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9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time

9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition:

What’s your favorite tool for tracking employee/contractor time and why? (If it is your own tool, please make that clear in your answer.)

1. eBillity

David Ehrenberg

    We use eBillity (www.ebillity.com) as an app (it can also be used as “standalone” software). We love it because of its great features and ease of use. It syncs seamlessly with QuickBooks (www.quickbooks.intuit.com), both QB Premier and QB Enterprise. You can restrict which rates/customers your invited vendors can see. Their great reports can be exported to Excel or as a PDF, and the weekly time entry tool shows you the entire week entered.

    David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

    2. FreshBooks

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    Aaron Schwartz

      FreshBooks (www.freshbooks.com) makes it very simple to track contractor hours. The company is about 10 years old, and it’s worked out all the kinks to create a simple user interface. Two features make it a must-have. First, contractors can bill directly from FreshBooks, which gives me comfort that there wasn’t an error during manual entry. Second, the product is available across most platforms, which facilitates tracking.

      Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

      3. iDoneThis

      Nicolas Gremion

        iDoneThis (idonethis.com) helps our team plan projects, see exactly who’s doing what and record our progress as a team. This way, we can all monitor what’s going on, rather than just “the boss” knowing, which helps efficiency and teamwork.

        Nicolas Gremion, Foboko.com

        4. Trust

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        Derek Flanzraich

          We have a totally flexible schedule and no vacation policy at Greatist because we completely trust each other to get our work done. We work extraordinarily hard, but we also recognize the balance of going to the gym and taking breaks. We know that getting enough sleep makes us better at our work!

          Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

          5. JIRA

          Robert Strazzarino

            We are a computer software company, and I’m only recommending this to other small- to medium-sized software companies. We manage all of our software tasks in JIRA (www.atlassian.com/software/jira/overview), and the “Tempo” plugin enables time reporting for all of our software development tasks. I have a 10-user pack, so all of my contractors use the system for both their task lists and time tracking. It’s hosted, inexpensive and customizable.

            Robert Strazzarino, College Scheduler LLC

            6. Productivity

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            patrick curtis

              I like to measure productivity, not time. I don’t want to force my contractors to give me screen captures, however, I do expect regular updates. If they aren’t working at the pace I expect, I will communicate that up front, instead of getting upset.

              Patrick Curtis, WallStreetOasis.com

              7. ClientSpot

              Andrew Angus

                ClientSpot (www.myclientspot.com) has been a great tool for solving this problem. It does everything we need for a very reasonable price. The key for us was tracking time on projects and doing it cost-effectively, and this did it!

                Andrew Angus, Switch Video

                8. oDesk

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                Benji Rabhan

                  oDesk is an oldie, but a goody (www.odesk.com). We use this for our entire team, or times when we have to hire out for special projects. It’s known for a reason, and well worth the investment.

                  Benji Rabhan, MorrisCore

                  9. TimeFox

                  Zach Cutler

                    My favorite tool for tracking employee/contractor time is TimeFox (www.functionfox.com/products.aspx): a high-quality project management software that uses actions and deadlines as a way to overview and track your employees’ assignments and due dates.

                    Zach Cutler, Cutler Group

                    More by this author

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                    1 How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success 2 How to Make a Career Change at 40 and Stop Feeling Stagnant at Work 3 Going Back to School at 40 Helps Create a New Golden Age: Here’s How 4 How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career 5 Signs You Need a Career Change (And How to Change for Success)

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                    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                    How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

                    How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

                    Does it ever feel like the things you want to accomplish always end up on the back burner? If the answer to that question is “yes,” you’re not alone. Only about 33% of people consistently work toward their goals. In some cases, their goals may seem too lofty to accomplish, or else they aren’t sure how to make a plan for them.

                    If you don’t come up with concrete steps to take toward your goals, they’ll remain dreams. There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer, but being able to turn your dreams into goals you can realize will help you lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

                    Luckily, you can realize almost any dream when you harness the right goal-setting methods.

                    In this article, I’ll show you how to achieve goals and get closer you success.

                    1. Break your dreams down into specific and measurable steps

                    We couldn’t talk about goal-setting without mentioning SMART goals.

                    SMART goals are specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related.

                    Specific and measurable steps are so important because if we don’t know what our target it, how can we ever hit it?

                    Take all those beautiful dreams you have for yourself and make them into things you can actually do. If you want to be an entrepreneur, for example, a step toward realizing your dream might be researching what you’ll need to start your business.

                    Find out more tips about utilizing SMART goals here:

                    How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

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                    2. Have at least one clearly defined goal for every interest and role in your life

                    It’s so easy to become complacent or stagnate. We often think that our careers are the only places where we need to set goals, but we aren’t only what we do.

                    To make the most of your life, take the approach that you’re always learning and growing in everything you do. Anything worth doing is worth doing well after all.

