Remember the days of showing up to a conventional job and punching in or out for the day to log your hours?
What about now that you’re your own boss? Do you still need to be punching that clock?
While you’re probably now working from the comfort of your own home, or even your favorite park or coffee shop, you may still want to know how many hours you’re working and where that time is being spent.
What Is Time Tracking?
The time tracking we’re talking about today takes the traditional time clock to another level.
Today’s tools (1 of my favorites, in particular) let you break down your hours by client, project and more to create a detailed picture of exactly where your valuable time is going.
It’s so simple to keep track of your work time and use the information you collect in a bunch of cool ways, and today I’m showing you how.
Should You Be Tracking Your Time?
Let me save you a little time here.
This is obvious if you charge by the hour.
But even if you don’t, I believe we should ALL be tracking our work time.
It may feel like just an extra step, but if efficiency and greater control over your time and schedule are the goal, it is absolutely necessary.
Improving your efficiency requires a baseline.
You can’t take steps to save time or create your ideal work week if you don’t know where your time is going.
And once you start putting new strategies and systems in place, time tracking is a great evaluation tool to know if they’re creating the results you want.
How To Start Tracking Your Time
My absolute favorite time tracking tool is Toggl.
I’ve been using it since the beginning of my business (and I still use the free version, btw), and it has become a seamless part of my work routine.
Here are a few tips to help you get started and make it easy-peasy:
⭐ Once you set up your free Toggl account, bookmark it so it is easy to open up at the start of your workday.
When it’s in your bookmarks bar, you can also see if your timer is currently running, so it stays top of mind.
⭐ Track everything!
At least in the beginning, you want to know where every minute of your work day is going. I’m talking client work, checking your emails, working on your own marketing, discovery calls…all of it.
This will give you the most accurate picture possible. And when you have all the pieces in front of you, it’s much easier to put together the puzzle of your ideal day or week.
You don’t have to be super strict about it forever (although I still pretty much always have my Toggl running). The good news is that it is a super simple way to collect information whenever you feel you need it, and it may fit into your daily routine more easily than you think!
⭐ Be specific with your labeling.
Toggl allows you to break things down by client, project and description. For example, Client A, Podcast Support, Episode 24. The reason the labeling is so important is that you can then search by all of these fields in your reports.
Using Your Data
Yep, you can find out how much time you’re spending on different tasks each week, month or within whatever time frame you need.
Not only does this help you plan your tasks create a schedule that works for you and your clients, it also makes it easier to set your rates as you continue forward. Knowing how much time different tasks typically take you to complete is powerful knowledge when you’re putting together a quote for a potential new client.
I could go on all day about all the ways this one simple thing can support you, your sense of freedom, your clients and your growing business. Seriously, this is not the last post you’ll be seeing on this topic.
But what I really hope you take away from this is: Time Tracking is good for WAY more than charging by the hour. In an industry where time freedom is a major motivating factor, knowledge of where your time is going is powerful and puts you in a position to make the decisions that will get you where you want to be.
Click here to sign up for your free Toggl account and get started tracking your time right now!