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Freelance timekeeping

(15 Posts)
winkywinkola Thu 23-Oct-14 22:02:54

Any tips for more effective time recording?

I've just started back as a freelance direct marketer.

I've worked so hard this week but my notes only show 7.5 hours time.

I am sure I've done more than that!

The person I'm working for now asks me to fill in a spreadsheet for her. I've emailed her a link to a timekeeping tool but she hasn't responded to that.

I'm either really poor at recording my time or a permanent desk job would be better value!

Anyone help please?

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 23-Oct-14 22:31:12

Hello <waves>

Is the issue your client is asking what you have done? Or are you struggling to keep a track?

Are you using Paymo? I would try to amend your use of it rather than do a different system for her. You can record quite a bit of detail (in projects & task) and then output a weekly report as a PDF if she doesn't want to look at the link....

Whilst I can understand she wants some reassurance re your hours, there is an element that she has to trust you.

If you are working on certain aspects, can you sit down and think "I will do xx now" and click the timer, work on it and click the time when you finish, then decide what next.

I know I am easily destracted by MN so try to disicpline myself to focus on one thing or client at a time ensuring I click on and off.

I also review my Paymo entries once a month against my diary in case anything looks too strange (ie v long periods where I haven't stopped the clock) before I invoice.

Will be interesting to see what others suggest.

HTH

Dudess Sun 26-Oct-14 09:03:09

Hello, I've never heard of Paymo before. Just had a quick look on their site and I can try it for free....but what are the monthly costs like? Could be worth it as I have several projects on the go, and no Admin Assistant smile

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sun 26-Oct-14 11:05:03

I really like it (don't work for them!).

They have just upgraded to v3. I pay US€15 a month. I only have one user (me) but paying means I can invoice directly from the system (think free is restricted to 1 invoice per month) which has made invoice easier for me, esp as I have lots of repeat clients.

I also don't mind paying as it means they have the funds to develop it and improve it.

A VA I use suggested 'Timeguard' (think that is what it was called, on phone) but I liked Paymo's interface.

It also has a phone app.

I used it for free for a year, I'd try it first.

The key is making sure you start and stop the timer. It does let you amend and add time.

HTH

GallbladderFairy Sun 26-Oct-14 11:12:03

I use Toggl. It can have multiple projects for multiple clients and you can pull off reports to send to the client. No complaints from them so far! (And it is free!)

TalkinPeace Wed 29-Oct-14 15:10:03

if you are free range, nobody should be asking you for timesheets

winkywinkola Thu 30-Oct-14 22:34:06

I am struggling to keep track. I just keep a written record but at my busiest, I've either scrawled something down that I struggle to recall at the end of the day or I forget to keep a record at all.

My current client must think I'm dirt cheap!

I will be trying out those other systems, I think.

GallbladderFairy Fri 31-Oct-14 08:29:21

Talkin, no one asks me for time sheets, I use them for myself to track my hourly clients.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 31-Oct-14 12:35:11

Gallbladder think Talkin means the OP.

Winky it is a faff at first but I would get into using one of the online tools. It takes out the guess work. You want to be paid for what you have done. Plus if you take other clients on you need to keep an accurate record of what time you are giving to each etc.

Pao123 Fri 31-Oct-14 14:51:19

+1 on Toggl.com , you can name your projects and clients, export in CSV for any time period. So it should be doable to replicate the structure that your employer requires. It works on a timer so all you need to do is to start a timer (but remember to stop it!). If your employer asks for timekeeping in an old fashioned way (excel???) then make sure you bill the time it takes your to fill the annoying spreadsheet! Good luck.

TalkinPeace Fri 31-Oct-14 18:04:26

I work fixed fee for all stuff
its none of the client's business how long I actually take

I keep a rough tally of my hours (if I miss a yoga class the work has taken too long grin)

RedLentil Fri 31-Oct-14 19:59:06

Freshbooks is much better than toggl I think, especially for complex projects. The report and invoice functions save me so much time.

I'm interested in when people turn their timers on and off. I think I'm too prone to stopping mine when the creative work I do genuinely needs time to breathe.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 05-Nov-14 09:58:54

One of next year's priorities is to move to never charging less than a half day for that very reason Red. I mean, if my really regular client says 'please can you do a quick edit on this poster copy' (which I should be doing right now!), fair enough, that's an hour, but for anything bigger I need to start chunking up to charge for the breathing space.

beginner16 Mon 10-Nov-14 16:19:20

Also looking for suggestions on time tracking, but also with billing. Any recommendations that are more affordable and has better reporting functions than freshbooks? Thanks!

1tryingmybest1 Mon 01-Dec-14 15:02:01

Hey @beginner16 seems like no one had any new ideas for you, sorry about that. You are right about freshbooks, it is very expensive and is missing some important features. I would recommend either Harvest or Accountsight. Harvest is a favorite of freelancers, but is missing functionality. Accounsight is a newer software, but it might be what you are looking for. Best of luck!

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