To help you monitor your freelancers’ activity and smooth out the billing process, we offer the Work Diary. The Work Diary is a visual record of your freelancer's activity on a given project.

Here’s how it works:

  • You set up an hourly contract with your freelancer
  • We request that your freelancer track their time via our Time Tracker
  • We take real screenshots of what your freelancer is working on about 6 times an hour. You can view these work-in-progress snapshots when your freelancer uses the Work Diary.
  • Your freelancer adds more details in their Work Diary about what they were working on 
  • You review and discuss any issues with your freelancer 

View your freelancer's Work Diary

  1. Go to the Jobs Home page
  2. Select the contract you wish to view
  3. Choose the Timesheets tab

Once in the Work Diary, you can customize the dates that you want to view.

Although it is useful to see what a freelancer is working on during the week, the Work Diary is a billing tool. It is not:

  • A way to communicate or set work expectations.
  • A place to add or delete time for your freelancer.
  • A place to edit your freelancer's work.

Reading the Work Diary

Approximately 6 times during each hour that  a freelancer tracks time, the Time Trackers in the Upwork Desktop App automatically uploads a screenshot of their activity, and activity summary, to the Work Diary. 

Activity associated with a screen capture may span two billing segments. You and your freelancers can also agree to allow manual time to be added, to represent work activity not captured well by Time Tracker, such as phone calls.

The memo bars in the Work Diary are color-coded to indicate the status of that billing segment.

  • Dark blue: Auto tracked time, billable on hourly contracts
  • Light blue: Manual time, billable on hourly contracts
  • Red: Time over the weekly limit agreed with your client. Not billable.

The time your freelancer tracks in their Work Diary is only billable on hourly contracts and excludes time over the hourly limit that you and your freelancer originally agreed to. If your freelancer works over the hourly limit, you should discuss the proper course of action with them, which may include releasing a bonus or increasing the hourly limit on the contract.

The row of green blocks you see under each screen capture is the activity meter. It shows the number of minutes out of a 10-minute billing segment that included activity. The meter records the total number of mouse clicks, scroll actions, and keystrokes per segment. It doesn't record what a freelancer clicked or typed. Click the meter for a detailed view, including minute-by-minute activity counts.


Activity levels during a stretch of logged time will fluctuate depending on the task. Some tasks, such as phone calls, reading, and thinking, will show low activity. For this reason, it's possible that you'll see 0 mouse clicks and 0 keystrokes, but other activity will still be recorded. If you are concerned about significant portions of the Work Diary with low activity, please discuss them with your freelancer.

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