We are all used to the saying “time is money.” And nevertheless, many of us have a hard time both adopting this viewpoint to our daily lives and having others see that our time is indeed precious. Web developers, coders, and programmers constitute one of such groups – their work is often perceived on a by-project basis.
If you are a programmer, especially a freelance programmer, time tracking may turn out to be a solution to a number of problems: how to concentrate on particular projects, how to prioritize your time, how to assess the costs incurred during software development, and so on.
Costs are not the only (nor even the most important) reason to adopt a time tracking solution. Anybody who ever tried his or her hand at time management and personal efficiency assessment knows that time tracking is the first step to optimal workload distribution and successful management of multiple projects. When all is said and done, time management is essential for ever getting any work done.
You needn’t even employ any time tracking software in order to successfully manage your time, although there are numerous apps that can make most of the work in this respect for you. If you are unwilling to rely on software solutions, you are free to use any of good old low-tech approaches that have been known to proponents of time management techniques like Pomodoro for ages.
You may successfully cover all your time tracking needs with nothing more sophisticated than a pen, a timer and a notepad. Many people still feel more at ease with having all their information in analogue form, however weird it may be in case of programmers.
However, this approach may not be totally effective – it is very easy to get lost in numerous notes, spreadsheets and so on. The low-tech approach may prove to be utterly useless if you ever become a part of a larger team or have to show your notes to your clients. In this case, hand-written notes are not just less presentable, but also inconvenient.
Whichever approach you choose, however, there are a few tips you should follow:
- Break down all the tasks you have to perform into small yet meaningful chunks.
- Focus on one task at a time.
- Make use of a timer – either a simple stopwatch or something more sophisticated. Some desktop solutions cut off your Internet access while you are working, allowing for additional concentration.
- Always, always write down the time you’ve tracked, taking into account all distractions – after all, you are not only after billable hours, you want to get an understanding of your own productivity.
When it comes to coding and programming, time tracking is certainly not something to ignored. Adopt a solution that suits you, and you will increase your productivity by leaps and bounds.