There are many tools available for keeping track of time. Why? Because it’s the easiest, quickest method for keeping on top of the time you’re spending on individual tasks or entire projects. It can help ascertain if you should be outsourcing some of the jobs that are taking up to much of your valuable time, without spending that valuable time watching the clock yourself.
Here’s a guest post from Kelly Drill, marketing manager for Dolphin Micro on her reasons for using a time tracker tool:
Do you bill your clients by the hour? If so, you’re well aware that having accurate, detailed time records is critical to the success of your VA business. Sure, low-tech time tracking methods – spreadsheets, slips of paper and online timesheets – get the job done. But an app that tracks your time as you work can provide more accurate data while making it faster and easier to keep tabs on your hours. Here are three great reasons to ditch your time tracking spreadsheet for good and invest in a timer-based app.
#1: You’ll get better data.
Because they rely on you to reconstruct your time expenditures from memory, timesheets are inherently error-prone. Unless you can count on a distraction-free workday and perfect recall, you’re likely to under-report time spent, for instance, on email correspondence, phone calls and Skype. With a timer-based app, you can track your time down to the minute, which means getting paid for every bit of your hard work.
#2: You’ll boost your efficiency.
When it comes to efficiency, timer-based apps have timesheets beat hands down. The fact that timesheets require extra time to complete is the very reason so many solopreneurs are resistant to tracking their time in the first place. If you haven’t test-driven a good time tracking app, you may be surprised how quickly and easily you can log your time as you go.
Most timer-based apps allow you to create a single entry for each project you’re working on at any given time. When you start work in the morning, you start the appropriate timer. As you switch between projects, you simply choose what you’re working on next, and start that timer. When you’re finished for the day, stop your final timer and close up shop without spending any extra time jotting down what you’ve worked on. Once you start to see the benefits of real-time tracking, hitting “go” on a timer when you start and stop projects will become second nature.
#3: You’ll better serve your clients.
Real-time billable hours data also enables you to provide your clients with fast, accurate answers to financial questions and concerns as they arise. Where, specifically, are your hours going? How close are you to meeting your client’s weekly or monthly spend? And do you need to make any adjustments in order to ensure that you remain within budget? When you have access to real-time data, you can identify budget problems before they become unexpected expenses for your clients.
Up-to-the-minute data also allows you to efficiently generate the detailed invoices your clients need when they need them. Accurate, easy-to-understand invoices create to client trust and loyalty, which will contribute to the long-term success of your business.
An Internet search for “time tracking app” will reveal no shortage of options. The right tool for you is one that is intuitive, affordable and simple to use. Test drive a few – most offer free trials – until you find the perfect fit. Regardless of the app you choose, you’ll find that tracking your hours in real time will help you to streamline and grow your VA business.