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Time Tracking Templates for the Home Office

written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 2/17/2010

Time tracking templates are a must for the home office. I’ve compiled a few resources here for you to generate your own in order for you to manage your time wisely. Just remember that using and adhering to a plan laid out on a time tracking document is far better than having a boss lurking about.

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    Make the Best Use of your Time at your Home Office by Keeping Track of What you Do When

    The time tracking template offerings gathered for your convenience and just a simple click away are here to help you stay on track at the home office. Organization, self-discipline, and time-management skills are of utmost importance in successfully running a business from home. There are so many distractions at home and it’s so easy to get pulled away from the task at hand. Having a good system in place to monitor how you’re spending your time, and give you a little nudge when you need it, is very helpful. Sometimes you might not even be aware of how your workload is divvied up on a daily basis until you look back at it.

    A time tracking template pulls double duty by both keeping you on task according to the plan and making it much easier to bill your clients if you’re providing a service that is billable by the hour. If you’re a desktop publishing freelancer or in graphic design your clients will want an accountability of what they’re paying you for. Even if you don’t charge by the hour but by some flat rate for a project of something like 100 brochures for example; you’ll want to know how much time it’s taking to accomplish that task so you don’t short change yourself. It’s a means of studying your workflow in a constantly changing economy so that you can adapt to changing demands and set competitive rates that will still turn you a profit.

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    Make Good Use of Time with a Template

    A time tracking template can be a very simple document and for starters, it might behoove you to keep it as basic as possible. There are some exceptional software programs (which are essentially templates) that I pinpoint below. Those are much more involved and integrated. But sometimes it’s better to take some small steps first to get you in the habit, rather than overwhelm you with a whole lot of factors and data you haven’t even considered yet.

    So here is a free and self-explanatory template for use with Microsoft Excel called Weekly time sheet by client and project. Another time tracker template available at Microsoft Office Online simply called the To do list with time tracking. This one is available in OneNote which comes standard in the Microsoft Office Suite. And here’s an excellent tutorial to use the pre-installed templates on Excel for use in monitoring your activities. So long as we’re talking about Microsoft it’s worth noting that if you already use their Outlook product for calendars and email then accessing the “Journal" feature offers methods for tracking everything you do using Microsoft Office as well as telephone calls, meetings and the like.

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    Software Options with Built-In Templates

    TimeWriter is a good option when it comes to time tracking software that offers many different template formats. This application is extremely comprehensive and intertwines all aspects of your business to help you maintain your budget, invoices, and manage each and every project. It can generate all kinds of reports on different parameters to let you know what hours are spent on a product/service, to a customer, or any specified aspect the home office needs to track. Pie charts and graphs galore if you like the visuals.

    Another good user-friendly option for premium software designed for being the Big Brother to all your routines is OfficeTime which practically give you demerits when it senses that you've been idle too long. Project Clock has an integrated time checking and billing system plus it can be used by several computers on a network which can be handy when you go mobile with your lap top to a customer.

    If you’ve got some employees and you want to keep them on task, Bright Hub is here to help you with your project management needs as well. Scouring the net for some free resources to keep your expenses low, our article base is an extremely effective tool kit to help the home office operate at peak efficiency. For instance, take a look at the comprehensive list entitled Free Time Management Resources for Project Managers that will prevent you from having to buy expensive software designed for essentially the same purpose. One of these many valuable resources above for the small business owner is going to work well in organizing and prioritizing day to day operations.