close up photo of darts in a dart board

Put Down the Darts and Pick Up the Timer

close up photo of darts in a dart boardTweet this quote.
Stop throwing darts at a board when you need to estimate. Track your pace so you have the data to estimate a project with confidence. What you need to track and how to start, today, in my How To column at Copyediting.com.

 

Other Benefits of Timing Yourself

I like the point this post makes: that timing yourself helps you focus. This certainly works for me, and that is not why I started tracking my time; it’s a side benefit.

Using an app made a big difference for me, after 15 years of just jotting start and stop times on a spreadsheet.

  1. I don’t like hitting “stop”, so I now chunk my tasks and reduce the little interruptions.
  2. When I do have to accept an interruption, I don’t worry that I’m miscalculating time for either task.

That timer (app) showed me that “just answering this one email” takes FAR longer than I had been estimating. The same goes for the billable task itself: those ones that I get really into seem to take no time at all. But I was wrong; keeping records is how I know.

Tweet this quote.
Without that strategic approach to evaluating your time, you’re just flailing around like an amateur. Or like an employee.

Freelancers can vastly improve their bottom line (and probably thus their job satisfaction) by looking at their business with a critical eye at least once a year. Collecting productivity data makes this possible.

 

Link to my columns on Copyediting.com

In this series:

 

Photo by Shedrick Mask used under CC BY-ND 2.0 license.

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