Having your own business often means there’s nobody to hold you accountable for how you spend your time. Even when “time is money” and your paycheck isn’t guaranteed, we can all be easily distracted by YouTube clips when we should be working on a project.
The answer to this problem might be as simple as using an application to track your time.
There are several out there, we use the Freshbooks timer (affiliate link) as part of their invoicing services, but there are other companies that offer stand alone software, like Toggl. Toggl is a very simple application that you can use through your browser, install it on your desktop or even on your iPhone. Enter the name of the project you’re working on (i.e. the name of your business or the name of the client), the task you want to complete (i.e. email handling or website design) and hit the big red button to start timing. You can also enter the time manually (after the fact), which is particularly useful before you establish the habit of logging your time.
If you’re working on more than one project, at the end of the day or week, you can run a report to see exactly how much time you spent on each of your projects. In the long term, it helps with time management because you can see how long each task takes which makes it easier to assess your rates and to invoice more effectively in the future.