The way you use your time is the way you live your life.
Posted on January 7, 2013, under Time and Technology.
Time tracking tools offer a wonderful way to maximize your focus and productivity. But how to you choose the one that’s best for you?
Time is money, and as a solopreneur, you know how important accurate time-tracking data is to your continued success. While many of us still use the old-fashioned pen-and-paper approach, you may get more bang for your buck by opting for a web app. Today’s time tracking apps make it fast and simple to record your time by client and by project. This makes it easier to keep tabs on your clients’ budgets and to produce detailed invoices. As you review the many choices available to you, here are just a few tips for choosing the right time tracking tool for your business.
At first glance, time tracking apps may seem cost-prohibitive; but don’t be discouraged. The best time tracking app isn’t necessarily the most expensive. In fact, many of the most popular time tracking apps are designed to meet the needs of teams, not individuals. As such, they’re likely to include features you simply don’t need, won’t use, and shouldn’t have to pay for.
Look for an app that provides all the functionality you need, but no expensive extras. Sign up for free trials, and make sure you thoroughly understand what’s included in your monthly fee before you make the investment.
Time tracking apps generally fall into one of two categories: timesheets/calendar-based tools and timer-based tools. While either approach is better than none, there are some very compelling reasons to choose a real-time tool.
First, timer-based apps are more efficient to use. They allow you to enter your project details once, then simply start and stop times as you go about your work.
Second, timer-based systems yield more accurate data. Logging time as you work is infinitely easier to remember than logging your hours at the end of the day (or week). By eliminating the potential for human error, you’re ensuring that you’ll get paid for every minute of your hard work.
Third, up-to-the-minute time tracking data allows you to better serve your clients. By tracking your hours in real time, you’re able to instantly answer questions about budget and status, which builds customer trust and loyalty.
A time tracking app should save you time, not waste it. As you consider various options, pay close attention to how long it takes you to: create projects, add clients, start and stop timers, and edit entries. Look closely at each app’s reporting capabilities. How easy is it to produce reports based on specified criteria? Does the app box you into a cumbersome, pre-defined invoicing model or will it work seamlessly with your existing invoicing tool? Choose a tool that is robust enough to meet your needs, but simple and intuitive enough to make running your business easier, not more complicated.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have no material connection with any time tracking tools and have not received any compensation for sharing this content.
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