Time. It waits for no man (or woman). It’s of the essence. It’s on our side (or so say the Stones). Me: Time is weird. If you’re out and having a good time, four hours can feel like five minutes. If you’re in the dentist office having work done, five minutes feels more like an hour. Here are 5 reasons you should consider tracking your time. (I use TimeFox by FunctionFox.)
- It will enable you to know when you’ve worked enough. Everyone I know that has their own business has what I call “leisure guilt.” That’s because, in marketing, there is always something else you can do. More places to research, more media to pitch, more tweets to put out and blog posts to be written. More accounting and budgeting to do. It’s endless. You may have an “idea” of how many hours are enough, but unless you track your time, your subconscious will wreak havoc, dampening your enjoyment of a kid’s baseball game and guilting you out for daring to lounge in front of the television.
- It will cause you to shut off email alerts and get bigger things done, because there is no bigger pain in the butt than trying to track time when you’re flitting like a butterfly between email, Internet, client and personal work. You will naturally start to chunk out and drive straight through tasks, because frankly, it just makes tracking time a helluva lot easier. Bonus: you get more done faster this way.
- It can make you more confident about charging what you are worth for your services, because you’ll have the data to back up your (hopefully ridiculously high) fees. It also makes compensation conversations with clients whose accounts demand more than what they can or want to pay you, a little easier.
- It helps you justify your time, especially when nothing happens as a result. For example, part of what I do for clients is research, which sometimes is a euphemism for “spend two hours searching the Internet and come up with bupkus.” If you’re like me, you hate to charge for that because there’s nothing to show for it. Silly, yes. That’s why having evidence of time spent can make you feel a little better about putting out effort where there may or may not be a direct return.
- It’s a great historical record that you can refer back to when proposing new accounts. Having a tangible record of what certain things cost for a certain size client can empower you to confidently quote a fee that includes a handsome profit.
Can you think of other reasons? If so, hit the comments.