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WHY & HOW TO TRACK YOUR TIME

When it comes to freelancing, tracking your time is one of the most crucial things you can do. It’s also one of the most tedious and forgetful things that you need to do.

WHY

1. It’s key when determining pricing. You need to know how long a project typically takes in order to price your services correctly.

2. Your time is part of a budget constraint, and you need to make sure you are staying within a project’s budget.

3. It keeps you on track and focused.

HOW

1. I make a to-do list every night, so that when I wake up in the morning I am ready to get started. I take one project at a time, start the timer before I do anything related to the project and then work on the project. I stop the timer if I need to run an errand, take the dog out, etc, so that the numbers aren’t construed.

2. I use Freshbooks for invoicing, expenses and projects, which comes with a built in timer. It’s great because, I can log hours for all of my current projects right through Freshbooks, which totals everything up so you know where you are. It has a stop/start function, and you have the capability of billing out the hours (which I use for my monthly contract clients). I definitely recommend using this for anyone who already uses Freshbooks or is looking for an invoice software.

Others who have timers:

Basecamp (for people who want a project management system and timer)

Toggl (for people looking only for a timer, nice interface, able to track and bill)

Tick (only a time tracking function, integrates with Basecamp)

Harvest (also an online invoicing software, great interface, looks like it has it all)

I hope this was helpful!

Are you a creative business owner, entrepreneur or freelancer? Check out the rest of my Biz Chats posts!

  • Thanks for the great tips, Amanda. I love how willing bloggers like you are to share their experiences with newbies. I recently started using paymo.biz (a timer/invoice/project management service) and the free level has been fine for me for now because I’m not using it for invoices yet. Hopefully someday I get to that stage!

    • So glad to hear! I’ve never heard of that one before, but am definitely going to check it out!

  • Chad

    Basecamp just moved to a new, completely redesigned interface. It’s not advertised anywhere in the FAQs but when you actually go to import your projects from the old Basecamp (now “Basecamp Classic”) it warns you that time tracking is not supported in the new version. I’m trying to find out if there is a reason for this or if they really are removing a critical component to project management. So far I haven’t found anything online.

    • Wow, thanks for sharing! I didn’t know they were doing that!

  • Love this! Your blog looks amazing!

  • Thank you so much for sharing your expertise! I look forward to reading more! :)