One can lose money and get it back, or even lose business and get it back too. Losing time is worst of all because it’s not something we can ever get back. That’s why we have to manage it wisely.
This is especially true for freelancers. Many people think being a freelancer is a dream job – complete freedom, no meetings and working only when you feel like working. But of course, freelancers have challenges of their own. One of them is time.
Not only do freelancers have to handle several projects at a time, they also need to communicate with several clients and look for the new ones simultaneously. For most ordinary people this is more than enough, but since freelancers are unique in their own ways they somehow have to deal with it all.
Once the freelancer has found clients, the next biggest concern is smartly distributing time. That means wisely organizing time for each project and its deadline so the work is not paralyzed with fruitless attempts to perform every single thing at the last minute. Here’s where a time tracking tool for freelancers can go to work as it can definitely save them a great deal of their time and sanity.
Let’s take a look at several examples of how tracking time helps freelancers nail their productivity.
Manage the workflow
Being a freelancer means you’re passionate about what you’re doing. This is the perfect way of growing both professionally and financially.
However, if not having any time tracking tool quietly working somewhere in the background on your computer, you’ve got no way of knowing how the work on current projects is progressing. You know it’s progressing, but you need precise figures, something that could serve you as a good starting point for every important decision. Maybe you could earn twice as much as you do now, just by stopping updates to your social media pages.
What are your best clients?
Once you've started tracking your time, you discovered that you can actually make much more of it than you’ve thought before. You’ve also managed to get new clients because your productivity increased and you’re now able to handle more orders. Which leads you to the question: are all of them worth working on?
Your time is limited, that’s why you just have to eliminate the projects which are not adding value to your competencies and income. You also have to make right career decisions. A good point to start is to compare the time you spent on different projects which the time tracking app can record for you. Are you working on them because you find them interesting and challenging (and certainly contributing to your professional experience)? Or are they just eating away your creative genius?
Perform 8 things at a time
Not possible, of course. Although it’s funny why we still try to deny the basic patterns by which our brain works and continue multitasking (by the way, it’s scientifically proven multitasking is impossible.)
Multitasking is a pressing matter for freelancers because they have to do plenty of things on their own. A time tracking tool can nicely visualize fluctuations of activities and switching between tasks, without you having to guess where the time has disappeared. This way you can make your work flow naturally and smoothly.
Perfect time for research phase
Doing research for a project is a natural part of a freelancer’s job. Since not very many people think of a public library as the first place to search for information, it’s quite easy to find out how long a research phase takes and whether it can somehow be a bit shorter.
Truth is that finding what you really need takes time. High qualityinformationis is not likely to lie on the surface and might not be evident.
Tracking time will help organize your daily schedule effectively in the first place, so you can make sure you have enough time to peacefully think about everything without hastily closing all tabs because it’s time to do something else.
Secondly, you’ll be able to check if you’re not spending too much time on original research. Research is time-consuming by definition, but it’s really easy to get carried away with it, especially if you came across a really interesting piece of content (which is often not relevant to your current subject). That’s why simply viewing how much time research is costing you would be a good way to decide how you can make this process more effective and easier.
How long should your project take and what about its value?
One of the golden business rules states: promise less than you can really do but deliver more than you promise. This is crucial for customer satisfaction. This can also be a perfect goal every freelancer should want to achieve.
As time for the project is among the major factors clients consider when searching for freelancers, tracking that time can be a good way to reach great customer satisfaction and loyalty. Since you now know perfectly well how long each typical project takes, you can repeatedly deliver more than your clients expect.
Check your progress
This is one of the things all people try to avoid for multiple reasons. For example, they don’t have clear metrics to assess results and make them more tangible, or are afraid to discover they might not keep up with the plans, or anything else.
Freelancers certainly feel the lack of information on their performance, partly because they’re masters of their own and, therefore, do not receive guidance from supervisors, and partly because they are too busy working to bother themselves with checking the progress. Many people think: I’m following my daily plan and that should be enough.
As you can imagine, this is not the best strategy, especially if you really want to not only maintain your productivity but increase it too. Again, tracking time is a good option to consider because it gives us a bit of a self-nudge and reminds us of things we often prefer to ignore.
And stay happy and productive of course
The better you manage your time, the higher customer value you can provide. In other words, you’ve got satisfied and loyal clients, and then positive word of mouth, and finally new clients. This is the perfect route information about your freelancing skills should take.
A sense of achievement is also important. It boosts your confidence and shows choosing the freelancing career was the right decision. Tracking time is a good start to balance quality and growth and make the most of the time without testing one’s limits.
Final thoughts – time tracking tool fosters freelancer productivity
Being a freelancer is a fantastic opportunity to make your life into what you want it to be. This also means you shouldn’t waste any chance to make it even better and, therefore, consider every technique that can help you stay productive, self-actualize and achieve excellent performance. A time tracking tool ticks all of the boxes.