Are you a part of the gig economy?

You’ll find many businesses now hiring contractors and freelancers to help them meet company demands. And this is quickly growing the gig economy.

In America, gig workers increased by 34% in 2017 alone. And this is expected to grow to 43% by 2020.

Now that the focus is turning to productivity, you also find more businesses adopting automation. While 45% of companies are still in the beginning stages of basic automation, industry leaders are shifting their eyes to improving current HR systems to enhance the productivity of their teams.

And one of the ways they’re doing so is via outsourcing. It’s another way for companies to get things done while also saving money.

This is, in part, due to the shift away from paying workers for time and instead paying for quality. When you have a full-time staff, you’re paying for their time – not their productivity.

But when you outsource, you’re paying for a result. This is why the gig economy is on the rise. As businesses around the world become more digitized, they become more accepting to remote workers.

If you’re in the freelance market, then it’s essential to keep track of your time so you can bill clients accordingly. Plus, it’ll help you to manage how your time is spent so you maintain high levels of productivity.

So let’s take a closer look at what timesheets are and how you can even automate them.

So What is a Timesheet?

A timesheet is a form (paper or digital) you can use to keep track of the time you spend on any given task. This is ideal if you’re being paid by the hour.

But even if you’re paid by the project, you can track how many hours it takes to ensure you’re getting paid fairly. You might find you need to adjust your methods to work faster or bump up your rate.

For example, if it’s taking you 10 hours to complete a project worth $150, then you’re being paid $15/hr. Depending on the salary you want to pay yourself annually, you may want to increase this.

Your pay should also be commensurate with your experience and the type of work being performed. For instance, if you’re a technical writer, then you should be getting paid upwards of $50/hr or more.

Ideally, you want to use a digital timesheet to manage your time. One platform you can use is invoicely, which allows you to track your time and implement it into professional invoices you can send to your clients.

What’s the Purpose of a Timesheet?

You may run into clients who want a bit of transparency when it comes to paying you for your services. They want to ensure you’re not milking the clock to get paid more.

So may run into a few who demand to see a timesheet for each of the projects or tasks you perform. This typically occurs when you’re charging an hourly rate.

By using a timesheet, you can easily track all of your billable hours. This will give both you and your client confidence in the services being provided and the rate being paid.

You’ll also find that your timesheet will help you identify inefficiencies throughout your workday. When you use a time tracker, you stop and start the clock when you’re working.

You may find you’re being distracted by emails, social media, and other interruptions throughout the day. If this is the case, you can use a desktop or mobile app to help block them during your work hours.

A timesheet will also help you determine how long it’ll take for you to complete similar tasks and projects in the future. So when it comes time to send a client an estimate, you can do so with confidence.

Who Should Use a Timesheet?

Timesheets are used by professionals of all types – this includes lawyers, writers, web developers, programmers, virtual assistants, and any other freelancers that charge by the hour.

Any contractor or freelancer who wants to improve their performance will use a timesheet. It’s like competing with yourself.

If it took you 5 hours to complete a project you feel could’ve taken 3.5 hours, then try to beat that time the next go around. This is a great way to motivate yourself to become your best self.

Use your timesheet to evaluate yourself over the years and continue to improve.

What Are the Benefits of Using Timesheets?

You’ll find there are a number of benefits associated with using timesheets. As we already mentioned, it can help you better manage your time. Then it also gives you a bird’s eye view of your past projects, which can help with estimating future projects.

It’ll also enable you to understand your workload. Are you overworking yourself? Or can you afford to take on more projects?

As an entrepreneur, it’s good to know your spending your time wisely. You can quickly find where your time is going throughout the day so you can become more productive.

Because as they say – time is money!

Automating Your Timesheet

Back in the day, timesheets were paper and required you to write in your hours spent working. But times have changed and the evolution of technology makes it possible for us to do things easier.

Not only are we able to digitally track our time, but we’re able to automate it as well. For example, you can use time-tracking software to time your sessions.

You’re able to start and stop the clock throughout the workday. This way, your exact work hours are recorded right down to the second.

The precision of automated time tracking makes it easier to create accurate timesheets. With invoicely, you can insert your time spent on a project or task and use that to invoice your customers.

There are multiple time-tracking apps on the market you can use today. And many of them are free.

Implementing the Pomodoro Method

By now, you may have heard about the pomodoro method. This is a time management tool freelancers use to boost productivity.

You see, it’s not enough to simply track your hours worked. It’s about maximizing your workday so you’re able to get more things done.

That way, you can spend the rest of your day relaxing and spending time with family.

But what is the pomodoro method? This is when you work for 25 minutes straight on only one task, then take a five-minute break. Once your break is over, you’ve completed one pomodoro.

Then after four pomodoros, you get to take a longer 15- to 20-minute break.

Ideally, you should aim to do about 8-15 of those per work day. For a lot of entrepreneurs, this has helped them to boost their focus and productivity levels.

There are pomodoro timers you can use to help you with the process. It’ll automatically go off after 25 minutes and immediately start your 5-minute break when you hit the button.

It comes with an alarm to ensure you don’t miss your break or next pomodoro.

What makes this effective is that it gives you a short period of time to work on a task. Knowing you have only 25 minutes gives you more focus.

You try to get as much done in that 25-minute window and before you know it, it’s time for a break. The frequent breaks help ease tension and relax your mind so you don’t ever feel overworked.

In many cases, freelancers are able to cut their workday in half.

So it’s definitely something you should try out as you’re working to improve your productivity and time tracking.

What to Look for in a Timesheet Software

So you’ve decided to go the digital route for your time tracking. Well, if you’re interested in timesheet software, then you should look for key functions.

For instance, it should enable you to insert the task, the rate, the name of the client, the date, a description, and hours. It’s also good to be able to insert links, documents, and tags, so you’re better able to track your progress.

For example, you can upload a link or document for the work you performed in that time frame. This can then be sent to your client as an invoice.

You can do all of this within the invoicely platform. You’re also able to save the task so you don’t always have to retype it over.

You can do the same for clients.

Implementing Timesheets into Your Strategy

You’re not just a freelancer – you’re a business owner. This means you need to equip yourself with tools that’ll enable you to perform at your best.

In order to attract new clients and keep them, you need to appear professional. Having a digital timesheet and invoicing system should be a part of any professional setup.

As we talked about, using timesheets is beneficial in many ways. So whether you’re looking to improve your productivity or create accurate quotes, you can use timesheets to do so.

However, if you’re still on the rocks, then we urge you to give timesheets and time-tracking a try to see how it works for your freelance business!