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What does the Time Tracker Track, exactly?

Active Member
Nicole B Member Since: May 28, 2015
1 of 14

I am new to the UpWork community and landed my first job. It is an hourly position. I use another time tracker for other clients and it tracks real time...the second I turn it on to the second I turn it off.


I notice that the UpWork time tracker seems to consider a 10 minute interval as time worked, then specifies how many active (i.e. clicks, mouse moves, applications, whatever) minutes there were in that 10 minute period. They range from 2-9 minutes...that's quite a range, but makes sense since waiting for chat replies, reading instructions, etc. is time worked too.


My quesiton is, if you click "on" and only really "work" for 2 minute of the 10 and then click "off", does UpWork consider that 10 minutes of work? It is showing that on my work diary...counting all the 10 minute intervals and adding them up for a running total. So is it 10 minutes, each time the tracker is turned on, no matter if it was turned back off a minute later? That doesnt make sense. 


Anyone? Thanks in advance!

Community Guru
Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
2 of 14

The tracker takes a random screenshot in every ten-minute period. A ten-minute period is counted for pay after the screenshot has been taken. The exact time it's taken at within that period is random so as to avoid people gaming the system.

Note that any period is subject to review by the client subject to a) the screenshot shows you were doing what you were supposed to have been doing; and b) there is a reasonable number of clicks and strokes logged, showing that you weren't just sleeping.


I'm open to correction on some of the finer points of this, but it's more or less it...

Community Guru
Setu M Member Since: Jan 26, 2014
3 of 14

Yes, Stephen pretty much has it covered.
You can see all the detailed information here

---- easy like Sunday morning ----
Active Member
Nicole B Member Since: May 28, 2015
4 of 14

Thanks for the replies!


I understand the screenshot and mouse click ideas. My quesiton is, in my work, some projects require a quick color change or font change that only takes a few minutes to make. Im not going to eat that time; it adds up. But if I turn on the time tracker, work for 2 minutes, the client can dispute that? Its very "all or none" sounding and doesnt work well for professions that require very detailed tracking. What about reading client emails or chats? That time should be logged, and not under scrutiny of 'working the system'. Does my question make sense? Maybe Im missing something. :?

Community Guru
Angela L Member Since: Oct 20, 2009
5 of 14

You need to wait for a screenshot before you log off because if you log in and work and then log out before a screenshot occurs that time doesn't count. For example, if you start working and at 8 minutes a screenshot occurs and then you are still working for another 10 minutes and log off before another screenshot, you will only get paid for the one screenshot (10 minutes). 


The activity tracker just makes sure that there is some activity going on - if enough time passes with no activity (mouse click, keystroke), the tracker will stop tracking your time.

Community Guru
Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
6 of 14

You need to talk to your client and discuss how to deal with situations like this.

Active Member
Jennifer Y Member Since: Aug 21, 2017
7 of 14

does putting on the time tracker increase your experience on working for upwork? how do I go from entry level to intermediate. i have been working for upwork for almost a year now and I´m still entry level. how can i boost that up? 


Joanne Marie P Moderator Member Since: Nov 26, 2017
8 of 14

Hi Jennifer, 


Hours tracked counts to your hours worked which is displayed on your profile. Please see screenshot below on how it will look like on your profile:



You may want to consider checking out these helpful blog articles to help you write winning proposals, improve your profile and tips on how to be successful on Upwork. 


Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 14

@Jennifer Y wrote:

does putting on the time tracker increase your experience on working for upwork? how do I go from entry level to intermediate. i have been working for upwork for almost a year now and I´m still entry level. how can i boost that up? 


 You do know that you set your own level, don't you?

Go to Your Profile Settings Page and change it if you feel you are now at Intermediate.


change experience level.jpg

Community Guru
Bill H Member Since: Aug 18, 2017
10 of 14

Stephen B's response directly answers your question. Mine is really a philosophical observation. The variations of "random screen shot" "guaranteed payment" "work not shown on computer" etc are all problems I avoid.


I've spent more than $5K as a client on Upwork, a great deal more on a competitor, and have never seen a screenshot. Of low importance is the fact that anyone not smart enough to figure out how to bypass Time Tracker isn't smart enough to work for me. Of high importance is that I trust my freelancers and simply pay whatever they bill me.


I refuse to use Time Tracker as a provider. I expect to work in an environment of mutual trust, and as a client that expectation is the same. I have started fixed-price work without funded escrow and don't expect to change that, even though it has cost me a few dollars. I have submitted manual hours that have never been paid. Big deal. An atmosphere of mutual trust is so much more professionally satisfying, and allows so much more value to be delivered that I see no reason to pollute the atmosphere with a time-clock.


I always fund escrow for fixed-price jobs because a new freelancer-client relationship needs that. On a rehire, I fund it also, but for cash management purposes. Every hourly job allows manual hours and is set to auto-pay whatever the freelancer bills.


It isn't easy to get to this point. Most of my online workers are hired through another board, or through no board. I spend a lot of time reviewing profiles and rarely look at rankings or reviews. I explore a fit with everyone. My online workers and I communicate regularly, often daily, even if there's nothing due. My standards are high, starting with trustworthiness. I've been burned badly by one freelancer who took advantage of this approach. That just meant that my screening of freelancers got better by necessity.


I hire few if any "commodity" freelancers. Maybe data entry or call-setting is differerent, but I'm not sure. I occasionally need data entry to support a client project, and just send a message to a Vietnamese firm to get to work and bill me startup fees plus whatever they need.


I've been told I don't know how to do freelancing and don't know how to hire. That's probably true on Upwork. But I've been freelancing for more than fifty years, and using freelancers for that long as well, and Upwork isn't even a round-off in the global market.