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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 July 17, 2019

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    What happens in our heads when we set goals?

    Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

    Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

    According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

    Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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    Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

    Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

    The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

    Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

    So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

    Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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    One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

    Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

    Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

    The Neurology of Ownership

    Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

    In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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    But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

    This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

    Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

    The Upshot for Goal-Setters

    So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

    On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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    It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

    On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

    But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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    Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

    Reference

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