As a designer or creative professional, time is your most valuable asset. But, sometimes, you need more time to go around. That’s where time tracking comes in. By accurately documenting and analyzing how you spend your time, you can identify areas for improvement and become more efficient and productive.
This guide will walk you through the basics of time tracking and how it can benefit designers and creatives like you. We’ll also show you how to track your time manually with a spreadsheet and introduce you to the market’s top three time-tracking software options. By the end, you’ll have all the tools you need to start maximizing your time and taking control of your schedule. So let’s get started!
What is Time Tracking?
Time tracking is the process of recording and documenting the amount of time spent on specific tasks or projects. This can be done manually, using tools like spreadsheets or pen and paper, or through specialized software.
Time tracking is often used by freelancers, small businesses, and organizations to bill clients for their time accurately and better understand how time is spent within the company. For designers and creatives, it’s a great way to ensure you’re using your time wisely and getting paid what you’re worth.
How Does Time Tracking Benefit Designers and Creatives?
As a designer or creative professional, time tracking can be particularly beneficial for a few reasons:
- Improved efficiency: Time tracking can help you identify and eliminate time-wasting activities and distractions. By tracking how much time you spend on each task, you can see where you may be struggling and make adjustments to improve your productivity. Take control of your time and become a more efficient and effective designer or creative professional.
- Accurate billing: Time tracking can help you accurately bill clients for your time. This is especially important for designers that need to ensure they are fairly compensated for their work.
- Better project management: Time tracking can help you better understand how long specific tasks or projects take, which can be helpful for planning and budgeting. It can also help you identify bottlenecks or areas where you may need additional resources.
How to Track Time Manually with a Spreadsheet
If you don’t want to use specialized software, you can track your time manually using a spreadsheet. Here’s how:
- Create a new spreadsheet and label the columns with the following headings: “Date,” “Task,” “Start Time,” “End Time,” and “Total Time.”
- Add a new row to the spreadsheet each day and fill in the “Date” and “Task” columns with the appropriate information.
- Record the start and end times in the corresponding columns as you start and stop work on a particular task.
- If you want to add up how long you spent on each lesson, you can use a formula like =END_TIME-START_TIME.
- Repeat this process for each job you work on throughout the day.
Top 3 Time Tracking Software for Designers
While manual tracking with a spreadsheet can be effective, many designers and creatives prefer to use specialized software to track their time. Here are our top three picks:
- Toggle: Toggl is a user-friendly time-tracking tool that can track the time of any project, client, or task. It offers a range of features, including automatic time tracking, customizable reports, and integrations with popular project management tools like Asana and Trello.
- Harvest: Like Toggl, Harvest is a time-tracking tool that allows you to track your time by project or task. Its features include invoicing, expense tracking, and integrations with popular tools like Google Calendar and Slack.
- Timely: Timely is a more advanced time-tracking tool that uses artificial intelligence to track your time automatically and suggest more accurate estimates for future projects. It’s got a heap of cool features like team scheduling and resource management.
Time tracking can be a valuable tool for designers and creatives, helping to improve efficiency, accurately bill clients, and better manage projects. While manual tracking with a spreadsheet can be effective, specialized software can offer a range of additional features and make the tracking process even more accessible. No matter which method you choose