Monthly Archives: February 2012

Time Tracking

As a freelancer, my entire revenue source is dependent mostly upon time tracking for clients.  This is rather new to me as I’ve only been at the freelance thing for a few years now.  At first, it was a bit of a chore, but now it’s just second nature.  What makes it easier now is the tools I use to conduct that activity.

I interface mainly with two time tracking systems, Freshbooks and Basecamp.  Freshbooks is really top notch for Accounting/CRM/Billing, etc… This is one of the best systems out there, and is affordable.  Basecamp is really more of a project management system, but has a time tracking component that some companies use.  As of March 2012, Basecamp will be phasing that feature out of the ‘Next’ version they are rolling out.

For both systems, I started using the online time tracking tools they had. That was pretty onerous, as you could only do one task at a time.  Rather clunky IMO.  Luckily, I’ve discovered some nifty desktop apps that really make time tracking a snap.  On both systems I can start timers and pause them, and have multiple timers at any point so that I can switch between clients on the fly and track all that time without having to make an educated guess on how much time I spent.

The Freshbooks timer is called ChronoMate.  It’s a lovely MAC OSX app that integrates seamlessly with Freshbooks, and let’s you track your time easily.  It let’s you create timers, but also clients, projects, tasks and expenses.  It’s a dynamite app.

The Basecamp timer I use is TrackRecord. Track record is just as snazzy as Chronomate, but can only be used for time tracking.  No client/project interactions on this one.  It lets you do multiple timers at once (though only one tracking at a time) as well.

Both apps are essential in my day-to-day client management, and have taken the burden out of time tracking for me completely 🙂

Pixel Perfect UI

Ok, so I’ve spent countless hours tweaking CSS, refreshing the browser, taking a screenshot, opening the screenshot in photoshop, copying and pasting that screenshot onto a master design PSD file, and setting the opacity to 50%, then repositioning the overlay…..iterate and repeat for hours….

Ok, my day just got much shorter and less redundant….

A firefox/firebug plugin does ALL that for you….WHOOOOOOT!

Thank you to the folks at Open House up in Canada…I definitely bought you a beer for this one!