Home – New Forums Get productive Tracking my time

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 27 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #966468
    Kosta_Kondratenko
    Member
    • Total posts: 108
    Up
    0
    ::

    Let’s say I have a couple of different projects (or different businesses) that I’m involved in and because I am an entrepreneur no one tells me what to do, this is good and bad.

    The biggest challenge I come against is finding out which of my actions/tasks produce the best results in financial terms. For example I might work 8 hours on one business and make only $80 or I may work on another business for only 2 hours and get a return at the end of the month of $50,000.

    The question I have is if there is some simple software where I will be able to name different task categories and simply start a timer when I work on them, and be able to track them.

    Of course I understand I can simply do this by recording the time I start and the time I end the challenge I have with this is that my mind goes from one project to another and sometimes I may get an urgent call where I will have to start working on another entirely different thing immediately.

    Being able to Output to Excel would also be very useful.

    I’m not sure if this is common software however any help would be appreciated (kind of like doing a time sheet but for myself to see if my boss which is me is ripping me off!).

    Regards
    PS. Ask me if you’re not sure about anything I’ve said.

    #1018506
    JohnSheppard
    Member
    • Total posts: 940
    Up
    0
    ::

    I am not aware of any common software to do what you want. ODesk have software that does that however it is specifically for their site last I checked. (They’re an outsourcing/contracting site)

    http://www.download.com is what i find is the best place to look for those kinds of simple small applications.

    I know you didn’t ask, but here is my opinion: why complicate your life with such software….your accountant should be able to tell you whats making money and what isn’t. Additionally your business plans and budgets would already take care of what you are wanting to achieve.

    Also, one other observation, those who don’t have to do what they are told, generally don’t get told.

    #1018507
    Chris Bates
    Member
    • Total posts: 966
    Up
    0
    ::

    Billings would do what you want, but I believe it’s Mac only!

    #1018508
    MatthewKeath
    Member
    • Total posts: 3,184
    Up
    0
    ::

    I have been using something called harvest (http://www.getharvest.com/). It’s quite powerful. It also plugs into Basecamp (http://www.basecamp.com).

    It works for me.

    #1018509
    Chris Bates
    Member
    • Total posts: 966
    #1018510
    MatthewKeath
    Member
    • Total posts: 3,184
    Up
    0
    ::
    MatthewKeath, post: 21470 wrote:
    I have been using something called harvest (http://www.getharvest.com/). It’s quite powerful. It also plugs into Basecamp (http://www.basecamp.com).

    It works for me.

    Woops! Thanks Chris

    #1018511
    bradzo
    Member
    • Total posts: 335
    Up
    0
    ::

    kostaKondra! Hi!

    Sounds like you need something like a key-stroke logger (I’m assuming a lot of your work is keyboard-based?)

    That’s a lot of my work too – switch from my IDE to the website to check my code worked, then back to the Word documentation to document what I just did etc etc and then maybe to Firefix to Google for the correct way to call an API.

    All of those things need to be tracked and charged for, but stop and think for a moment… is there a better way?

    In another post here, I spoke of a guy called Paul Lemberg – he charges a $100,000 retainer for his business services. I guessing he isn’t worried about each minute of every day where he spends his time.

    There are a number of pricing strategies, according to Paul Lemberg. Here are a few: (from worst to best)

    1. Price to pay bills – this is the breakeven strategy.
    2. Price to time – service businesses – hourly, daily, whatever.
    3. Retainer – but not committed to a set number of hours per billing period.
    4. Price to cost plus – a percentage markup. Construction trade and interior decorators use this.
    5. Price to package or price to product – puts a value on your total offer (and that is a whole new ball game!) but basically, this pricing strategy is all based on “air” – things you can charge for, that have perceived value, but don’t necessarily cost you anything to deliver.
    6. Pricing to perception – again, this is based on “air”.

    Google Paul and check out his website – there is a lot of good stuff there.

