Okay, I worked freelance in the beginning of my career and I always thought that tracking time isn’t worth it. I believed in total freedom, and flexibility while working; and thought why do people even track their time – is work too over-rated or complicated? – What’s the point in keeping a check on your own-self?
Well, that was then. I was yet to get a hang of what freelancing is. Until, I heard these two big shots spoke to each other about how one of them was having difficulty managing clients.
The other suggested comparing the time and revenues of each client. He was quite surprised to know that the one having troubles was not tracking time at all. His say got me thinking, I got engrossed in my own thoughts. I never thought about tracking my own.
His words convinced me into it and look for possible web based time tracking software. It looked like a productivity secret that I quickly borrowed and browsed, got many choices, preferred to use Invoicera. It looked good. About two weeks later, I realized a lot about myself. Most of my time went towards leisure and other things. Work was just a fraction visible. Too bad – that could be one reason why I was earning consistently the same each month – No considerable appreciation.
Besides, it’s not always about money – there’s a lot I learned, things that’d help any one. Here are my findings after tracking my time:
1. Too much of email thing
Email is my staple diet at work. I mostly communicate with my clients via email, so I’m available there all day. I found that checking and responding to emails took most of my time – I was kicking myself for it. But, I had genuine concerns – not wanting my clients to wait for my answers. May be I could try toning it down to some extent – let’s say, by an hour.
2. Things took too long
Clients are the key to successful freelance work. I work hard obviously, but was working just a little bit too hard or taking longer than expected for a not-so-highly-paid project.
My total income reflected not a very good picture at the end of the month.Clearly, mismanagement at its peak. I learned to prioritize my tasks according to the projects.
3. The impact
The biggest impact ever since has been on my business sense. Yes, I realized that I earn 10 times more than usually earn by working for big projects. 10 times is overwhelming. I work for money, so at any point I’d try to make more money and earn myself some more bucks. And that’s what I should be doing. Moreover, I learned not to abuse my time on stuff that is not so important.
4. What I was not doing
It’s important to know what you’re not doing. For example – I work well with Smartphones and whatever I do there, doesn’t show up on the monthly reports that I send. Why? Because it doesn’t sync with my social profile. I lose points here.
Now that I know where I lag, I should be able to cover up the flaws. You often get caught up in things that take time, like meetings and things that pull you back from the field. That’s where time tracking comes into picture, cleaning up the dirt.
It’s true that you can become productive when you track time. And this image below can show you how to do it-
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