Rebekah Lambert wasn’t a time tracking person until the ATO introduced a logbook requirement for working from home expenses. Then something surprising happened.
Time tracker tips for freelancers event is now available in action replay format, together with transcript and audience questions. You can also find out more about using Rounded for your time tracking in the blog that started it all.
This 50 minute video is on how to use the time tracker (any time tracker but I will be using Rounded as my demo model – get your four week trial if you are a new member now) to know how to:
1. Charge more money
2. Make better estimates
3. Log the business side of your business
4. Look after your own projects better
You can also use Ops codes if they help to catalogue your adventures.
Catch the action replay of time tracker tips now!

Time tracker event

Rebekah: [00:00:00] So this is the time tracker event. I do not know what format this is going to take. I’m literally going to take you through the time tracker, answer the questions, base it on the blog, and all that sort of stuff. So feel free to think about what you want me to actually cover. If you are not feeling the most social today, feel free to keep your distance.

Rebekah: Camera off, you can just chat via the instant message and all that kind of stuff. And let’s just see where we get to. I’ve allowed an hour, but I’m sure we’ll be wrapped up a bit quicker. The whole aim of this though is like, when I was working through all the rounded stuff, I found myself resenting the time tracker and then falling in love with it.

Rebekah: So I just want to share that because it’s changed the way that I do business on a productivity level and it’s helping with the ATO. You may have realized or may not have, depending on how wedded you are to your [00:01:00] accounting, that the ATO is actually, oh, hang on, Welcome to Country, Acknowledgement to Country.

Rebekah: In the spirit of reconciliation, the Freelance Jungle would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, water and sea that we are currently gathered in. Coming to you from the D’harawal Nation where the Mighty Wodi Wodi people gathered for decades and decades. tens of thousands of years on the shores of Lake Iluwara, just to the right of me here.

Rebekah: I pay my respects to past, present and emerging Elders and a special respect to anyone who is Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal background who has joined us today. The official position of the Freelance Jungle is that it always was and always will be Aboriginal land. We are one of the few countries in the world that does not have and Treaty to recognize our Indigenous people, and I hope one day we will see that in our lifetime.

Rebekah: Time tracking [00:02:00] stuff. Let’s have a look at this. So the ATO, basically I’m going to read to you what Holly said because she’s the accountant, right? She says it so much better than me. For ATO purposes, time tracking is attached to working from home. So what’s happened is with COVID, with so many people needing to work from home and also people, re evaluating that relationship, there’s been an increase in home office deductions.

Rebekah: And the ATO has looked at that and gone I don’t know, we want to check out the credibility a little bit more. So what they’ve actually proposed is there’s a 60s. 67 cent, thing where you can actually have a log book and you log your time and you send that through to the ATO and then that covers your expenses.

Rebekah: So accountants like Holly, who is my accountant, by the way, of Declaration, you He’s comparing that 67 cents with [00:03:00] the other normal way to get deductions and depreciations and things happening. And then telling me as her client, which is the better result. I understand, or I believe that the situation is from a certain period of time that the other way of doing deductions will be phased out and it will actually switch more onto this reliance of the 67 cent thing.

Rebekah: So the basically it’s on us. Sorry, I keep getting distracted because people want to be admitted. It’s on us to actually know how many hours we’re sitting at the desk. Now, I know that is an issue with a lot of freelancers. I’ve spoken to a lot of freelancers that feels like it’s presenteeism and action.

Rebekah: It’s really hard to quantify. It’s this, that, and everything else. And I agree with you. It can also be difficult if you are not exactly fantastic at timing and time stuff. Due to non neurotypical status or due to other reasons. So [00:04:00] I understand there is a little bit of a burden that’s coming on to a lot of people.

Rebekah: So my aim is hopefully not to scare the crap out of you with this. And to actually make it so that you can work through things that you need to do. But With your situation, and I have to outline this, please check with your accountant because we have over 120 different vocations in the freelance jungle and I cannot possibly advise you on where you will fall with the logbook, what you will claim in, claims and all that sort of stuff.

Rebekah: So if there are any questions like that, please save them for your accountant because I am not qualified to answer them and I don’t want to give you the wrong advice. So basically I don’t know how many of you have read the blog that I wrote for Rounded, but I’ve looked at it from a perspective of going, okay, I’m going to get forced to do this logbook thing.

Rebekah: I’ve got a lot of the 67 cent stuff. I’m going to put it all in there and see how far I get. And the surprising thing [00:05:00] was that once I got in there, I actually started to realize that there were benefits. And for me, there were key benefits, which was I got to charge more money. Because I could make a case for my business better, I could make better estimates.

Rebekah: So I finally had the data that I needed to be able to say, Hey, Bob, that project that you’re suggesting is only going to take 10 hours actually took me 40 hours last time I did it. We need to adjust your scope or your budget accordingly. Also, the other thing is to logging non generating activities versus.

Rebekah: I come from agency land prior to freelancing, and one of the things that was drummed into us is just because you generate money as an account manager, because you’re winning the business doesn’t mean that you are just looking after yourself, you’re actually looking after the people in admin. You’re looking after paying for us [00:06:00] to have a HR manager.

