Ask DN: How do you track your time?

over 5 years ago from Sean Geraghty, Design @

  • Taylor Van OrdenTaylor Van Orden, over 5 years ago

    Fulltime freelancer, always working from home and occasionally random offices.

    I use harvest (

    I don't use all the features, I mainly use:

    The app for mac osx: quick timer start, fill in client, project, task, any notes and done. It automatically notices if you walk away from your computer and when you come back gives you a "you've been inactive for 43 minutes - remove that time or keep going?" You can also manually insert or change amount of time by clicking the item and typing it in. You can go back and edit each day, or see how productive you were day to day, in the app.

    On the website:

    Invoicing by unbilled hours is super simple and awesome. It's cut my creating invoices time down so much. You click create invoice, unbilled hours, and whether you want it by task or person or project whatever. It pops out a invoice where you can edit, add, remove, change rate, etc. Update your rate, and it auto does the math for you. Add a discount, etc. It'll pull any information you have about that client saved in harvest (like rate, address, etc) but you can also change it on the invoice.

    The next time you review your timesheet, the hours that have been paid are grayed out. This is amazing if you (like me) have some longtime clients that you only occasionally bill because you'll never forget any hours and you can see how much money you have coming.

    Personally, I throw the numbers from the invoice into my branded invoice but I use harvest to keep the invoices, mark as paid, notes, etc. When I do my taxes at the end of the year, I can easily see that "Remote Deposit Check $839.39" in my bank account was for client XYZ in harvest. This is super helpful because I fail at doing that as I go.

    The timesheet view is a very sweet way to see your productivity as well. You get total hours per project and total hours, total. I actually use harvest to track my down time, personal time, drunk time, sleep time, etc so I can see them week to week.

    It's free for like one project and theres a 1 month free trial - so check it out and see if it works for you. It's exponentially worth it for me since it saves me at least 2-5 hours a week in tracking, invoicing, etc and who knows how many hours in guestimating hours while invoicing. Then it's $12/month.

    0 points
    • Glenn McCombGlenn McComb, over 5 years ago


      I'm a full-time freelancer and I use Harvest in much the same way. The invoicing is a massive time saver. I create lots of subtasks which I re-use on most projects (i.e. sketching, wireframing, high-res mockups, front-end dev) and Harvest will automatically itemise these on the invoice. On top of that, it's very helpful for quoting because I have an ever increasing back catalogue of timings. At $12 / month this is definitely a worthwhile SaaS for me.

      1 point