4 Simple Ways of Working Correctly with Time Tracking

Whilst a lot of designers and developers claim to their clients that they make use of time tracking applications..they don’t. They work on the project and estimate the time it took them to complete it through the browsing, emails, playlist setups and coffee breaks. That isn’t the right way though. Not if integrity is your thing.

You need to be honest with your clients and therefore making notes of your time tracking or giving them a time sheet at the end of a project is important. How do you work correctly with time tracking apps? Well let me give you a few pointers below.

How to be honest with your time tracking

Make notes whilst tracking time
Why would I say you need to make notes? Well to keep your timing accurate of course. Clients don’t want to pay for your coffee breaks or telephone calls. They are paying you for the work you need to do on their project. Keeping time accurately can be done in a lot of ways, but for me note taking helps me check up on people. How do I have them take notes? Well it’s simple really. When the timer starts the time is written on paper with a dash. When something comes up different to the project the time is written down again with a X. Now that was the start and end time. Then the timer can be paused or it can keep running, depending on the situation at hand.

This method is useful when using stopwatches. However, making use of the latest time tracking software they will be able to tell you exactly what you spend your time on, which program you used for how long etc. Just makes everything more accurate, but the old methods are still used in offices today.

Don’t answer emails whilst time tracking
I’m serious about this, you do get lost within your emails sometime and if you weren’t taking notes, clients are billed for things they is actually part of your own time. Set certain times in the day that is eligible for you to answer and read emails. Don’t do it whilst working on projects, it will not only make you loose focus, but steal time from you as well.

Set your prices accurately
Whether just starting out or having been in the industry for numerous years. Make sure your pricing is set accurately, don’t overcharge clients. Meaning that if the budget is X don’t use up the hours because you need the money. Finish the project and show the client your time sheet and how long it took you. I understand that everyone wants to make more money for doing less, but is that really the right way of doing it? I don’t think so. Do you?

Be honest with yourself
This is something that a lot of people struggle with in the beginning. Being honest with yourself will help you overcome a lot of things through life. Don’t make decisions that will impact your future because you are looking for short term gratification. Make the wise decision of being honest with yourself when working on clients projects. Honesty goes a long way when looking for return clients.

So what time tracking software is available out there apart from the stopwatch on my phone? Well to name a few:

  • Harvest – Simple Online Time Tracking Software
  • TimeCamp – Time tracking and productivity software
  • Klok – Free Time Tracking Software
  • Paymo – Track time and bill online
  • Easy Time Tracking – Time tracking software
  • Fanurio – Time tracking software for Freelancers
  • Invoicera – Billing Software + Invoice Software
  • Mavenlink – A better way to manage your projects

Hope you enjoyed the short post.
Remember to be honest and bill your clients accurately.

Featured Image: I’m tracking the book on Shutterstock

Jacques is an Entrepreneur and Founder of the An1ken Group. He recently launched a daily vlog on Youtube — JacquesvhTV. He started Creativeoverflow in 2009 as a hub for creatives. Connect with him: Jacquesvh.com - @Jacquesvh - Facebook - Instagram - Pinterest

  1. Reply Karin Steenkamp February 4, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Cool post. I have been using Excel to painstakingly track my work hours over the past 5 years. It helps me to plan projects better and to quote more accurately. I will check out the time tracking solutions you posted – maybe it is TIME to try something new :)

  2. Reply sancisco12 February 4, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Short but useful article. I agree with you on not answering emails while working on projects. I do that before activating my time tracking software in order to concentrate on my task. Btw, I use Worksnaps (http://worksnaps.net). It’s a great way to build your client’s trust.

  3. Reply Vincent Churchil February 5, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Hi Jacques,

    This is an wonderful article on how time tracking tools can be used to improve productivity. I do agree that most of us waste time on checking emails and responding. I always try not to waste my time here, especially not to try and find out spam emails and delete them. Important emails must be filtered automatically and response must go only to those emails. Do you know any tool that does this?

    Moreover, I would like to suggest another time tracking tool, which is Replicon time billing. Please analyze this tool and consider adding it to your upcoming posts on time tracking or billing or project management.

  4. Reply Steve Yancharas Jr. February 8, 2013 at 4:25 AM

    I like Klok the best, Adobe Air stuff rocks and now you can import entries from Google Calendar really easily.

  5. Reply Emma Dcosta February 19, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    I think Replicon’s simple to use cloud based time tracking software is the most hassle free application amongst rest of the similar applications that I have reviewed. It can be easily used as an integrated solution.

  6. Reply jamesbrandon856 September 18, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Yes Jacques, I really enjoyed this short post of yours. Time is the biggest asset. Knowing where it goes really can payoff. I have been using Talygen (http://www.talygen.com) for years now for time tracking and project management. I haven’t been able to find anything else to meet my needs.

  7. Reply Thomas @TSR July 8, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Great article. You should definitely also take a look at TimeSheet Reporter (http://www.timesheetreporter.com), which allows you to track time via your Outlook calendar. Really great stuff.


  8. Reply Eric December 6, 2016 at 4:38 AM

    Fantastic list of time tracking apps, I would love to add another called Buddy Punch (https://buddypunch.com) a very easy to use time tracking app and my strong recommendation for time management for employees.

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