Rebekah: You’re looking after this, and this. So when you’re brokering that deal, keep in mind that you are actually keeping other people employed here. Which kind of changes your head a bit, but as freelancers, we do absolutely everything. It’s really important to actually look at that side of your business so that you know where your money’s going and what you can charge.

Rebekah: It’s also helped me look after my own projects and it’s helped me with gamification and accountability. Putting things in there and getting really excited about them and jaying myself up that way. So what I’m going to do is pretty scary. I’m going to go into the rounded dashboard and I’m going to share things with you.

Rebekah: If it’ll show up, where is it? Always the way, isn’t it? Alright, let’s slim down a few little tickety boo things here, and let’s see if it’ll let me show you.

Rebekah: And I [00:07:00] just want to let people know that it doesn’t really matter if we’re sharing this on rounded, or whether we’re sharing it on something else, you can use the same principles for it. If it’ll let me do it, that is. Why for you not let me have the tab?

Rebekah: Alright, let me try this again. Sorry, always the way.

Rebekah: Anyone got any hold music that they want to show?

Rah: I can start performing the entirety of Hamilton if anyone’s interested. I can

Rebekah: start,

Rah: do every single word, name the role you want me to play, I am on board.

Rebekah: All of them. All of them at once.

Rah: Okay, there’s a challenge. No, I can’t quite do that.

Person Four: Start to finish, whole thing.

Rah: Yeah, I can do that.

Rebekah: Thank you, Ra, for saving my bacon yet again.[00:08:00]

Rebekah: You will be seeing the lovely Ra tomorrow, teaching you Instagram tips as well, folks, so make sure you tune in for that one. Alright, so can you see the time tracker on my screen? Okay, so this is Rounded’s time tracker. Ollie kindly said to me, Oh my goodness, it’s the one feature that we haven’t revisited since the damn software was born.

Rebekah: What the heck and heck. But Here we are. It works really well for what I need. You will see this little dashboard and all the rest of it. What I do is, and I’m going to do a few things in front of you, is I put all of the data in for new projects. So what I do, for example, is add a client and go Bob is amazing.

Rebekah: Proprietary limited

Rebekah: right. And thanks for blocking everything, [00:09:00] Zoom. Appreciate it. Always fun with accessibility. And then I go, April, Bob’s Community Management

Rebekah: as the project. And what happens with that then, basically, is I go over here

Rebekah: and you’ll see say I do a manual entry. I’ve done 15 hours on Bob.

Rebekah: There he is. April’s BobCM. Bob is Amazing Proprietary Limited. Thumbs up. And then I say, Community Management. Folks, it is that simple, right? So I’ve done 14 hours in one day on Bob’s Community Management, and then that comes through down here, with all their nice little labels. [00:10:00] Now, the reason why I do this kind of stuff, and I’m just going to delete that entry for obvious reasons, if I can just remember how to, oh there, that’s right yeah, is so that I’ve got logs of everything. And you’ll see in the last 14 days, I’ve done 83 hours. And that is split over all various different days. And what I do with things, so say for example, the freelance jungle is when I enter the freelance jungle, I put in things like a club and then I put in FJ for April, which means that everything that I do in April actually goes into the time tracker for that month.

Rebekah: And then I can have a look at it and what I do is I generally use, so

Rebekah: I, you can see I set them up month by month so that I’ve got things going on.[00:11:00]

Rebekah: That way I can see what I’ve actually been up to. So time tracker, event prep, blog editing, and you’ll see that these labels are very simplistic and easy to, understand. Then what I do is I actually go back into it and unify the names so that I’ve always got the same sort of data. And then I come to the timesheet section, in the reporting bit here and pull out the relevant timesheets for things.

Rebekah: So

Rebekah: looking at this kind of stuff so that it’s all collected. Now, one thing that you’ll notice is that what I do is, I don’t put a dollar value behind it. And the reason why I do that is because a lot of my stuff is, it’s not paid by the hour. I charge a day rate or a project rate, and I find that [00:12:00] logging the hours doesn’t work.

Rebekah: When I have coaching contracts with people, so for example, I have an arts body that have got me coaching their people in their programs at the moment. I charge on their stuff, but I also have a split where I put the admin and the other stuff that goes into it. And when I submit that to the client.

Rebekah: They get the invoice every month as they’ve requested based on the coaching hours and the money. Excuse me, but when I wrap up the project, I also send in the entire report month by month of a timesheet so that they can see the project itself and how it’s all come together. So that they can also look at their pricing and see whether that works for them in those respects as well.

Rebekah: I can keep on track of the hours and all the rest of it. And what happens with these, I’m going to stop sharing for a sec, cause I’m getting a bit headachy to be honest. What happens with those sorts of situations is I’ve been able to actually go to clients and go [00:13:00] like last year when I was working with an agency and say, Hey, so and here’s my timesheet, which they didn’t ask for, including all of the activities that we’ve done.

Rebekah: If you have a look at the word meeting, It recurs like so many times and if you look at the dollar amount, which I put in just before I send it and then I pull it back out again so that they can see it because I fudge the figures that way. You can see that you’ve spent 3, 000 on meetings. with me alone.