                    Set goals whether you’re sponsoring an activity for your child, taking up guitar lessons or trying to prove your worth at work.

                    You’ll notice that this approach forces you to constantly develop new skills. It can also be fulfilling to put more focus and value into all areas of your life— not just the ones related to our careers.

                    3. Align your goals with your life’s mission, purpose and passion

                    Take the opportunity to do some soul-searching. What is it that you want to do with this precious life of yours?

                    Anything that conflicts with your life’s purpose is bound to cause discontent. Staying in a bad relationship, doing a job that goes against your values, or maintaining the status quo just because it’s comfortable are not options for you.

                    Thinking about your goals in this way can help you eliminate things in your life that don’t serve you. This frees up mental space that you can use to do the things you care about the most.

                    Many of us struggle to find the time to work on our goals, but this strategy enables you to make more time.

                    4. Create goals that ignite your spirit and inspire you to take action

                    If you can’t be fired up about your goals from the start, they might not be good goals for you.

                    The road to success is often tough. You’re going to have times when you might feel tired or discouraged.

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                    You need to feel inspired enough that you’ll be able to overcome obstacles as you encounter them.

                    If what you’re doing motivates you to be the greatest version of yourself, you’ll be much more resilient.

                    5. Write down all your goals in specific, measurable detail

                    This is your road map for what success will look like. The more you define what you want the finished product to be, the greater the chance that you’ll reach that vision.

                    When you write down your goals, you’re creating a document that you can revisit to make sure you’re on track.

                    When you’re in the middle of trying to achieve a big goal, it can be hard to see what’s working for you. The things you write in this step will help you stay on-message as you take your goals out of your mind and into the real world.

                    Don’t just write down your goals and stash them away in a folder somewhere. Take the extra step to put them somewhere where you’ll see them.[1]

                    If you have too many goals to post on your desk, write a summary or choose one or two steps to work on for the day. Just seeing them will keep them in the front of your mind.

                    6. Commit to hitting each of your targets without exception

                    You wouldn’t have created the target if you didn’t think it was necessary. Hold yourself accountable for taking the steps to succeed.

                    You can always adapt your strategy or break your targets into smaller steps if you find that they aren’t attainable as you originally wrote them.

                    Hitting even the smallest target is cause for a celebration. It’s a step in the positive direction. Your success will make you crave more success.

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                    We often make excuses when we get tired or overwhelmed. Take away the option to make excuses. You will only be satisfied with the best effort from yourself.

                    7. Share your goals with others to motivate each other

                    There’s something so powerful about people sharing their goals and dreams with one another. Doing so gives voice to some part of us that could remain hidden (and therefore never be accomplished).

                    When other people know about your goals, they can cheer you on and hold you accountable. When people share their vision with you, you can do the same for them.

                    This strategy is particularly beneficial when you’re trying to develop healthy habits. Post about your workout on social media, or do a healthy eating challenge with your best friend. You’ll be less likely to slack when temptation arises, and you’ll probably encourage someone else to reach for their goals too.

                    8. Set a series of daily, weekly and long-term goals, complete with starting times and deadlines

                    Many goals never reach realization simply because the goal-setter doesn’t check their progress. People tend to forget what they set out to do, or their goal gets crowded out by other obligations.

                    Forcing yourself to revisit your goals at regular intervals breaks them into smaller steps and it reminds you to think about them.

                    Giving yourself regular deadlines for smaller tasks related to your goals also helps you reflect on your strategy. You’ll figure out what works for you, whether your timeline is realistic, and whether or not you need additional help to stay on track.

                    In addition, celebrating small wins helps you stay motivated. Here’s how:

                    How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

                    9. Take 10 minutes every day to imagine how great it will feel to achieve your goals

                    Visualization is such a powerful tool. Some of the most successful athletes, celebrities and business people take time each day to think about how success looks and feels for them.[2] Imagining that feeling of satisfaction can be a great motivator.

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                    When you do meet your goals, take some time to be grateful. Thank yourself for showing up and doing the work. Be grateful when the stars align properly to help you advance to the next step.

                    It’s not just getting to the destination of your goals that matters. How you take the journey is important too.

                    10. Take an action step toward reaching your goals every day

                    Your goals can easily get buried in the hustle and the bustle. Even the smallest step in the right direction is still moving you forward.

                    Keep chipping away at the work every day and before long, you’ll start to see those dreams come to life.

                    Maybe you didn’t start your business today but you designed the logo that’s going to go on your website and business cards. Doing that task well is going to help you so much in the long run.

                    Concrete actions day by day draw your dreams out of obscurity and into the realm of possibility.

                    The Bottom Line

                    Dreams can inspire and overwhelm us. By turning our dreams into goals that we can work toward, we increase our chances of success. Things that once seemed impossible are suddenly within reach.

                    It’s time to start turning your dreams into goals and your goals into realities. Change begins today.

                    More Resources About Setting & Achieving Goals

                    Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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