The Importance of Tracking Your Time

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Categories: Accounting, Business, Freelancing, Web Apps

The Importance of Time Tracking

Today I’m going to talk about the importance of tracking your time.

If your in business to make money, you need to know how long it takes to perform all your tasks.  That could be how long it takes to reconcile your monthly income and expenses to how long it takes you to design a logo.  If it takes you twice as long to complete a task, you just lost money.  It doesn’t matter whether that is a billable task or not.  The more time it takes to complete non-billable tasks reduces the time you can spend on billable work.

Dennis and I both use time tracking apps to monitor how we spend our work hours.  It can be an eye opener to see just how long it takes to complete tasks.  If you’re finding a wide variation for the same task over time, it could indicate that you’re getting distracted and maybe need to turn off Twitter or the background music.

For billable work, knowing how long it takes to complete individual tasks and the entire project enables you to create accurate quotes.  If you don’t know, you could end up spending twice as much time as you estimated.  If you’re doing a fixed price project, you just cut your margin in half.  If you’re doing hourly work, you’re going to have one very unhappy client.

There are a ton of time tracking applications (both software and web-based) out there.  I use a web-based solution called Harvest. It has both time tracking and invoicing, so I’m getting two apps in one.  I’ve been very happy with it but I know there are many other great solutions out there, so find one and start tracking your time today.

This topic was taken for our free 101 Simple Freelancing Tips download.  If you haven’t already downloaded it, get our copy today.

Written by Brett Atkin

I have been building and maintaining web sites since 1997. I remember when Netscape was the top browser and PointCast was the news service of choice. The web and I have come a long way in the last 13 years. In those 13 years, I’ve built everything from brochureware sites, custom CMS’s using both ASP and PHP to fully responsive Wordpress sites. I’ve helped clients with their blogging, email marketing, online promotions, SEO and Analytics.

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