Rebekah: Do you think that’s a really good idea going forward? What are some practical ways that we can do to get your meeting addiction dealt with somewhere else? And that kind of stuff. And it also gives you the opportunity to actually look at things. So for example, the people that are connected to the Patreon, I refreshed the tiers this year for the very first time, and I gated the content that people could access to.

Rebekah: So on the small tiers, you get a [00:14:00] The majority of the lion’s share now that’s moving it up because I needed to increase the value because even though we’re in an inflation crisis and I wanted people to still have access and I didn’t want to come across going, Oh, you’re worth thousands of dollars now, tough luck.

Rebekah: I knew that what was happening was I was spending 40 to 60 hours a month on something that was not generating me very much income. And I needed to rein myself in and also, see where people sat with it. And the interesting thing was, of course, some people dropped off, but then a lot of people actually upgraded because they knew what they wanted out of the program and on the rest of it.

Rebekah: So it gave me the opportunity to almost view the previous version of the Patreon as a, like a freemium version. And now it’s a little bit more serious with things. So people can pick the direct links levels. So with this kind of stuff, what I’m finding also too, is I could look at the work that I [00:15:00] was doing and realize I am really fast at certain things, which means that I can charge more money for them, right?

Rebekah: This whole bill by the hour stuff, penalizes you if you’re an expert, because amateurs take longer to do things. So it gave me the opportunity to go, all right, I can knock this out in three days and other people take three weeks. So I’m going to charge you the money that matches that. And it gave me the opportunity to actually say it takes me this long to do whatever.

Rebekah: And I have used it as a, as an advocacy point as well. So where I’ve said to people and they’ve come back and they’ve gone, oh yeah, but I can get someone on Fiverr to do this for me. I can literally say, look, the last time I did this project, it took 40 hours. That ended up costing XYZ if you look at my rate of such and such.

Rebekah: Then I’m able to actually make a case for it. And I don’t feel so bad when they [00:16:00] say that kind of stuff to me, because I know exactly how long it takes me to do the projects. And it also means that my project estimates are much more robust. The classic example of that for me was this year when I went for grant fellowship, which I didn’t get, but I’m very keen on trying to find another version of it.

Rebekah: And I would have normally put a budget in for that fellowship that was probably around 50k. But by using the time tracker and knowing how long it takes me to do admin, how long it takes me to actually be my own assistant, how long it takes me to do XYZ, I put a budget of 212, 000 and then went to someone and said, is this too much in fellowship?

Rebekah: So she went, This is right on the money. This is exactly how much they cost, right? So it’s that opportunity to actually use the data smarter to price up the projects and advocate for them. I want to know from you folks, what are the things that you want to know about the [00:17:00] time tracker? Because it’s much easier when it’s directed by you for me to take you through it.

Rebekah: So what do you what kind of things do you want to know? Fire some questions at me. They’re like, no.

Carla: So do you do separate projects like for say your admin, like how do you track, track that like I’m working mostly like with teaching students, right? And. Probably about eight tenths of my work is behind the scenes.

Carla: Anyway, another issue, but how do you actually track that side? Like, how do you label your admin y, non client stuff?

Rebekah: Yeah, cool. I use very simple things. Like you’ll see email here. Pre call study for a coaching client session with us. All that kind of stuff.

Carla: So a separate project name for each kind of type of thing you do for the admin.

Carla: Cool.

Rebekah: Yeah, so I actually split the projects out and I’m going to show you [00:18:00] something in that with this one, I think is the best way to show you in,

Rebekah: okay, with these lovely fellows with South Coast Arts who I do the coaching for, I have a separate category for notes to M. So that’s where I put the admin stuff for all the rest of it. If I put it out for a bit longer than that, you’ll see a bit more of a variation,

Rebekah: right? Overflow coaching, admin accounting, wrap up the sessions, right? So it’s that kind of stuff so that I’ve got that information that I can share. And I also do it the other way with looking at what I do with the projects themselves. Unashamedly Creative is my overall business. This is who I am, but I have [00:19:00] projects within it.

Rebekah: So for example, if I was to do a manual entry on time for Unashamedly Creative, you’ll see that I’ve got April and then I’ve got coaching and then I’ve got creative writing. So the April one is just the admin and I might go, simply admin, 17 minutes, 15 minutes, whatever. Whatever. And put it in like that.

Rebekah: But what I do is I separate those things out. So for me, I know that coaching is a separate thing. It’s prepaid. It comes through Stripe. So I have it in there, but I know how many hours I’m spending and then I label it accordingly. So if I’m doing a coaching thing, it might be session notes. And then that will come through up on the thing so that I can see that. And I can also track to see whether those session notes are like, if I’m spending too much time writing them up and I’m not charging enough for people and all the rest of it. Cause I use this to, [00:20:00] increase my rates with coaching as well.

Carla: Yeah.

Rebekah: Fair enough. Yeah. No worries. So that’s how I split it down like that. Lisa, it looks like you’ve got your hand up.