    As an aside, I have spoken to a couple of my current customers, and they are happy with the “retainer” type of payment – they know, for a set amount per billing period, what they are are going to pay. I know, for that billing period, what I am going to earn.

    Since I use *all* my available time (even now, at 10:10pm on a Saturday evening, even responding to this post) sitting here in front of my computer, it is a no-brainer for me to do some other work for them, regardless of the time I spend. I’ve probably said that wrongly – it means that I’m here anyway, at anytime I feel like working, and I know that they’ve paid me a certain amount per billing period (in advance I might add) so I have no qualms about how many hours or minutes I spend on their requirements.

    For me, that’s a god-send – I know I am going to be paid in this billing cycle, and I dont have to worry about the time I’ve spent, and also don’t have to worry about getting it all to work before I get paid. Its a whole lot easier for me – your mileage may vary.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers
    Brad

    #1018512
    [Former] FS Concierge
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,464
    Up
    0
    ::

    Hi KostaKondra,

    If you’re on a Mac, have a play with http://www.ttpsoftware.com/Products/tasktime.html

    I’ve been using it for a month or so – the time tracking component is good and easy, and yes, exports to Excel.

    If you are looking for a program that can convert timesheets into invoices it can also do that, but the layout of them is all wrong (IMO), so I haven’t investigated that function too much, apart from to determine that I can’t customise the invoices to be set up the way I want them.

    Service and support from the developers has been good and very fast too.

    Good luck,
    Jayne

    #1018513
    Adam Randall
    Member
    • Total posts: 382
    Up
    0
    ::

    I think that once you start wanting to cross reference time with how much you make on projects/tasks/items then its time to get the wallet out.

    Whatever you choose, you need to be able to cross reference what you have been doing during the day to an amount.

    Our system which is only for IT service providers can turn an opportunity into a sales order and then into an invoice/ and or a service ticket (using one click “create sales order”) etc.

    Each staff member has an hourly rate, each project has a profit margin that is automatically calculated of the labour cost to the company and the cost price of the products sold.

    For entrepreneur type activities such as a game of golf etc, that game of golf may gain you a big project, in our system you would create an opportunity where there would be an activity (the golf game) and the time assigned to that activity.

    whether you win or lose the opportunity, the effort is recorded against it. From there you can run reports which tell you how successfull your sales efforts are etc.

    You can then work out how many hours it took of your time to make a certain profit.

    I have all our common services set up so that the costs and income attributed to that service are put against the same account. That way I can run reports on which are my most profitable activities. This is now all fully automated.

    It is important that when you use a system like this that you do actually fill out your time sheets.

    #1018514
    Kosta_Kondratenko
    Member
    • Total posts: 108
    Up
    0
    ::

    Thanks for all the help guys, I really appreciate it (really). I actually thought there was only one response and this is not a top priority and then I looked and I got a lot of replies.

    So… let’s go.

    1) I’m not using a Mac… like the other 96% of people on Earth. (I have nothing against Macs btw, just stating a fact, Mac people tend to get offended when you state these facts whatever).

    Adam Randall: I’m not taking my wallet out. Maybe later when I’m doing a billion dollars and I can justify software but here’s my belief business is about people not the “next software breakthrough”. It’s pretty simple what I want, a few projects, a timer that I can start and stop and it logs what time I work. Open source is a great thing and for little apps like that there is always something you can get for free or for a small price or all ready hacked and delivered to your door. Sorry, it’s a fact of life I don’t remember last time I paid for a piece of software. Please feel free to report me my company name is Kosta’s Importing and my direct line is 0415932797. This is the problem I’ve had with every software vendor company, you ask them for roller skates and they want to sell you a time machine… and I don’t play golf, maybe when I put on a few pounds and lose my stamina I’ll start. Wow, I really burnt you. Sorry I’m sure you do great work, I’m just not looking for a full software solution at the moment and can’t justify it financially on an ROI basis.

    FS Concierge: no mac, I’m on Win xp

    Bradzo: keystroke logger isn’t going to help, I make calls, file stuff, brainstorm, read up reports all kinds of things.

