When should you be time recording?

This month we have addressed:

This week is the last part of the time recording series and we are thinking about when you should be time recording.

When should you be Time Recording?

For those readers who work the 9-5 professionally you may already have time recording obligationsand if you don’t it can be hard to say that you SHOULD be incorporating time recording into your routine without first considering the advantages – and seeing if they apply to YOU! and whether they could work for your EMPLOYER (if it is not an industry standard it is unlikely that it should be). That said, it can be a powerful tool for you as an individual.

Time Recording can be of a great benefit for start-ups, solopreneurs, coaches and bloggers. Depending on the type of business you run or what you do should determine what activities you should record your time for. It is unrealistic to expect to be able to charge for everything that you do so think about what your chargeable (or billable) activities will be and at minimum record your time for these activities. You can also record your time for non-chargeable items if you are interested in carrying out a time management analysis.

So that leaves you with two options – only record your time for chargeable activities OR to record all your time (both chargeable and non-chargeable) activities and take the time to review at regular intervals.

Which shall YOU choose? What are YOUR chargeable activities?

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How to Record your Time

Last week we talked about Time Recording including what time recording is and the advantages of time recording. Today we want to talk about different methods of recording your time.

There are three main ways that you can record time:

  • with pen and paper;
  • using a spreadsheet;
  • using a time recording tool.

I use a combination of pen and paper and Toggl. I use Toggl to physically record the time but I use the pen and paper to actually keep a record of the time. I have weekly targets – and on paper I record the etimate/target time and actual time spent – but this data comes from my Toggl timesheets. In my mind it is the perfect combination of both.

I use a combination of Filofax inserts to record my time – namely my weekly and monthly review inserts.

An alternative to toggl is my minutes as it helps you identify where you are spending your time, and a further alternative to time recording is completing work in 30 minute Intervals with the 30/30 iphone app which helps you keep focused with short bursts of productivity and enables you to break down your todo list into bite sized chunks.

The variety is endless – find an option that works well for you.

What apps do you enjoy using?

What is Time Recording?

Last week for Time Management Tuesday I wrote about Toggl, an online time recording product that I use for my website and blog.

So what exactly is time recording or time tracking?

This post is intended as an introduction for those of you who don’t use it professionally, but may want to consider using time recording for your start-up, blog or side hustle.

A time recording system allows you to record start and finish times so that the time spent on an activity can be recorded.  This could be a project as a whole or could be broken down into specific tasks.

A lot of professionals use time recording in their day job whether it is for billing for their time or booking to a cost code for a large scale project practices are decided and dictated by industry practice.

Today I want to tell you that you too can use time recording at home as a time management practice. You can use it for:

  1. Your Blog;
  2. Your Business;
  3. Your Art and other Crafty projects;
  4. Your Services.

What ever you use it for – time recording can be a useful tool.

How much you use a process like
time recording will depend on what your business or product is – but
just because you don’t or can’t use it on a daily basis does not mean that it
does not have advantages.

Last year when I first started blogging at Printed Portal I wrote about how I did time recording – simply with a stopwatch and some Filofax inserts and I also used a number of personalised inserts to manage my time recording. I found that it helped plan my blogging time much more effectively. I originally got the idea from one of Helen Conway’s guest posts on Philofaxy last year. It is a great post – worth a read.

I won’t lie setting up a time recording system and getting into the mind set can be frustrated and use up your precious time. So it is important to keep it as simple as you can (but more on that next week).  For now I want to explain a bit more about the benefits of time recording.

Advantages of Time Recording

There are plenty of advantages for time recording – these are my favourites, and reasons why I believe that everyone should use an element of time recording:

  • By keeping a record you know EXACTLY how you have been spending your time.
  • By KNOWING how you spend your time, you can evaluate how you are spending your time and identify areas for improvement.
  • By EVALUATING how you spend your time you can change what you do to ensure the time that you do have is well spent.
  • The practice of Time Recording teaches you to FOCUS on one activity at a time, deters you from procrastinating and enables you to get more done.
  • Time Recording helps you PLAN current and future projects by enabling you to use the data to produce more accurate estimates and schedule and budget your time.
  • Time Recording provides information that can be used for BILLING your time, services or product.
  • Time Recording gives you an insight into the cost and VALUE of your work.

Do you record your time? If so, what do you think the best advantages are?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Time Recording with Toggl (Product Review)

Toggl is a time-recording tool.

What drew me to Toggl initially was its simplicity as a tool – combined
with functionality. It is available both online and as an app so I can
use it both when I am at my PC and when I am on the go – which for me is
perfect for time recording wherever I am.

The great thing about Toggl is that it can be put to use straightaway.
Just sign up and start tracking the time you spend on projects,
activities and actions. It is pretty flexible.

Just hit the start and stop button – simple.

You can also restart the clock on particular projects if you are for example wishing to bill on a per- hour basis.

For my purposes time recording is a tracking and cost estimate tool – I
do not bill directly for my time so I have not needed to upgrade to the
paid version of Toggl.

If you are looking to do bills and invoices – you
will need to upgrade to the PRO version. However it is a reasonable
price at £5/mo and you can try it for free in advance.