I often bid projects by the project and not by time, but some clients pay for a certain number of hours for on-going projects, and for those clients, I need to keep track of time. Based on a recommendation from a friend, I started using a site called Tick (www.tickspot.com) to track time for clients. For free, they let you track time for one client, so I used the site to track time for my biggest per-hour client.
Recently I was downloading at update for my Adobe PDF Reader, and I discovered that there is a whole group of Adobe AIR programs available for free. One of the programs that had won some awards and had been downloaded often was a program called Ora Time and Expense (www.johnwu.com/ora). It was free to download and use, so I thought I would give it a try.
I've been using Ora Time now for almost a month, and I love it. I use it for all of my clients, even the ones that I've bid on the project, not the time. It helps me keep track of the time I spend on clients, and I also time the administrative tasks that I have to do, too. (I've been thinking that I might start timing the tasks to teach Calculus and Statistics for the girls.) With Tick, when I finished something for a client, I had to log into Tick (which sometimes meant turning on my wireless to get on the Internet), pick the client and the project, and enter in the time. With Ora, before I start on a project, I can select the client and the project and hit the timer, and as soon as I'm finished, I hit stop, and the time is recorded for the project. If I want to enter a project and a time, I can do that, too. The program keeps track of expenses, too, though I don't use that feature as much as I use the time tracker, though I like the expenses feature, too.
Well, I guess my time is up. Time to do some work on some contracts.