Tips for freelancers on time tracking

People tend to believe that being a freelancer means you’re not on a tight schedule. It’s quite the opposite. When you don’t have a steady paycheck every month, and someone to tell you what to do every day, you want to maximize your day and be as efficient as you can.

Clients appreciate quality work, but a project done on time, or better yet, ahead of schedule will earn you extra recognition and will be highly appreciated by your clients.

Time tracking is more popular than ever, but keeping an eye on your time tracking tool isn’t enough, you need to combine it with project and time management in order to maximize your workday.

Here are some tips that will help improve your workflow & time management as a freelancer:

  • if possible share tasks – if you’re a freelancer it doesn’t mean that you have to do all the work yourself. You can have a team or a partner, delegate responsibilities, divide the workload or even subcontract tasks to other freelancers.
  • don’t take on too much work – be realistic when taking on a project, discuss deadlines with your clients, set personal milestones.
  • have buffer days - always have a few extra days to check that everything is in top shape before presenting your clients with the final product or just use the time to relax between projects.
  • start right away - sometimes it’s hard to get started on a project, but it’s imperative to start as soon as possible without wasting time, the first few days are crucial in any project.
  • have a schedule – some freelancers think that not having a 9-5 job means that they don’t need a schedule. A hectic working schedule can reflect badly on the final product. You need to find your rhythm and work when you’re the most creative and efficient.
  • don’t take too many breaks – taking too many breaks can be counterproductive, it ruins your concentration and slows down your workflow.
  • be professional – always be on time for meetings and dress properly, have a clear plan and do some background check on your clients. This will help you attract high end clients and will be a good sign of your work ethic.
  • speak your mind – although it might seem clients know exactly what they want, suggestions are usually welcome, especially if you present them in the right way. Show them that you care about the product.
  • track your time – you should use time tracking and project management tools to keep track of your work. It’s very important to keep track of your workflow, and crucial for invoicing. You can show your clients the amount of work necessary for specific tasks at any time.
3 Responses to “Tips for freelancers on time tracking”
  • I’m a blogger but this article will also help me instead of forwarding without reading it to my younger brother who is freelancer and creates always a mess in his personal life due to unplanned way of working.

    Seems Paymo is a solution to his and a little bit mine problem in managing the project and time and invoice making would be really an interesting add-on for us.

    Thanks for putting up this article !

  • I think making your time flexible around family/exercise is important. It keeps the incentive alive in being self employed. Working later to catch up for some time in the day for a run works for me.

  • I am having good success by combining Paymo with Beeminder ( – I use Paymo to record my time and calculate my billing, and Beeminder to make sure I am actually spending a certain amount of effort on necessary tasks.

    If you guys want to talk to Beeminder about organising integration, I certainly won’t complain…

    Keep up the good work!

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