Time tracking. Two words that make even the most seasoned freelancer shudder. In fact, according to a study by Dimensional Research, timesheets are the most disliked tracking process. 70% of respondents chose time tracking as their most hated process—dramatically more than those who chose expense reporting (18%) or paid time off reporting (8%).
But like it or not, time tracking is an essential part of most freelance jobs. And neglecting it could really cost your business. According to a study by AffinityLive, people who log their time at least once a day are 66% accurate, compared to 47% accuracy from people who log their time weekly. The study goes on to explain:
“To put this into numbers, assuming the professional was billing out at $150 per hour, and they were working a normal 40 hour week, recovering this 18 percent of their week is the equivalent of $1,080 a week, or almost $52,000 per year.”
And that’s just one reason why tracking time is so important. Here are some more ways that using a time tracking app can help you increase your productivity and your earnings.
1. Log Hours Accurately
As mentioned above, logging time more frequently results in much more accurate results. And the easier your time tracking is, the more likely you are to log hours on a consistent basis. Some time trackers let you use a timer to record your hours in real time as you work. That means time tracking can be as easy as pressing a button. Plus, using an app that integrates directly with invoices–like Tispr’s time tracking tool–makes it simple to bill clients for the hours you’ve logged.
2. Increase Transparency
Many time tracking apps let you download reports for specific date ranges to show exactly where your time was spent. Sharing these reports with clients help them see what projects you worked on over the billing cycle, and how many hours it really takes to perform certain tasks.
3. Estimate Future Projects
If you make it a habit to accurately track your hours on projects, you can use that data to estimate how long similar projects will take in the future. This way, you’re less likely to overextend yourself or promise fast, unreasonable timelines—and that keeps both you and your client happy. Being able to predict how long a project will take is also key when you’re working for a fixed project rate instead of an hourly rate. This way, you won’t underestimate your timing and leave valuable revenue on the table.
4. Track and Manage Projects
Time tracking apps let you label the hours you’re tracking by task and even link hours to specific projects. By having all the relevant project information in one place including billable hours, you and your clients will get a more comprehensive overview of the progress you’re making. Accurately tracking hours also gives you an idea of when a project may go over the initial scope, so you can communicate with your client before you go out of scope and over budget.
5. Stay Focused
According to Rescue Time, we check our communication apps 40 times a day, or once every 7.5 minutes during our 5 hours of daily digital work time. That’s a lot of wasted time! But when you have a timer running on a project, it’s harder to start and stop constantly if you get off distracted. So subconsciously, using a timer can keep you on task by helping to curb distractions like social media, chats and unnecessary emails.
6. Save Time
Ultimately, using a time tracking product ladders up to saving time. By eliminating many of the pain points of tracking hours, these tools create an environment where freelancers can stay on top of the hours they work, easily create invoices, estimate future projects quickly and accurately, and increase productivity by staying focused. Plus, if you use a time tracking app frequently, you won’t be spending time at the end of the month trying to remember how long you worked on which project. It’s a win-win for accuracy and efficiency.
Although time tracking can be a hassle, thankfully there are products that exist to help ease the burden on the freelance workforce. With the simple act of signing up for a time tracking tool, freelancers can increase productivity, earn more and be more accurate with billing—all while saving time.
If you’re looking for a reliable, easy-to-use tool to help you track your time, check out Tispr’s time tracking tool.