    Everyone who reccomended me products: I will check them out (Basecamp/Get Harvest). Thanks guys you make the internet what it is.

    Regards

    #1018515
    bradzo
    Member
    • Total posts: 335
    Up
    0
    ::

    Kosta

    No worries re the keylogger thing – I find one useful because I spend so long at the keyboard.

    But read the rest of my post – have a think about your pricing model, and how you add value to your customers. What is your USP, or as Leela likes to put it, your UVP? (USP = Unique Selling Proposition, UVP = Unique Value Proposition)

    I’ve been thinking about this hard and long.

    Maybe a retainer would help you as well?
    http://aplawrence.com/foo-self-employed/retainers.html

    And please do check out Paul Lemberg as I mentioned.

    If you do these things, you won’t even need any software to help you track your time – after all, if you can generate $50,000 by the end of the month, you absolutely do not need to account for every single minute of your time.

    Give it a go, and let us know how you got on.

    Cheers
    Brad

    #1018516
    Adam Randall
    Member
    • Total posts: 382
    Up
    0
    ::
    KostaKondra, post: 21749 wrote:
    Thanks for all the help guys, I really appreciate it (really). I actually thought there was only one response and this is not a top priority and then I looked and I got a lot of replies.

    So… let’s go.

    1) I’m not using a Mac… like the other 96% of people on Earth. (I have nothing against Macs btw, just stating a fact, Mac people tend to get offended when you state these facts whatever).

    Adam Randall: I’m not taking my wallet out. Maybe later when I’m doing a billion dollars and I can justify software but here’s my belief business is about people not the “next software breakthrough”. It’s pretty simple what I want, a few projects, a timer that I can start and stop and it logs what time I work. Open source is a great thing and for little apps like that there is always something you can get for free or for a small price or all ready hacked and delivered to your door. Sorry, it’s a fact of life I don’t remember last time I paid for a piece of software. Please feel free to report me my company name is Kosta’s Importing and my direct line is 0415932797. This is the problem I’ve had with every software vendor company, you ask them for roller skates and they want to sell you a time machine… and I don’t play golf, maybe when I put on a few pounds and lose my stamina I’ll start. Wow, I really burnt you. Sorry I’m sure you do great work, I’m just not looking for a full software solution at the moment and can’t justify it financially on an ROI basis.

    FS Concierge: no mac, I’m on Win xp

    Bradzo: keystroke logger isn’t going to help, I make calls, file stuff, brainstorm, read up reports all kinds of things.

    Everyone who reccomended me products: I will check them out (Basecamp/Get Harvest). Thanks guys you make the internet what it is.

    Regards

    I dont sell the software, I was trying to help you…….A mistake I will not make twice.

    You are right about one thing though, you definitely need some help.

    Sometimes not paying for software costs you, and if you dont pay for legitimate software that you should then you are a common thief.

    #1018517
    Devan
    Member
    • Total posts: 57
    Up
    0
    ::

    Take a look at SlimTimer – http://www.slimtimer.com. It is a web based time tracking tool that allows you to track and report on many projects, on any machine. Best thing is that it is completely free.

    Harvest is also good, as another poster mentioned above. It is a paid for product. I have used both in my business with good effect.

    I have also heard good things about Freckle, but that is a paid product as well.

    Best of luck!

    Devan

    #1018518
    Kosta_Kondratenko
    Member
    • Total posts: 108
    Up
    0
    ::

    Devan you are a god. Thanks. I’ll check it out.

    #1018519
    soliddata
    Member
    • Total posts: 392
    Up
    0
    ::

    I was using http://www.timexchange.net/ to track time on multiple projects for multiple customers, and it produces great reports when you need them. I am not sure if it is still free (I don’t need to use it now).

    I also now have my CRM running on Zoho (http://crm.zoho.com/crm/) which is excellent – and I am pretty sure I saw a task-timer in there somewhere.

    Kevin

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 27 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.