There’s a lot of buzz surrounding time tracking, and you’re curious what all the fuss is about.
You’re productive and are getting your work done, so how would it benefit you?
If you’ve been apprehensive about time tracking, you needn’t be. It has a vast amount of benefits.
Are you a freelancer?
A benefit of time tracking is that you can give your clients a realistic picture of how long tasks take. If you’re overworked, keeping track of your time will reveal that. It’ll also show a client you should get paid more!
To add to these arguments, here are seven reasons why time tracking is invaluable.
1. Billing by the Hour
As a contractor working for an employee, you may bill by the hour.
Keeping track of your time ensures you’re getting paid accurately for your hard work. If there are questions about the specifics of the project, a client can read your notes.
Speaking of notes, write detailed descriptions of which tasks you’re working on. That way, there won’t be any discrepancies down the road.
Billing by the hour also makes invoicing easy. If you use a site such as UpWork or Freshbooks to keep track of your time, sending out an invoice is simple. And if you’re on UpWork, as long as you’re tracking your time, it generates an invoice for you!
2. Project Pricing
Chances are you will work on a lot of projects as a freelancer. At first, you might have no idea how long a job will take. You may quote a certain amount of hours or agree on a set project rate. But then, it ends up taking twice that amount of time.
If you set a price for your project that’s inaccurate, you aren’t going to get paid accurately. To prevent this, be upfront with a client and explain that you’re unsure how long it’ll take.
And if you are familiar with the project, let them know that it may or may not take more time. Communication is critical when doing project pricing. Thankfully, time tracking will simplify the process.
Moving forward, keep track of every type of project you work on. That way, you’ll have a good idea of how much time a new one will take when accepting more work.
3. Increase Efficiency
One of the biggest reasons to do time tracking is to improve your productivity. If you tend to be a procrastinator, time tracking will reveal how you’re spending your time.
It may scare you to find out where your time is going since you’re not getting a lot done. After a while, you’ll start to pick up on how many TV-watching breaks you’re taking instead of working. When that happens, it’s time to change your habits pronto!
Based on the patterns you pick up on, this should prompt you to stay on task. Identifying problems will undoubtedly encourage you to improve your workflow. The result will be getting more work done and adding time to your schedule to make more money!
4. Work Transparency
Whenever you’re working with a client, be accurate as possible with time tracking. You can do this by accurately logging what you’re spending your time doing.
There’s no doubt that your client trusts you. Even so, keeping track of your time supports work transparency. It’ll ensure that you’re being honest about what you’re accomplishing. And it’ll also show them when specific tasks take longer or less time than they thought.
Your client may want you to spend less time on some tasks. Or, finger’s crossed, you’ll get a raise when they see how hard you’re working!
5. Plan Ahead
Sometimes it’s hard to gauge how much work there is to do. There may be a task you haven’t tracked, such as researching a writing assignment. You think it only takes an hour, when in fact it takes two.
Focusing on time tracking can clear up any questions. You’ll know precisely how long a task takes instead of guessing or forgetting the time you spent.
If a similar project comes up, you’ll have a more accurate time estimate. Based on how long things took the week prior, you can plan the upcoming week accordingly.
Allotting yourself enough time to complete specific tasks will reduce stress. Plus, it’ll enhance your productivity!
6. Time Prioritization
Keeping track of time is ideal for planning, and it makes it possible for you to focus on the most critical tasks.
If you tend to overbook yourself, then it’s time to make some tough decisions. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time getting high-priority projects done.
Is there a particular task that is more important than others?
Then allow enough time during the week to get it done.
As for other jobs, if there are ones you can push to the weekend, consider doing that instead.
7. Team Management
At some point, you may switch gears and hire freelancers to help with your business. If that day should come, time tracking will continue to be beneficial. It’ll allow you to monitor how your team is doing.
Observing how contractors use their time will reveal any wrinkles that need ironing out. For example, a contractor spent too much time learning how to do something. Unfortunately, it was because you didn’t offer clear enough instructions.
Seeing how they use their time will also reveal whether you’re overworking a freelancer. If they’re getting burned out, that means there’s too much on their plate. You should divide some of their work to someone else or make time to do it yourself.
Ensuring everyone has good work-life boundaries is essential. To feel happy and fulfilled in your work, maintaining balance is imperative.
Time tracking has its benefits. But that doesn’t mean you should allow it to dictate your schedule altogether. Being productive is one thing. But if you find you’re not taking time off or getting too wrapped up in time management, it may be time to take a step back.
There’s no harm in losing track of time doing something you love — as long as you aren’t charging a client! But monitoring how you’re using your time will improve your career and help you grow.
As a freelancer, finding the perfect work-life balance is possible. Continue to apply techniques such as time-tracking, and you’ll be good to go!
Amber Smith is the Leasing Manager at Catalyst Houston. With over seven years of experience in luxury apartment communities, this Houston native has true pride in her city and understands why Catalyst is the perfect place to call home.