If you work for clients on a time and material basis, logging your time is not a matter of choice, but rather a fact of life. To maintain trust, accuracy is a must and tracking your working hours weekly or even daily is not an option — you have to record time spent on a task right after completing it.
At first, putting each piece of work into a time sheet seems like quite a boring and time consuming burden. But after a while I discovered that logging time is a really effective productivity hack.
In fact, logging is the flip side of planning. The time sheet is the main source of feedback for your planning. It lets you check if your plans were realistic, which tasks you underestimated, which overestimated, how much time was spent on unplanned tasks and how much was wasted. This feedback makes you a better planner. Next time you think you could write an email in a minute, you will remember that a similar email took you almost an hour.
Besides refining plans, tracking time provides the following advantages:
As a result, logging your time really pays for itself. Some basic steps to get started:
Finally, become more organized and share your experiences in the comments below!
By the way, time tracking works really well in conjunction with the Pomodoro Technique which I recommend a lot. If you work in 30 minute chunks, you always know how many chunks you have spent on a task and doing regular breaks helps to keep you focused.