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5 Simple Time Tracking and Invoicing Tips for Freelancers

5 Simple Time Tracking and Invoicing Tips for Freelancers

Time is money and wasted time is nothing but loss of money. Similarly, managing time is one of the most difficult tasks for freelancers. So when you are working on something you love, time will fly by before you realize and your working hours are over. But the client’s budget does not goes hand in hand with all the time you have spent, putting you in a sticky situation.

Following is a list of proficient time-tracking tools you can use to keep track of time constraints, projects and billable hours. These tools help one to manage their time in a better way and let you know how much time you have spent on different projects. By keeping track of time, you will not only maximize profit but also save time for other activities.

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Invoiceberry

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    InvoiceBerry is an online service which helps you to send, create and manage invoices online without the need to download any software. Once signed up, the user will receive a company specific login page where they can create an invoice within seconds. InvoiceBerry allows you to email, post or download invoices directly from your account. You need not print and post invoices any more. Architects, Freelancers, web designers, journalists, musicians, and small to medium sized business owners and producers use invoiceberry. It offers a 100% free plan for businesses which have up to 3 clients. If you have more clients then a monthly fee is charged. As financial information and invoices needs to be handled with care all company logins and accounts have 256-bit AES SSL encryption.

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    Cashboard

    Cashboard is an invoicing software app that handles employee estimates, timesheets, and online payments. It’s mainly catered to small businesses and freelancers. Cashboard is software that runs in the cloud and is always synchronized. Cashboard runs in all web browsers and on your iPad, iPhone or Android device. Data is always synchronized between clients that access the application. Cashboard ties up all business entities together, which helps you to stay on top of everything from identifying clients which have accepted proposals, to those who have not paid yet.

    InerTrak

    InerTrak is a time tracking tool for contract workers, designers, lawyers etc who work a number of projects on an hourly basis. It lets you keeps track of the time you’re spending on different projects throughout the day automatically; all you have to do is click the start and stop timers. One can create a list of clients that you are working for, along with an optional hourly rate. Each project is tagged to a particular client, which also has hourly rates that are used to calculate the value for time spent. The detailed view of each project shows the daily totals of money and time. Dates are added automatically when one starts the timer. You can mail InerTrak data to yourself in CSV format and view data locally by copying and pasting the data into Excel or any other program that understands CSV format.

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    Daylite

    Daylite is a centralized, contact management and comprehensive business application that is designed to help keep track of your employees and prep for new business, current business, and make sure you don’t miss anything related to clients – from birthdays to project management. Daylite is designed to be used on devices like iOS and Mac OS. The application is a combination of contact, task manager and calendar that integrates well with Apple Mail and many other applications. It’s more like a CRM.

    Dovico

    Dovico Timesheet is used to monitor invoices, timesheets and expenses for teams, departments, and employees based on costs, time, tasks and projects. It has two main functions: expense and time entry views used by employees, and administrative functions used by managers for creating project assignment to employees, reporting and monitoring. The software reminds employees to enter timesheets regularly. The software also provides productivity feedback on a continual basis to increase efficiency.

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    After all, we are here to earn money rather than writing just for fun. It’s better to make use of above mentioned tools to make sure you are having some benefit out.

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    Abhay Jeet Mishra

    Writer at Lifehack & Enterested.com

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    Last Updated on May 22, 2019

    The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

    The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

    If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

    Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

    Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

    What is the Pomodoro Technique?

    The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

    The process is simple:

    For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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    You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

    Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

    After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

    Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

    How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

    Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

    “You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

    If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

    Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

    The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

    You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

    Successful people who love it

    Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

    Before he started using the technique, he said,

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    “Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

    Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

    “It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

    Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

    Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

    “Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

    Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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    “Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

    Conclusion

    One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

    The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

    If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

    Reference

    [1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
    [2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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