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With out a doubt the most important piece of my daily workflow is keeping time. I feel like most poeple believe it’s important, but most people just don’t get it right and just give up.

The keys

  • Keep it simple to start
  • Don’t get wrapped up in time tracking apps and tools
  • use a spreadsheet to start
  • if you need to crunch numbers use a tracking app as a supplemental tool

A spreadsheet will simplify this whole process and allow you to have the control you might need in at the start. Time tracking is a pain in the ass and while the apps out there have made it easy they all rely on you entering the data or clicking the start and stop buttons.

What I’ve been doing for 2yrs

  • Track my time in a spreadsheet. Use a google sheet, it’s editable everywhere!
  • 5 minute minimum time tracking
  • Grouping related tasks as a single tracked item
  • Always include a link to a client task
  • Every morning I add my times to my harvest account and the respective time tracking software for each client
  • I track everything, client work, personal work, volunteer work and even writing this post.


  • You now have the data you need to get your current hourly value
  • Seeing the daily totals can tell you what your patterns are
  • You can now estimate with informed data
  • Validate your hours if there is ever a discrepancy

A starter template

Below is a google sheet template that includes tabs for starter and advanced uses. The starter version is just for in and out tracking. The advanced include day, week & month sums. This is all manual stuff. Every day you have to add new rows and update related calculations on the sumIf statement. Once you get the hang of it the time is completion is less than 5min