How do you track your time?


Hi All,

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to manage my chargeable time. I can start on a job only to be urgently summoned to do another or a client can unexpectedly pop in. So I can be chopping and changing jobs throughout the day.

How do you all keep track of your time? I've tried quite a few time tracking applications, but none seem to be able to cope with me moving from one job to another regularly and forgetting to switch the timer.

What are your experiences? :thumb:
I've given up on timers. I'm like you. Can start the day off with the best intentions, but then, the phone will go, somebody will call in, a flurry of enquiries interrupt the flow of things etc etc.

Literally just do my best to keep on top of it. Using the clock most of the time to estimate how long I've been working on a certain thing. To be honest too, most of my work is set at a fixed price rather than an hourly rate! Considered doing that?
I try and use a timer which has a pause...but as you say the phone goes and then something happens and before you know it it's taken 2 hours to type one line. I use a combination of the timer, a clock and gut feeling!
I do try to do fixed price for some things. However, there are many jobs which could take 1 hour but end up taking 10.
Distractions are my main problem. Wouldn't it be great to just start a job, finish it then move on to the next?

Kate, the combination of timer, clock and gut feeling is probably quite accurate for what I do. Glad to know it's common. :thumb:
Time management is a common problem among freelancers, even in the larger studios it can be a struggle to manage your time, although there are a few more extra staff to help out with the other areas a freelancer juggles. I use to keep a check of the file times and updates of files when i was working on a project, but this wasn't exact. Distractions seem to be the main cause of not keeping to time or being unable to work through a job. I now have a big colour coded graphic visual on my wall and all jobs are placed in 6 colour time zones - High Priority, Priority, Important, Low Priority, Interesting, Make a Cup of Tea.
If i get distractions throughout the day i then see where or if they fit in the chart, jot down the time and move on.

Obviously it's easier said than done :)
I regularly have to look back at a piece of work and estimate the time I've spent on it - it seems this is fairly common but the downside is that I have a suspicion I probably overestimate my speed and, therefore, underestimate my time...