Still clinging to post-its, notebooks, scattered notes apps, or the endless hunt through your inbox to track your time? Feel the Friday frenzy as timesheet deadlines loom and your boss bombards you with reminder emails?
We get it—been there, done that!
There’s nothing worse than feeling the pressure of inputting time on a project you completed days ago. We’ve rounded up our six time tracking tips that will set you up for success.
As a freelancer, start-up or small business, time is your most precious resource. You want to make sure you are recouping ALL of it.
So how do you go from rifling through scribbles in a notebook to become a time tracking guru?
It doesn’t take much, and the benefits on your workload balance and bottom line are HUGE.
You just need to take a few key steps to set yourself up for time tracking success!
1. Make the Commitment
Taking the time to think through your plan will help you stick to it in the long run. With that in mind, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Write down or type up your plan. Better yet post it up where you can see it while you’re working
- Establish your “why.” For example, “I will proactively track my time because it makes my day go smoothly, I have fewer questions on my invoices and I get paid faster.”
- Allow for trial and error. As the saying goes, if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again! It may take a few iterations to find what works for you, but the key is consistency.
2. Get in the Zone
Time management goes beyond a spreadsheet, to how you set yourself up for the day. It is the catalyst for your overall workday structure.
From your morning routine to your workspace and equipment, how you show up throughout the day can determine how productive you are.
Before you dive into work, take five to ten minutes and open up your time tracking software or spreadsheet. Jot down your to-do list (keep it realistic – usually, two to three big tasks will be more than enough.) And look at what you already have on your plate.
Pare down your list if it’s too much, then create a basic schedule for when you’ll tackle each to-do.
To take it a step further, prep some healthy snacks or a smoothie full of good, whole foods. This keeps the brain fog away and can help keep you focused. Now take a deep breath… you’re ready to rock the day!
3. Take Breaks
For many freelancers, entrepreneurs and start-ups, getting into the zone might be pretty easy.
It’s second nature to plug away on a project or skip around from one to another without even a glance at the clock.
Before you know it, the day has gotten away from you!
In order to stay mindful of your time, take breaks throughout your day.
About one per hour is a good rule of thumb, but you could also use time tracking as a guide.
For example, you could work on blog content for 45 minutes, then take three minutes to walk around, come back, and finish the presentation you’ve been working on.
Reward yourself with a short walk, snack, or social media scroll once you complete a project – and celebrate by punching in your time.
Breaks will help you take a step back and remember what your priorities are, ensure you track your time and keep you from getting fatigued.
4. Leave Room for Growing Pains
As an entrepreneur or part of a small team, one of your strengths is likely your ability to be creative and think on the fly. You are adaptable to an ever-evolving schedule. You’re fluid and reactive.
Time tracking can be a thorn in your side. It’s rigid, unyielding – yet SO, so necessary.
So cut yourself some slack as get you started or work on leveling up your time tracking game. If you can keep your schedule tight about 80% (or maybe 60%) of the time, you’re on the right track.
Leave some wiggle room for yourself so you don’t get burnt out and give up completely!
5. Tap into your Right Brain/Left Brain Power
As creatives, we tend to overwork our right brain and save most of our energy for creativity.
But powering down that side of your brain for a moment, and tapping into your methodical left brain can give your creativity the rest it needs to be recharged.
Instead of looking at time tracking as a chore, look at it as a time to recharge!
6. Select the Right Support
There are a ton of time-tracking apps and software programs available – from the simple, to the complex.
At Dinvy Ascent, we took great care to ensure that our time tracking software would work for YOU. With enough pre-programmed goodness to get you started right off the bat, and the ability to customize it as you grow.
Time to Get Started…
At the end of the day, it’s most important that you do what works for you! Seeking out the advice of trusted advisors, helpful articles and a time tracking system that supports the way you work.
We’d love to be a part of your journey!