Monday, June 2, 2014

Time is Money: How I Track My Freelance Time

easy tempus smartphone app
As a freelance editorial services provider trying to make a living, delivering a quality product with quality service to my clients is my No. 1 priority. Running a close second is tracking my time. Until recently, pen, paper and an Excel spreadsheet were my go-to tools. They served the purpose, but sometimes I forgot to log my time. Of course, this oversight always worked to the benefit of my clients because I always erred on the side of caution, shorting myself instead of running the risk of overcharging my clients.  

One of my professional goals for this year is to put even more effort into building my client base, making the need to track my time more efficiently that much more important. Enter Easy Tempus, a free app for Android devices. 

Easy Tempus is the perfect tool for me. I can organize multiple clients by project and task, and I can track my time by either running a timer or setting a start-and-stop period. The app generates a detailed history, tallies my earnings  and creates reports to view or export. I can also take photos and write notes, although I haven't had the need to do so yet. The premium version (just a few bucks)  lets users generate invoices, view an expanded history timeline, sync to Google calendar, and store expenses and receipts. 

The app definitely helps me more precisely track my time on hourly projects, but I also use it for flat-fee projects. By doing this, I can gain a better understanding of how long various projects take me to complete. Over time, I will be able to use this data to develop project-based rates that are fair but competitive and that more accurately reflect my talents and the value I provide to clients. 

(True confession time: I do still enter my time into an Excel sheet. Old habits die hard. I just like the security of a hard copy backup.) 

How about you? What time-tracking tips have your discovered for your freelancing adventures? 

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing ... Keep It Real.   

P.S. No one paid me to use Easy Tempus or write a review. This was all me.

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