‘Time tracking is such a waste of time!’

I’ve often heard people say that. Honestly, if you are a freelancer, you’ll know that time accounting is a serious task  as you get  paid by the hour. So why is time tracking all that important?  Top of the mind, this is why I think:

1. Albert Einstein had only 24 hours. So do youTime-Tracking
No one is saying you are not a genius like him. Of course you are! But when you are heading a project, you cannot whip out extra time in the last minute.

Quick Tip: PLAN. Go back to the basics. Make a task list and stick to it.

2. Energy Drainers – Count them in too
Your mobile, email, internet and staring at the clock itself will eat away your carefully planned time. They have a unique way to disrupt your carefully planned time. Tracking your time helps to keep them at bay.

Quick Tip: While planning, set aside some time for energy drainers.

3. Bill your time right
Would you like to be paid by the hour for your expertise or by fixing a rate for the ultimate finished product.  As a freelancer your time’s worth should be estimated carefully before you bill your client on the basis of project hours, staff hours or task hours.

Quick Tip: Spend some time to know which project billing method suits you the best.

4. Heard of umm ‘delegating’
Ever noticed the amount of time you spend on actually doing what you love and the time spent on administrative tasks to get to do what you want to do? Share your workload.

Quick Tip: Add more people to the project and let them track their own time.

5. We all procrastinate – No exception
“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday”. Ahem I didn’t say that…Don Marquis did and I kind of agree. We procrastinate filling up those timesheets that when the day dawns to send the invoice, we rush and do a shoddy work of essaying the work we did.

Quick Tip: Do it small bits like once in 3 days instead of once a week.

6. ‘I don’t remember ‘ – syndrome
Not everyone is blessed with exceptional memory. As a freelancer, chances are you will be working on multiple projects and for many clients. The simple things might skip your mind when you finally get to your timesheets.

Quick Tip: Use the notes and write it down when it’s fresh in the mind.

7. Busy bees are awfully busy all the time
“I’ll fill it when I’m not so busy”. Well THAT… somehow never happens. Even if it does, then point no 5 and 6 pitch in and the rest is history. Prise out some time everyday to keep track of what you’ve achieved and where you are headed.

Quick Tip: Keep your mobile handy. Before starting the task, click start the timer. Let the app do the tracking.

8.My client ‘KNOWS’ the work I do
I know he does. But let’s be honest, you might be the best person working on the job but you are not the only one. Why make your client track your work when you can do an awesome job of it yourself. Remember… clients observe.

Quick Tip: Send out an immensely detailed invoice of the tasks accomplished with description. It’ll speak a lot about your professionalism.

9. Increased sense of accomplishment
Don’t know about you, but I love the happy fuzzy feeling that comes when a task is complete. It lets me know that I’m almost close to that finishing line and gives me that additional motivation to get the rest of the job done.

Quick Tip: Track your tasks and their progress regularly. Nothing disturbs the mind like a pending task.

10.It’s a friday job
It’s friday today and I know for a fact I have far more interesting things to do than fill up timesheets. So do you!   You often have to reverse engineer your way to noting down what you did the entire week.

Quick Tip: Spend 5 min a day to write down the key tasks. Elaborate later.

Well these were some of the reasons why I thought tracking time is so crucial. Would love to know why you track time. Share your inputs right here in the comments below.

  1. Mindaugas

    I was browsing your website but I couldn’t find the answer. Does Zoho have a mobile + web-based app? I found the time tracking function in your invoicing app, but I couldn’t find the mobile version. Thanks.

  2. Reshma Roy

    @Robert @Aaron Thanks for your comments. Some of the suggestions are really good and I’ve passed it to the development folks. If there are any updates on it, will definitely keep you posted.@Jane glad you could relate to the post 🙂

  3. Paul Witcombe

    So it’s not just me that reverse engineers at the end of the week! Although normally it’s not too bad as I use TimeWerks for tracking time and then email myself the invoice and leave it flagged in my inbox until invoice day. I have asked a few times over the last year for the Zoho timer to be more like the timewerks app where once I have entered a job(project) it’s stored so that the next time I’m called out to that job the info is there. It’s also possible to have multiple jobs/tasks running at once which is very handy especially when I have others working for me. If something similar was brought in it would also be handy for invoices that are entered through the app have a little red notification on the main website so that they would be easily identifiable as due for printing and sending.

  4. Jane

    I could not agree more with Tip # 8 especially for a freelancer like me. I always take initiative to send end of day reports to one of my clients but never got any reply. One day I missed sending one and he sent me an email looking for the report. That I knew he was reading my emails. Time Doctor has helped me a lot manage my time. Not only does it show my client how productive I am but it also helps me with allocating time for each task I do in a day.

  5. Aaron

    Mobile app time tracker suggestions:Would be nice if the mobile app timer had an option to go direct to invoice for those of us that do small jobs and not large projects. Also, the mobile timer would be more functional if you could put in the customer, item and notes on the front end and while the timer is running. I don’t even use the timer because of this, just create an invoice and take notes in there.

  6. Robert Smith

    Nice tips. Now, would it be possible to make some repeatedly requested enhancements to the very basic and unintegrated projects & timesheets modules.
    First, you need to add Project statuses that reflect whether a project has been invoiced and – or paid.
    Second, your Project module needs to include columns for dates such as creation and target close date.
    Third, your timesheet module needs to allow multiple entries of start & end times.
    Fourth, your timesheet module needs to allow importing of time entry data from a calender file and-or an online calendar source such as Google calendar.