Person Four: Yes, I do. I’ve just got a question. I think I mentioned it in the chat in the Facebook group when we were talking about doing this session. I don’t know why, and maybe it’s just me, but I have trouble with the Roundit app when I want to go back in and alter the time that I’ve spent on things.

Person Four: I don’t know, it seems to close off the days. So let’s say, I don’t know, a day or two ago that you want to go back and alter the, actually you did, I don’t know, an extra hour than what you had logged or whatever. And I can usually only see the last full week. I don’t know why that is, but yeah, I was just wondering if you could show how you go back and edit time on projects and stuff like that too.[00:21:00]

Rebekah: I can, but I think what the issue might be Lisa is what account are you on with them?

Person Four: It’s a paid one, but I think there’s different levels, isn’t there, for memory. So

Rebekah: yeah, it may be that your account level is lower than, cause I can’t speak to the specifics of, how they run it, but I’m on the one that’s around 250

Person Four: a year.

Person Four: So I’m on the starter, which is like 20 bucks a month, which is. It’s 220 a year, it says on the site. So it’s maybe it’s a lower one. Do you think that’s why there’s limited ability to edit? Maybe?

Rebekah: Yeah. Cause I’ve never had that problem, but all I can think is perhaps that it is part of the whole thing with different people on different levels.

Rebekah: The best person to ask is probably their customer service. Yep,

Person Four: cool.

Rebekah: And just mentioned that you’ve done this thing with me because Ollie knows that I was doing this today, so he’ll know why this question is coming up.

Person Four: Yeah, I [00:22:00] wasn’t sure if it was just me or if there was some trick that I, yeah, had missed or something.

Person Four: So thank you for clarifying.

Rebekah: Yeah, no worries. It’s all good. And look I will I did make a note to check that with Ollie, but I think that is the reason, but I’ll, follow up anyway, just to make sure that I’m not talking out of my bottom. Megan, you’ve asked the timer feature. Does it have a clock on clock off?

Rebekah: Yeah, it does. If you go here, I feel like I’m, I feel like one of those product girls, like I should be standing next to a catalog. Love you. If you just go up to here on the time tracking page and just go. And start it. You can go Time Tracker app. And this dandy little fella will run, no matter whether, it’s up on your screen.

Rebekah: You can close it down. You don’t [00:23:00] have to wait. You can come back in and edit it later. You can put the extra details. You can change it around and all the rest of it. And when you log back into the dashboard, you’ll see it at the bottom of your screen with the clock running. So the ribbon will be down the bottom of the page.

Rebekah: So that’s where that is. But yeah, I often actually, because I’m terrible at remembering things, I run it in the background most of the time anyway, and then come back to it once I’ve finished doing what I need to do. And then edit it and you can edit it forward and backwards. Definitely on the level that I’m on anyway.

Rebekah: That may be level dependent in terms of seeing what week and stuff that you’re on. For example, looking at the time and stuff like that. I don’t have any issues with looking at things by project or last 14 days. This is my most common screen [00:24:00] where I have everything there and I work through all of that sort of stuff.

Rebekah: Custom seems to work okay for me, that sort of stuff. You can see I’ve got my hours and my stuff coming through there. And I can swap into other things like that sort of stuff. So that puts So it’s just a matter of going through and flicking it. Now, I do know from talking to some people that You know, it’s not necessarily what you, it’s not the app for you, which is fine.

Rebekah: There are things like Harvest, which does a reasonable job, and you can love lots of different stuff in there. There’s Toggle, which is super popular in the jungle as well. It’s about finding the right one for you, and it’s also about finding the right codes for you. So one of the things that I’ve done, because I’m a nerd.

Rebekah: is I’ve dug up an old thing of mine, which you may all go, geez, you’re a bit too much of a [00:25:00] nerd for me. But, these are OPS codes, which is what I slim them down to once I’ve done to get to my reporting. And you can actually put these into certain apps as labels and stuff. So I’ve done one like for admin analytics, business development, blah, blah, blah.

Rebekah: So different fields, if you’re an ops person, if you’re into photography, and then what you can do is you can actually build your own, and then you can even just use those Labels like vid101 if you, remember it or vid01 for yourself, but just have them as a baseline so that when you go and do your cleanup every month, that they just, they look the same so that you’re not going, what the hell did I mean by such and such?

Rebekah: But I will make that available to you so that you’ve got it there. But the other thing is to log everything. Don’t look at it and go, Oh should I, don’t know, just log everything, right? So that you go, Oh, [00:26:00] I had a seven minute conversation with someone about nothing. That’s great. At least you know that you that way, that’s where that seven minutes has gone.

Rebekah: And it also influences how you charge. So I’ve done enough of these seminars with Holly, where we talk about the fact that whatever you charge per hour, you’ll be lucky to get 25 percent of that money in your pocket. So choose wisely. And the reason that is, is because your tax and your super come out, then you’ve got the admin of your business, the GST, and then by the time you get through all of the free stuff that you do in your business to get your leads, to manage the work, and all the rest of it, that’s why we get to that figure.

Rebekah: So this actually teaches you to be smarter about those rates. So I went from charging 500 a day for my community management and I had old clients and risk I don’t want to upset them. Crap. And now I start at 975 [00:27:00] and a day, and it goes up depending on other things. And also the other thing is too, when I did the pricing sit in.

