How To Properly Track Your Time as a Freelancer

Are you a freelancer? Are you wondering how to properly track your time? As a freelance worker, you must know how to track your time. It’s important to do so for every job. You need to be paid for all the hours you work. If you don’t track the time you’ve spent working, how can you be paid accordingly? You don’t want your employer to guess ur hours and ballpark your paycheck? If the answer is no, let’s start with the basics.

What Do You Mean by Tracking Your time?

Tracking your time basically means that you are keeping a record of all the hours spent working on a certain project. In any workplace, your hours worked are tracked. This can be done by either logging in to a system, writing down your hours, etc. Tracking your time helps you keep tabs on everything and organize workflow as well.

It doesn’t matter if you worked at 1 in the morning or at 2 in the middle of the day; you should keep track of your hours for any project that you are hired for. Recently, I have been using the Time Tracker from the company Indy, but more on that later.

How To Track Your Time?

Person holding white analog clock

One of the main ways you can keep track of your time is simply by writing it down. Stating the time when you started and when you ended your work for the day. In addition, excel sheets are a great option for keeping track. Currently, I use the website Indy, and they have a time tracker, conveniently called Time Tracker. With this tool, you can simply create a profile and log in on the top right of the dashboard. After that, simply hit the play button and start the timer. If you need to take a break, step away, hit pause, and resume when ready.

What Exactly Is a Freelancer?

A freelancer is someone who is hired to do contract work. You are hired for your skills. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you could be hired to make new graphics for a company event. Freelancers mainly work with their clients using a contract. Having the right contract pre-set up explaining that you are in control of the hours you work and how long it will take you to complete the project is pretty much a must.

As a freelancer, you must protect yourself legally and by documenting your time. You can prove all the hours you worked. In addition, make sure you have the right legal documentation to make sure you can send an invoice and get paid appropriately.

Contract of Time

By keeping track of your time, you are fulfilling the requirements stated in the contract. A contract is an agreement between the client and you, the freelancer. Having the proper contract stating how time will be tracked and when to expect payment will help you get paid for all of your hard work.

In the contract, you state how much you want to be paid by the hour/day/per project, whichever works for you. The contract states that you will be provided an invoice where you will state how many hours you have worked and the amount of money your employer owes you for the work done. By properly tracking your time, you can know exactly how many hours you’ve put into the project and what you should be paid in accordance with the aforementioned contract.

Benefits of Tracking your time

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1) You Have Proof of Your Work Hours

When you keep track of all the time you have worked, including dates, you can prove to your employer you worked these hours and need to be paid for all the hours and days you worked. This is why you need to be responsible and keep track of all the people you worked for.

2) Helps Promote Time Management

As you work on different projects, you should record your own hours, just as a boss would at a regular office job. As a freelancer, sometimes you can lose track of time, maybe even waste time taking long breaks. Freelancers usually work the hours and time they want to work. They are usually self-paced and keep the deadline in mind. When you keep track of your time, you learn how to keep track of how long each project takes you.

In addition, you can use your time limit of completing projects to help promote your freelance services. For example, if you start to realize that a job usually takes a week to complete, you can state that you have a fast-track record of completing freelance work with a quick turnover time in your portfolio.

3) You Have a Complete Record of All Your Jobs

Keeping track of all the projects, companies, individuals you have worked for helps you know who you have worked for and can help you create a portfolio. If someone is considering using your freelance services, they can look at all of the past projects you have worked on and past companies you have worked for. This way, you can keep track of all the projects you have worked on.

Negative Affects if You Don’t Track Your Time

Confused businessman checking time on wristwatch

1) You Don’t Have a Time Limit

If you are not keeping track of the time you worked, you could potentially not complete the project on time. If you were clocked into an in-person job, your work hours would be tracked. If you were to work a 9-5 job, you would know what time to get to work and know what time you should leave. When you keep track of the time you now know what time you should start, and you know how many hours you have worked in the day and when you want to be done.

2) There’s No Way To Prove It To Your Employeer

If you don’t track your time and you send an invoice to your employer, they could potentially ask for proof of how many hours you worked. If you don’t have a timesheet or any record, the employee could underpay you or just have to guess the hours you worked. You appear more professional when you have records and proof of what hours you worked and how long you worked. Keeping track of time is important. It’s part of being a freelancer.

Ask anyone who is a freelancer, they will tell you to keep a record of all the days and times they worked. You may need to provide proof of hours worked for taxes at the end of the year. As each freelancer must pay for their own taxes. Keeping track of time also helps you guess your overall income. When you receive payment, you must put aside a percentage of each paycheck to pay for the end-of-the-year taxes.

If not, you could potentially have hundreds of dollars you have to pay in taxes. This could hurt you financially instead of you feeling the financial freedom that you should feel while working as a freelancer. You could end up in a worse financial place. Overall, it’s good to track your time. Tracking your time is important.

How to Track Your Time

As a freelance worker, you must be able to track your time; we’ve established that already. But here are some handy ways to do so.

1. Excel sheet

person using laptop

You can use Google Excel sheets and/or Word Excel sheets. Simply state the time date and the hours you worked each day. You can do this by first starting the date and then stating you started at 9am and finished working for the day at 5pm. Do this every day, and you’ll have a transparent overview of your workweek. You can also add the total hours worked on the freelance project.

2. Documents

Much the same way you create an excel spreadsheet, you can also create a spreadsheet in Word document and/or Google document. The principle is the same, but this way, you can add extra data and maybe jazz up a bit if you happen to be a visual type.

3. Screenshot

By taking screenshots of when you started working and finished, you’ll have visual proof of the time spent. All you need to do is create a folder on your laptop with the project name as the title, as just save the screenshots. After all, is said and done, simply add up your hours, and there you have it, your proof.

4. Download a Time Tracker App

clear hour glass on white table

Downloading a time tracker is also a great solution and my favorite one. It’s currently what I use for my freelance work. An example of this would be the app Indy. You can simply start the timer when you start working. In addition, you can hit the pause button when you need to take a break and then simply hit the play button to start the timer again. Once you are done for the day you simply hit the checkmark and add the time tracked in the invoice. Time trackers help you keep up to date with hours and days you worked without the hassle of taking screenshots or creating an excel sheet. The app does it all for you.

Final Thoughts

All of these solutions are ways that you can add your hours and be ready to track your time as a freelance worker. Keeping track of your time is important and needed for adding up hours so that you get paid on time. By having your hours tracked you get to fulfill the contract and get paid. Keep track of your time as a freelance worker.