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 six times an hour when your freelancer uses the Time Tracker. You can view these work-in-progress snapshots when you review your freelancer’s 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 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 Tracker in the Upwork Desktop App automatically uploads a screenshot of their activity and activity summary to the Work Diary.

Screenshots are grouped into sets for time periods that begin when the freelancer starts tracking and end when they turn off the Time Tracker. You can scroll through a set by choosing a screenshot and then selecting Next or Previous to view the others in that time period.

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

  • Dark green: Auto-tracked time, billable on hourly contracts
  • Light green: 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. Select 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 zero mouse clicks and zero 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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