Rebekah: with people the other week, there is the scale that you can do, which is to look at your clients and go, how complex is this, whatever, and then charge accordingly to that as well. So that’ll be covered in the, what’s it called? The action replay. See, I’m starting to get a bit of a headache. So my brain’s losing its ability to think.

Rebekah: Yeah. In the action replay of the pricing sit in, I talk about that complexity scale and how you can actually account for clients to be high maintenance rather than resenting them and charging them the same as the person. That is really easy to do, right? These are the sorts of things that we should be thinking about and putting through.

Rebekah: So just having a look,

Rebekah: Cheyney, you said you’ve got a question? So just [00:28:00] in there.

Shaney: I know, I’m sorry. It’s a slightly when you want, I guess the tax officers said they need it. And they’ve always requested this. Are they, is this more in case of they audit you kind of thing, or is it, have they outlined what the consequences after not supplying this?

Shaney: We’re three quarters of the way through the tax year

Rebekah: kind of

Shaney: thing. Is it more a motivational tool to cut waste time wise? I’m just I want to do it, but then the thought of adding another task to my day is just something I know it’s a legal requirement, but I’m not sure I have the mental bandwidth for, so I’m just trying to work out, is it.

Shaney: motivational or is it what obviously you found it quite good for your business, but it’s a lot on top of everything else. So I guess how are they going to enforce this? I guess more than, is it, if you get ordered it [00:29:00] thing or.

Rebekah: Yeah, from my understanding and again, check with your accountant, different people, different things disclaimer, but my understanding is that from this financial year, there will be a requirement for you to do it.

Rebekah: and your expenses will be impacted if you don’t. So the expenses that you normally put through, oh, here’s my stationery, here’s my education for that membership to that group, here’s this, that and everything else. They want the transparency around anything that’s connected to what you’re doing at home.

Rebekah: So that stationery, so that desk, that monitor, blah, blah, blah, they need to know that you’re using them. And I think also Speaking to the whole, it’s just another thing to add to the pile. The majority of freelancers I know save all of their accounting stuff and then they do it at BAS time or at income tax return time.

Rebekah: We need to get out of the habit of doing [00:30:00] that and it’s much easier to do it actually bit by bit, minute by minute, day by day because if you do get audited that’s the level that they go on to. And the second thing about the whole situation is it, I know, and this is the blog that I’ve written for this month.

Rebekah: It becomes a whole lot less stressful and much more benign if you do it. Every day I look at my money, every day I look at my time tracker, every day I put it all through, every day I put the receipts through. It just works so much easier. And you can also see The accounting time. So luckily I had, logged the accounting stuff prior to this, just in a big wedges and stuff like that.

Rebekah: And I’ve actually found that I’ve reduced the amount of time that I spend on accounting by about two thirds. Yeah, absolutely. I do similar. And since I. Yeah. I look at my rounded app for the bank account every day. I [00:31:00] also, once a month, I do, I have a day where I do a big business that I’ve changed it now.

Rebekah: It’s almost once a week. I just do business related stuff. And what it does mean is when when it’s time to do your bars every quarter or your ATO, like it literally takes me, I don’t know, like the bars, it probably takes 10 minutes. My, my end of year tax return probably takes. 45 maybe if I’ve got to find a couple of things.

Rebekah: And that’s it and it’s done and it’s all done. And, yeah it’s not, I’m not trying to say, oh I do all this and you should, but it really does make it just part. Of like an everyday task and you just do it and it’s done and it’s all right. And it takes a while to get used to using the tracking.

Rebekah: Like I’ve been tracking for a while now, like quite a few years, but it does take a while to get into that habit. But once you’re in it, it’s just second nature. You don’t even really think about it. [00:32:00]

Person Four: Yeah, and it

Rebekah: does, and it’s just it’s just so valuable from a basic point of view of managing your business and let alone some of the great suggestions that Bex just made, which I am going to look at my day rate.

Rebekah: The other thing is with it too, like I have an anxiety, thanks Rebekah, I have an anxiety disorder and a lot of my money, a lot of my anxiety is around money. And I would hold off on my accounts. I famously held off on my accounts for years and ended up in a bit of trouble. You can read about that in the blog that was published for March.

Rebekah: And I’ve learnt it the hard way and I’ve learnt it Holly and Ollie have both sort of treated me like a rescue puppy at various different stages, going, come on, it’s okay, it’s safe. And it has actually become a safe process. And it’s much more easy to manage. And one of the things that I do too, Rebekah, is I do it every day.

Rebekah: I have it there. If [00:33:00] I forget, I make a note on my scratch pad. So I use my, I draw my own journal. I’ve just put that blog up on there. On the, jungle website for everybody to read where I draw my day and then I put the notes and then I put it into the timer. So I’m constantly going backwards and forwards and stuff like that.

Rebekah: I’m putting in the expenses the first thing in the morning. So it’s 2 minutes of accounting a day, issuing the invoices, reconciling the banking through the bank feed. And what I do is at the beginning of each month, because that’s when I want to do my stuff. I have a life admin day. That’s what I do too, yeah.

