Mitch Albom said in his New York Times all-time bestseller, The Time Keeper, that before you get to measure the years, you have to measure the days. For freelancers or full-time workers, it should be hours to know how much they’ll be paid. Managers are required to have time management skills. Businesses stress the analogy of time to money, and of being productive to more revenues. So what time keeping or tracking or monitoring has to do with all of us?
Why Do You Need to Track Time?
Why time tracking is important? With so many activities that occupy people nowadays, we tend to whine about the lack of time. When we track time or make time keeping, it helps us to be mindful of what we do with the time we have. It makes us more productive and more focused. This makes time management an essential skill to apply in our daily lives.
Time tracking is also part of project management essentials, which ensure the timely workflow and execution of tasks to achieve the desired output at its designated deadline.
For freelancers, time is crucial because it is what they practically “sell” off to their clients. And they should be able to quantify what they can do given an amount of time in order to get revenue from it. Through time tracking, one can measure productivity with respect to what activities that he or she does.
Benefits of Time Tracking Tools
Awareness is the key as to why time tracking tools are effective in enhancing the efficiency of an individual in executing tasks. As a freelancer, you probably have set yourself a considerable rate per hour of your work. And when you are mindful of how you spent it, you would improve and be more productive so you can raise your worth. By making time tracking automatic, you can remain focused on your tasks and stay productive.
A Standish Group research in 2013 about project cases in real IT and software projects found out that less than one-third of all projects are actually completed on time and according to budget. To achieve the balance between timely execution and quality control is how project management helps businesses, which is enhanced by using technology based tools as time tracking.
Freelancers are investors of time. They have to make sure to deliver work in a timely manner, or with as much worth and quality within the specified time frame. The value of time tracking gives a client something to have the basis of the performance of a freelancer, aside from the output he or she rendered.
Here are the reasons why freelancers and professionals should invest in time tracking tools:
Improved workflow management
Most freelancers take up multiple projects. With time tracking tools, they can come up with a more systematic scheduling of assignments within the day. They can also monitor how much time they usually spend on one specific task and analyze if they are being productive with it. They can now plan a realistic timetable and ask for a considerable rate the next time they will engage in more complex projects requiring a series of smaller assignments.
Consistently tracking time enables freelancers and full-time workers to assess their time management skills, and apply improvements as they go with more complex tasks.
It helps you focus on your work
Initially, time tracking tools can let you see the activities that you engage in, and the time you spent on each throughout the day. Through this, you can analyze how much time you put on unnecessary activities that is outside of your work, and see how much unproductiveness it equates.
By learning how much time you actually spent versus the time you should have spent will raise your willingness to be more productive with your work. It earns you focus, which will make you more attentive to improving the quality of your work. This way, you please your clients, and you grow your experience.
You improve in meeting deadlines
One of the benefits of time tracking is that it lets you become aware of how much time has lapsed, and how much more left until you reach your deadline. This can be pressing and stressful at first, but when you grow accustomed to it, it will make you feel more driven and focused on your work. You also don’t need to compromise the quality of your work by worrying too much about time keeping, because most tools can be set to automatically track your time.
It lets you avoid the pitfalls of multitasking
An average American is said to be devoting 7.6 hours a day for work, and another 2.5 hours a day doing household activities, according to a time management statistics conducted on American Time Use by The Bureau of Labor Statistics. No wonder that people become so pressed with what to do to “stretch time” and finish everything. Some people perceive multitasking as a way to improve productivity, but it is exactly the other way around. It takes away the right focus in doing each individual task, which may also sacrifice the quality of the output.
A time tracking tool can make you concentrate on each task individually by setting a schedule for everything. Another advantage of focusing instead of multitasking, is that your work is less likely to have errors.
You will know the real worth of your time and charge clients accordingly
Time tracking tools enable you to know exactly how much time you need to have a desirable and quality output. This is the true measure of your productivity. Through this, you will know how much your time is worth, so you can demand a reasonable rate on your next projects.
A time tracking tool also allows you to satisfy both a demanding and an output-based client. Most clients make numerous follow ups even if it is inconvenient for you already. There are also clients that simply trust the freelancer they hired, and only look for the output. With time tracking tools, you can actually please both types. By giving them a detailed report of your project-related activities and the time you spent on one, you will gain their trust and confidence that what they pay you is worth it.
Make better decisions
Constantly using time tracking tools at work lets you know how much time you spent on certain activities, in order to come up with the closest estimate for a project quote, whether time frame or budget wise. It takes a lot of experience to actually do this, but time tracking tools can help you acquire the skill faster. It can also help you create realistic estimates that include a basis out of your previous work, so that clients can really see and understand how you came up with your proposal.
As you go along being a freelancer or a full-time employee, you can have a better understanding of your time and how it translates to income. If you are a freelancer, is there anything you can improve with your practices so you can increase your revenue? If you are an employee, is it time that you should explore freelancing because you see that you can earn more from being one? Time tracking tools help not only businesses but also individuals, who want to increase their productivity and explore more ways to increase their income.
Full-time employees can also use the insight they get from time tracking tools when asking for a performance-based salary raise from their employers. Freelancers, on the other hand, can be more confident in demanding for a higher rate because they have substantial proofs of their productivity and output.
You will know when it is best to delegate
By having greater knowledge about your time and how you charge clients, you can accept bigger projects to build your profile. Some clients don’t actually mind you getting a team to do it as long as they will only give the rate you agreed. Working with a team can sometimes benefit you more than doing it alone, which not only saves you time but pays you for lesser work. Just make sure that you trust the people you will get to team with, and you do the right supervision to maintain the quality of the output.
Finding the top time tracking tools to meet your requirements is no easy feat as the market is robust with options. Since you will be investing in something that will help you be productive and earn more, it is best to take your time in researching and comparing different kinds of tools. You should find a cost-efficient investment to partner with for a long time.
For added insight, visit CrowdReviews.com and see our long list of reviews of time tracking tools.
Features to Look for in a Time Tracking Tool
Modern professionals see the importance of automating as many tasks as possible to become more efficient and productive. In this case, a time tracking tool is the best option. Here are some of the useful features that a good time tracking software or tool should possess, which can best fit businesses:
- Automatic or manual timer
- Multiple-structure time sheets for better visualization
- Project management features like task management, costing, billing, and payroll
- Task analytics
- Mobile integration capable for seamless time tracking in between devices
- Collaboration features
Freelancers, however, might require minimal features of their time tracking tools.
- Mobile integration, where they can continue their work from desktop to their mobile devices
- An automatic or manual timer
- Time tracking with screenshot feature
- Manual input
- Automatic invoice generation
- Collaboration features that make the software easily to integrate with other project management apps
Want to explore your options for a time tracking tool? See reviews of time tracking tools from CrowdReviews.com.
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