10 Reasons Why Timetracking is Crucial for Freelancers

Those in traditional jobs often “clock-watch” so they know when their day is done. That doesn’t seem to happen when you are a freelancer because you are usually either so busy you don’t know where the day went or you are making yourself busy with multiple distractions that you still don’t know where the day went.

For freelancers, the workday seems to melt away without actually knowing how all the time was spent. If you are not using that time to make money, you are essentially wasting time and money.

Beyond just trying to figure out how you used your time, here are 10 more reasons why you should track your freelance workday that can result in greater productivity, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

1. Accurate billable time

You don’t want to shortchange the time you spent on a freelance project nor do you want to overcharge your clients. If anyone questions the time you spent on which tasks, you have an accurate, detailed accounting of your billable time.

2. Minimize — or eliminate — multitasking

Despite what many may think about the value of multitasking, it actually leads to getting less done. Instead, it’s more effective to put all your focus on one project at a time rather than splitting it across two or more projects. You are more likely to produce higher quality work plus maximize your time to fit in more work than ever before. Tracking time will help you see the reason why multitasking isn’t the best strategy.

3. Greater accountability

While you may not think you spent too much time on Facebook or Instagram, catching up while you are brainstorming the next article or phase of a project’s development, a time tracking tool will give you the evidence you need to see about where your time is really going.

Seeing how each minute is spent can make you more accountable to staying on task and using the majority of your time for productive, money-generating work.

4. Professional image

Despite gaining in popularity, freelancers may still be viewed by some as amateurs, running a “small time” operation from their living room. However, by keeping accurate records and sharing precise details of how project time was spent, your clients will be impressed and will increase the trust they place in you as a professional partner.

5. Better estimates

Looking at the time you spent on previous projects can help you deliver better estimates of the cost and time on future projects with existing or new clients. This improves expectations levels while reducing any areas for conflict if you realize later on you underbid the project or promised too much.

6. Client analysis

There are some clients that may not be the best for your time and effort, but you will only know this — accurately — if you track the amount of time you put into each account and assess what profit you get from the relationship. If you see you are spending more time than what the job is worth, you can drop that client and leave the door open for one that is a much better fit in terms of return on time investment.

7. Task delegation

Before dropping those clients, however, see if you might be able to outsource that work to someone new to the field of freelancing who can get the work done for you at a lower rate so you can focus on those clients where you can get more value for the time/money relationship.

If there are tasks in your business that you are not as good at and are taking you away from making more money, see if you can delegate those to others that specialize in those areas. Assessing the time you earn back from delegating that you can put toward making more money can provide you with key insights.

8. Improved financial decisions

Studying the time you put into your business can show you if the freelance life is worth it for you or if there are ways you can make improvements to it so you can make more money while working less, or at the very least, being able to make a living with what you are doing now.

Assessing time and money for the designated time you are using, can give you a bigger financial picture of how you are doing, which often goes unchecked because of the day-to-day activities that distract you from taking a closer look at your processes.

9. Windows of productivity

Looking at how you spend your time and the times of day where you are the most productive can help you to reframe your workday around those periods.

For example, if you see that you were able to make more money during the early hours of the morning or late at night compared to other periods where you had the most distractions, then you can schedule your day around those habits and events.

It’s okay to have productive and unproductive periods in the day, so time tracking what those are simply will lead to a happier freelancer.

10. Progress, motivation, and goal setting

Even though you love freelancing, there may be times where you may feel like a hamster on a wheel. However, by accounting for your time and getting a visual picture of how productive you have been, you can increase the likelihood of staying motivated.

Having time tracking ability also gives you a set of quantitative data to work with to set new goals for each quarter or year you are in the freelance business — so you can continue to see progress and maintain that motivation momentum.

In every way, it makes dollars and “sense” for freelancers to invest in time tracking.