Time tracking is an absolute essential for the modern entrepreneur.

Actually, no, it isn’t. You have stuff to do, do it. When you have finished, stop. Simples.

If you bill by the hour or by the minute even, then keeping track of your time is a requirement. You need to be able to demonstrate to a client the origin of their bill. In the past I used Day-Timer, an analogue planner with pages segmented into time slots. I graduated to Harvest, which I found an excellent tool. I wasn’t wild about the IOS app, but the web service is great. There is a free tier – that gives a good taste of how the service works – but to be practical for me, I needed to upgrade to the first paid tier – $12 a month.

The key attraction of Harvest is the interoperability. It can be combined with book keeping software and many, many other services. With some thought, I could set some really smart automations and integrations.

But I don’t use it.

I don’t bill by time any more. I bill on a retainer or by project. Detailed time tracking is therefore less important, and that $12 a month is better spent elsewhere.

That said, I do believe in time-tracking.

Year after year, I write somewhere that writing is the thing that I most want to do. Then, during a monthly review, I observe that I have done no writing. It’s infuriating.

I’m using Toggl, a time-tracking service, and Timery, a separate app developed to work with it. I’m on the free tier of Toggl – which is sufficient for my purposes, and I have paid the $10 annual subscription for Timery. The IOS app on Timery is lovely. Easy and idiot-proof. Most importantly for me, it’s easy to correct the entries when I’ve forgotten to change or stop timers. (Currently, a daily occurrence.)

Initial findings are that nursing takes a LOT of time and that simply keeping up with email and slack is a job on its own.

Early days, but my first conclusion has been to go easy on myself. Right now, looking after Mags is my number one priority, and given that it takes from 5-8 hours from my day, it’s unrealistic of me to expect to get everything else done. That helps me manage frustration.