capturing a screenshot of my other clients and potential clients in the message tree. This also extends to file directories when I go to open a file. I have become accustomed to working around this, but it is a minor annoyance.
2. Use of the time tracker for NON-HOURLY work. PLEASE consider doing this... This is extremely helpful for improving proposal accuracy. This also benefits YOU (Upwork) - I would suspect that most people underbid jobs due to the fear of losing work after submitting loads of proposals. Being able to track time (without being paid for it) for non-hourly jobs gives people the ability to simply and easily track their own labor hours and compare them against their bid. If a person is consistently bidding low, they will recognize it and bid higher next time - or they will get better at bidding on jobs altogether. That increases revenue and profits for Upwork. Its a win-win.
3. An extension of the time tracker idea... Why not allow freelancers the option of tracking their non-hourly time, and automatically compare it against the job proposal, then return a percentage for users to monitor.
For example, lets say I bid on a fixed-price job for $100. Lets also say that the standard rate that I entered on my profile is $25 hourly. I begin the work and start the tracker. Next, I finish work and stop the time tracker - I have logged 2 hours of time for the complete job, start to finish. The tracker reads the 2 hours, reads the $100 from the proposal, and returns a +50% denoting that my time (2x $25/hourly) was 50% of my total bid.
Conversely, if I bid $50 and the total time for the fixed-price job is 4 hours ($100 at $25/hourly), it would return a -50% to denote that my actual time went over my bid.
Because you explained this is for the purpose of the freelancer's own private statistics, not Upwork statistics. So in this case, I don't understand why?
You can always ask the client to switch to an hourly contract.
I explained why in the post. The tracker already exists, why not improve on it and add value to both the freelancer and Upwork? Upwork takes 10-20% of all earnings, so freelancers who increase the value of proposals has a direct impact on Upwork's bottom line.
Starting the tracker means starting payment accumulation. I am not sure it's possible unless the contract is set as hourly contract (can only be done from the client's end). Can't imagine how much confusion it would cause with payments, as I think that the tracker's activity means automatic payment accumulation. Or maybe not? Is it possible to separate the two?
It's there although I'm not sure if it's toggled-on by default or not.
I do track times on everything to improve my "estimates" on determining fixed price project costs.