Rebekah: It works really well for me. Yeah, like I’m quite particular, like I will do stuff every day anyway, but. Yeah. It’s good to have a big reflection on it once a month. Yeah, totally. And that’s when I plan to the direction and I put in the thing that says, okay, unashamedly creative, April, creative writing, [00:34:00] business coaching.

Rebekah: And then I do that. I run them all down. I make sure all of my labels are correct. And then I close March off and I keep the time sheet because they don’t keep all of the logs. So you download that stuff, but then you can compare and you can start to see the patterns that you’ve got there because data is power.

Rebekah: The more how much it costs you to sit in your chair, the more you will stop procrastinating. The more you will charge more money. And the more you can advocate when someone comes along and says, yeah, but I can get this on some cheap e bidding site if I have the price. So it works out that way as well.

Rebekah: I’m just scrolling up to a question. Can you add expenses to a project? Yeah, I do that. So you put the expenses in and you nominate which project [00:35:00] they go towards. I’m not going to show you my expenses and stuff because that’s my income knowledge and stuff. I’m trying to limit how much I give away in terms of my numbers for privacy reasons, but you can.

Rebekah: list that with the project and it’ll come up. So for example, one of the things that I noticed with the FJ is that it costs a lot more than the patron pays for. And that’s without even looking at my manual hours for me doing stuff. So it makes it kick me in the ass a little bit and go, do I really need that extra plugin?

Rebekah: As well as all the rest of it. And that’s the other thing too, if you do it month by month where you’re setting up your projects and everything, a quick scan, go into the year before, And look at April 2023. And go, all right, in this month, all of this stuff comes out, do I really need it? So I got rid of a shit ton worth of plugins that weren’t doing anything for WordPress sites that I wasn’t [00:36:00] using.

Rebekah: I found that I was paying for something that I wasn’t even, I had access to anymore. And all this sort of stuff, but check it as you go each month. And then also because they’re also competitive with each other, it’s a good opportunity to go, okay, I’ve got this Mac daddy fly social media scheduler, but Meta’s just cut off the entire Facebook from third party API in terms of groups.

Rebekah: Is it worth me keeping this at that level? If I knock out this, and this. So you can reduce money that way. And because they’re always changing too, it gives you the opportunity to go, okay, I’m using XYZ software and it’s been great, but they’ve gotten a bit lazy and taken my money. So what am I going to do about this?

Rebekah: So I don’t want have these Cadillac rates anymore. I might go to AppSumo and find the cheap version and start all over again with a new relationship. Lisa, with the question, with 2023 to 2024, 24 [00:37:00] to 25, honestly, I don’t know where the crossover is. I just know that Holly has said get ready, because it’s part of the whole parcel.

Rebekah: Again, check with your accountant, it would be the best thing. Bali has said, any tips for actual behaviour of time tracking for neurodivergence? I find I’m not quite sure. Commonly focusing on one task for a project for very long and often leaving between tasks. I cannot speak to the non neurotypical experience.

Rebekah: I do know there are friends in the audience that are non neurotypical. If they wish to share their experience, they’re welcome to. I’m not going to out you, not what I do. But I will speak from the point of view of someone who has what’s called a trauma informed brain, which, oddly enough, has the same sorts of characteristics, where we’re a little bit fragmented in our attention span and are attracted to dogs with puffy tails as they walk past. One of the things that I find is, when I’ve got the time tracker and I’m going, no, I’m doing my social media. I’ve got it. It actually stops me from doing [00:38:00] that because I know I’ve got the time tracker on social media. I’m logging all my stuff. I’m scheduling. Okay. I’m going to finish that. I write it on my scratch pad that I want to check out XYZ or that I’ve just remembered that I need to do whatever. And that’s why the journal comes in handy for me because I write the little tiny raindrops so that I go back to them. And then I have a scrappy moment where it’s like, Oh, I’ve got a bunch of admin, so I’ll just knock them all off. And that’s what happens. So I use it to actually glue me to the task at hand when my brain would like to go otherwise elsewhere. So hopefully that works. I also know that there’s certain things with Rounded’s having the tracker down at the bottom of the page. Many of you have mentioned that doesn’t work for you. I have highlighted that with Ollie. He said, look, there’s no plans to revisit it at the moment, but there are other options available to you and perhaps potentially using scratch pads as well might help you out with that or, [00:39:00] whatever.

Rebekah: I would suggest what you need to do in the first instance though, it’s like anything that’s a habit. If you are used to time going out from underneath you, focus on the big icebergs and then go chunk that into the timer. Chunk chunk, chunk, That’s not fair. I’ve actually been sitting here for seven hours.

Rebekah: Where’s the rest of the time gone? Ah, I remember now I was writing emails for 25 minutes and I can tell that from the last email that I sent to the first email. So you can do a little bit of research and pull them in as you go, but just make sure that you have the big points. And also the other thing is too, the ATO is looking for this information, but I don’t believe they’re actually looking for it to the point where they’re going to go, Hang on a second here, you’ve written this and I want proof that you spent 17 minutes doing XYZ.

