Tools to help track your time as a community freelancer without going insane
There are a number of time tracking tools available to help you keep an eye on the hours you’re working when freelancing. The top three we hear recommended most to us are Harvest, TimelyApp and Toggl. While each of these apps have different features, they all operate under the premise of keeping track of the hours you’re working and allowing you to categorize the work you complete.
Depending on the specific job you’re working on you will find that the way you track your time can vary drastically. For example, creating blogs, newsletters or graphics is fairly simple to track and account for, however, it gets a bit tricky with social media and community management.
It’s tedious, and hardly a good use of time, to be extremely granular when tracking time in the community space. For instance, posting a tweet could take 15 seconds but the research and context behind it involve 40 minutes of work. If you tracked every action you did, you’d end up with pages and pages of items. That said, having awareness regarding how long you’re spending on specific tasks and communicating that to your customers builds transparency and accountability. Time is a unit of value that is also universal.
Carrie Jones, one of our Peep at CloudPeeps, was kind enough to put together a few samples of how she tracks her time in TimelyApp:
Each project has its own project details page. You set the hourly rate, client name, and you can even set a time budget for the week or a money budget. It will alert you if you go over.
You can set the clock timer to track your time spent, or you have the option to estimate your time. Estimating time comes in handy when doing smaller bits of work like moderating community posts.
You can go into each project and see what you’ve spent time on and what each thing is paying you. This is great if you want to see what types of content are taking the most time for you. I’ve discovered that Instagram posts take me anywhere from 10-20 minutes to create, while I can schedule Facebook posts and tweets within one minute or less.
Then you’ll need to report this work. To do so, narrow down your projects page to ONLY show the project at hand (great for delineating between individual projects for customers), then scroll to the bottom. From there, you can export a timesheet once per week, month, etc. Super simple.
In the coming months, we will be rolling out ways to better communicate and cultivate awareness of time worked into the platform.
If you have any other suggestions of great time trackers or time tools, leave a comment below!
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