The bad news is time flies, the good news is you're the pilot
Time tracking is a must for any freelancer or business that works with clients and bills by the hour. It’s a great tool for creating timesheets for your clients as well as tracking productivity in your own business.
Why I Track My Time
When I send out invoices I always include a detailed report of exactly what tasks I worked on and how long it took. Using a time tracker ensures that I can bill my clients accurately for the time they are paying for.
This not only provides proof of the work I have completed but builds trust between myself and the new client(s). It is also a good way for them to ascertain where they might want me to redirect my focus in the future as their business grows or changes.
What I Love About Clockify
I started off using Toggl, another free time tracking app. I liked its functionality although there were things I found cumbersome, like having to send the report in a separate email because my invoices are sent directly from my invoicing software which cannot add attachments.
I decided to go on the hunt for some new time-tracking software. Enter Clockify! Within minutes of creating a free account, I fell in LOVE. There were so many great features I didn’t know I needed that would make my life easier. Here are just 5 I couldn’t live without.
#1 Shareable Report Links
Like Toggl, Clockify allows you to download PDF or Excel reports, however, a bonus is you can generate a link to the report so your clients can access the data in real-time even if they don’t have an account! You are also able to control how the information is viewed:
Your client receives a ‘read only’ view of the data which they can download as a PDF or Excel file.
You can lock the date range so that your client can only see the data for the specific month, week or day.
All links you have generated get saved in your account so you can view or reshare them at a later date.
#2 Set Your Project Rates
The hourly and retainer rates for my business can vary depending on what task I am carrying out or the package a client has chosen. When it came to invoicing it was such a pain for me to have to work out what I was charging.
Clockify allows you to set up different rates for different projects or tasks for each of your clients.
They say time is money, so once you set your rates you can see exactly how profitable your time has been.
#3 Track Retainer Times
When you have retainer clients keeping track of how much time they have left for the month can become difficult especially if you have several clients.
I notify my clients when they have used 85% of their retainer. They can then decide if they want to use additional time or they can choose to prioritise what I complete with the time left.
What I love about clockify is at the click of a button you can see exactly how much time your client(s) have left or how much they have exceeded on their retainer, rather than having to remember to create a report to check.
#4 Improves Productivity
One thing about time is, it can get sucked away without you even realising it. Clockify is a brilliant way to take stock of how much time you spend on both billable and unbillable tasks.
You can label your time entries ‘billable’ for tasks you are getting paid for or ‘non-billable’ for the admin tasks you are completing that you do not bill for.
I used to think that multitasking was productive but oftentimes it's actually quite the opposite. Because this software only allows you to track one activity at a time, you have no choice but to stay focused on that one task.
At the end of the day, month or year you can run a report to analyse exactly how you are spending your time and recognise your personal time suckers.
Clockify's reports will help you answer the questions:
Am I spending too much time on emails?
What sort of work takes up most of my time?
How much time will a new project take, based on past data?
#5 Tags Help With Organising Data
If you're self-employed and work from home some of your costs are considered an ‘allowable expense’ based on the number of hours you work from home.
While tracking your time you can add tags to your time entries so that you can search and report on those specific things.
For instance, when I completed my self-assessment in January, I was unable to claim on the work from home expense’ because I had not kept track of how many hours I worked from home and how many were worked from the client's office.
Since utilising clockify I have created a tag called ‘WFH’. Anytime I am completing work from home for my clients or myself I add the tag.
When April arrives I will be able to calculate how much time was spent at home and in client offices by simply running a report on all activity with that tag. Phew! what a time hack.
These 5 features alone have my business in tip-top order when it comes to utilising my time and they are all part of the FREE account. There are so many more helpful features.
When my business grows I can't wait to unlock the paid features.
Do you use a time tracker? Let me know in the comments if there is anything out there that can rival clockify. I'd love to check it out.