Rebekah: So you can have little buckets that you fit things into. And so for a little bit of a giggle, I’m going to show you [00:40:00] through how I classify things. If anyone is here from the ATO, this is completely parody and comedy, and it is no way in reflecting my record keeping skills. So we’re just going to close that off.

Rebekah: But if we have a look, I’m going to clear that off just for April.

Rebekah: I’m not going to filter by project. I’m just going to talk you through this stuff and stop me when you get bored. So Time Tracker Event Prep. That’s literally me doing research and making sure that I can actually do this event with a little bit of confidence. Blog editing and posting. That was the blog editing that I did recently.

Rebekah: Rounded event promo. Bye. That’s literally me going to Facebook and going, Hey guys, the Time Tracker event’s on! And then going to Patreon and going, Hey guys, the Time Tracker event’s on! And then going to the Jungle Lounge and going, Hey guys, the Time Tracker’s on!

Rebekah: Sounds very sophisticated when you call it event [00:41:00] promo, but that’s literally what I’m doing. Emails is what they’re, community management. Community management is where I write those comments to you. I fluff the pillows, have the conversations with people. FJRL catch up. I spent an hour on the phone with someone this morning who does a similar project to me and we talked about a lot of different things but I’m still putting that down for the entire meeting.

Rebekah: All right, I’m not going to go okay we spent 17 and a half minutes on that and then we talked about that and then we did another three minutes on that. I’m just putting the whole thing in. Community management features a lot.

Rebekah: It’s social media, but then social media scheduling. And you’ll see that, for example, the social media for UN coaching is me actually saying, okay, how effective is this? Putting more content out to advertise my coaching saying what happened so that at the end of the month, I can go, okay, I spent X, Y, Z amount of time spruiking my coaching all over social media because I want more coaching clients. Was it actually [00:42:00] worth my time? Yes or no. Before I do another month’s worth of it. So that’s why that’s separated out there. The coaching and then the notes to M. So that’s the billable and then the administrative talking to somebody emails across the thing.

Rebekah: So emails for coaching and then just emails generally for my business, that sort of stuff, right? And you’ll see how it all breaks down. So the worksheet, the workbook, the Patreon works, all of this sort of things, but the community management link tree update. The ATO is not going to care about that, but I’ll write it up as something else at the end of the month, and it’ll look spickety span.

Rebekah: You can see what’s going on with everything and I can track I can go all the Google business listing. Oh shit. I started that I didn’t finish again. Another way of going back when my brain changes tack and I need a little bit of focus.

Rebekah: I can pull myself back in virtual co working and all that sort of stuff. Newsletter and blog posting so that I know how much [00:43:00] time everything is taking me.

Rebekah: It’s not like having terms that the ATO can understand. This is my stuff because I’m assuming that the level of stuff that they will need will be much higher level.

Rebekah: Do I track things like professional development as a work related thing? Yes, Carla, I do.

Rebekah: Fantastic question. And the way that I’m doing that at the moment, I’m currently studying counseling. I’m seeing that it’s personal development because it helps with my coaching. It also helps me with getting towards the counseling that I want to do. So what I’ve actually done with that is I’ve set that up as study.

Rebekah: So I have APIC or personal development. Actually, it should be AIPC. I’ve set my study place up as a, client and I’ve set it up for April, so I know how many hours I’m logging on my studies so that I can come through and have a look later and go, Oh, okay, it’s going to take me a hell of a lot more time than I anticipated [00:44:00] to do that degree if I’m only doing one hour a month.

Rebekah: So I’m going to change that and do more. And I do that with anything. I also do that with, Carla, I call it study when I do an hour’s worth of Patreon stuff, if I go and watch a Patreon video on how to do that better, if I go and read a blog for half an hour and I end up with a pen in my hand writing tips.

Rebekah: I call that study, or I call that content making.

Carla: Thank you. I can actually see that being beneficial for two reasons. Firstly just because what I do is just informed by research, and then there’s constantly changing and constantly evolving. Secondly to maintain my accreditation, I have to log hours.

Carla: That’s always like a little bit like my tax like it’s like a once a quarter catch up and then losing four days time and sleep. So good to come here today. The third thing too I just wanted to comment on was just I could see actually [00:45:00] even though this Kind of on my way, like doing all this detail, I could see my, but I could see it actually being really stress relieving because it I think just I really struggle and I don’t know whether a lot of freelancers are the same with just feeling like, where did my day go?

Carla: Especially when I have like health issues. But sometimes it takes me an hour to write a really difficult email. And I think if you can then look back on your day and go, okay, I did this, and then I did this, and then I did this, I think there is actually that can actually probably ease like a lot of anxiety for a lot of us.

Carla: Who can go yeah, my day has gone on worthwhile for things it’s, I did a reasonable amount in my eight hours, just like I would in a regular workplace, but I just have these higher expectations of myself now that I work for myself, that aren’t always helpful.

Rebekah: And if you hit the nail on the head, Carla, with that last line, especially the higher expectations on yourself.

Rebekah: Because [00:46:00] at our other jobs. We weren’t producing and creating and all the rest of it all the freaking time, but as freelancers, we seem to think that we have to be these, I don’t know, office hummingbirds where they were continually like flapping our wings and sucking down the nectar and getting to the next thing.

