Here’s a free piece of advice to anybody trying to do freelance work: track your time! There are hundreds of reasons to do it, but here’s a few of my top reasons:
- Planning and Forecasting - I’m much better at estimating how long a prospective project will take me to do since I’ve already tracked similar projects. That helps with setting pricing and creating realistic expectations with the customer.
- Focus - Distractions are everywhere, especially when you work digitally like I do. Having a time budget and tracking my time keeps me focus on the task at hand.
- Figure out where the day went - I’m tracking the time I spend on more and more activities now. I track the time I spend on creating contact lists, doing research, and networking. I’m tracking how much time I’m spending on this blog post right now! This way I can look back at the past week or month and see where am I investing my time. Is it a good balance? Do I need to cut out certain activities to focus on others?
There are plenty of apps and programs to help with time tracking. I highly recommend Paymo - http://www.paymo.biz/. In addition to time tracking, it offers project management and invoicing. Best of all, the free version does everything I need. Tell me about how you track your time.
17 minutes and 45 seconds on this blog post. Onto the next task!