Rebekah: And yeah, I find it as someone who has imposter syndrome and gets really freaked out about work and all sorts of different stuff that goes along with it, that this has definitely helped me to go, that’s where my day is gone. That’s where that value is. And also that thing that you were talking about where you say, Oh, I took an hour to write a difficult email.

Rebekah: When you start noticing that you’re doing that. Sure. The You will actually find out that you will go, you know what, I don’t want to spend an hour writing that email in future. I’m going to write a template so that it’ll be a 15 minute job and I can customize it for whoever I’m sending it to. Because that’s the other thing that I’ve noticed too, is those emotional things that get caught up in our [00:47:00] head and we go, Oh my God.

Rebekah: Delete. and delete. Yep. You can process it out. You can get rid of it. And you can also do that whole thing of Oh my God, I did that thing. And nobody really worried about it. And the other thing that it’s helped me do, which is a bit strange, and I’m not sure how clients are coping with it, but I’ve started giving them feedback on their processes based on what I’ve got in the time tracker. So the agency I worked for last year, I went back to them and I said, you’re burning money by having all these meetings and you’re burning money by doing all of these things. And slowly over time, I trained them to be

Rebekah: better with their own habits, they actually listened and took it on board to their benefit. Another place, when I left them, because they were quite toxic, I gave them a two, two page thing saying, this is the things that we were dealing with. This is how your processes are breaking down.

Rebekah: Because I’d have one piece of work that I was trying to write for you. And then I’d give it to you. And then I’d give, and I’d have to be told to go [00:48:00] here and it would bounce around above and that person in the last minute would decline it. That piece of work that never went live took 17 and a half hours extra, just through bouncing through all these different people with opinions. Are you sure you want to keep going that

Carla: way? And there’s been jobs I’ve had that in clients that I’ve ended up not charging for just because I’ve felt bad.

Carla: And, it’s, see, I need to come and get a good dose, a lot more often than what I do.

Carla: I am available folks, I am available.

Rebekah: But it is true, it is, it’s this, thing because we go, oh crap, where did my day go? Why don’t I feel efficient? Most of the stuff, and I’m not trying to pass it back, but most of the stuff that we’re dealing with is that the workplace model is broken these days.

Rebekah: And Cal Newport said it best where people are like far more inclined to chime in on the email chain or chime in on the Slack channel [00:49:00] to make themselves feel like they’re producing, than sit down and do the creative and critical work required to actually make something of benefit. And we are caught up in the maelstrom.

Rebekah: We have no political capital because we are the outsiders appended to these businesses. We are already in a position where it can be very easy to isolate us or scapegoat us or forget about our needs. And we put up with so much and we try really hard and I’m sorry, I’ve never met a freelancer who isn’t emotionally invested in their work, you can tell me you’re here for the money and eventually we’ll go through the five why questions and we’ll find out exactly that it is the emotional connection that got you here, right? It’s there with everyone. Yet we live in this system where we internalize it, especially women, especially people from underrepresented communities, because that’s usually where we sit in the power dynamics.

Rebekah: And before we know it, we’re going, my whole day’s gone. I didn’t achieve anything. What is wrong with me? Now you’ve got a bloody log of it to say it’s not [00:50:00] you, it’s the system and you can either detach from it emotionally or you can teach them to be better. There’s your rant. You get one

Carla: of those.

Carla: That actually makes me feel like that real welling of emotion, like that just really hits hard. And that’s why I’m here. So thank you. Thank you. All right, Carla. Anytime. You’re welcome here.

Rebekah: Any questions or anything that they wanted to go through? We’re close to time, but I’ve got one space for one more.

Lauren: I’m guessing there’s no I think I know the answer to this in the rounded app itself. There’s no option for putting in a project cost and then working out how much. You charge, you have your hourly rate that you can put in. But if you are, if you tend to charge by project, there isn’t an option to say, this is a thousand dollars.

Lauren: Then you can see how much time you spend on it and how much you actually earned per hour kind of thing.

Rebekah: Yeah, there’s no reverse engineering, but you can use the time sheet to advocate for future [00:51:00] projects. Yeah. So that’s what I do. But I personally don’t use the hourly model unless I’m coaching and it’s, it is a little bit frustrating in that thing of I’d like to know that this 3000, Dollars that I’ve charged for this particular project, how far into the red I am on that.

Lauren: Yeah. But I think it’s an entirely different app. I obviously do that myself, but it, doesn’t it seems most of the timer apps are, they’re very hourly Yeah. Focused. I just thought I’d double check .

Rebekah: Yeah, and I think that’s the, issue that we’ve got here too is, that most of the softwares are designed in that way because people still lump us in with the gig economy.

Rebekah: Right, which is the fallacy because not everything that we do, in fact I would, argue that minimal amounts of what we do are built on an hourly basis. Yeah. Okay, cool. Thanks. No worries.

Rebekah: Thank you. for joining me [00:52:00] today. And let me know how you go with this time tracking thing.

Rebekah: Cause I think it’s really important. Okay. Yeah. Bye everyone.



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