Tag: billable time

Billable VS Non-Billable hours: how to stay profitable knowing how to calculate and time tracking them

Many professionals working on hourly assignments know how complicated it is to properly track their billable work

And while they work for their clients, they also perform several activities that don’t add up to the customer’s invoice. Despite this, these billable hours vs actual hours worked cost the worker time and money

It is very common to struggle to properly track and balance non-billable and billable time, even if you are law firms, a medium, or a big company with solid experience and expertise. 

This article will show how to calculate the billable work you have done, differentiating it from the non-billable time. To do that we will ask for a little bit of help from technology and our time tracking software, Timeneye.  

Billable VS Non- Billable Hours: what are the differences and how to calculate them

To strike a balance and reach profitability, companies must be very careful about how they calculate the total hours worked and classify them as billable or non-billable time

This is a key point for not just companies or law firms but also freelancers and solopreneurs; they all share the same problem and struggle to find the right billable hours calculator or time tracking software

But first, what do billable and non-billable hours mean when we consider all of the hours worked during a day? How can we divide billable hours vs actual hours spent on working, gaining capabilities and knowledge to better hand in that project? 

Hours worked – When you should and should not consider as billable your work time

Freshbooks.com has mentioned all those activities that are usually considered as billable and the others that should not be included on the bill to your client

Billable Hours Non-Billable Hours 
Studying/making research for the project Time spent on meetings, calls, and emails with the clients before having signed the contract 
Market research for the project Pitch to the client, even though it regarded the project you later have done for him/her 
Project planning and timelines Workshops, webinars and courses to gain new professional skills 
Meeting (both in person and online) What’s behind the goals and tasks of the project that the contract does not include 
Writing and replying to emails Networking meetings 
Doing the actual work for the project Rework, mistakes, or new versions of the project required by personal mistakes or change of direction 
Checking the work and making reworks or adjustments after the client’s feedback Time spent on collecting receipts, calculating the time spent/ accountant consultancy regarding the invoice to the client 

How to Track Billable and Non-Billable Hours

The first tip that we would like to share with you is to keep track of the hours worked every single time. Do not do that at the end of the project because as long as time goes, by the more you will lose track of how much time you spent on billable or non-billable activities. 
Also, we would like to suggest you make a time log or a timesheet to later bill your clients
For the small project, it is possible to do that manually, creating spreadsheets with single different columns for each activity you are working on; this also adds activities’ descriptions, the date, and the amount of time you spent on them. 

In Timeneye we would recommend you rely on a time tracking software able to easily track all your activities (emails, meetings, actual work performed on the project) with just a single click. 

Thanks to Timeneye’s help, let us see how you can track time, distinguish billable and non-billable activities, and get the data you need to evaluate how you have been handling your projects. 

Set your personal billable hours calculator with Timeneye

When you calculate profitability, you cannot rely on guesstimates. 

Also, spreadsheets become unmanageable if you start working with lots of data

To keep track of the billable hours vs actual hours worked, a digital time tracker provides you with more accurate data

Timeneye lets you create billable projects and set hourly rates for the whole project (if you work solo) or for each employee (for companies). 

Timeneye dashboard

You don’t have to make difficult calculations every time because the platform will show the totals to you. 

After you’ve started tracking your billable time, make sure to keep track of how much you have already invoiced your client, and how much is left. This is crucial for creating accurate invoices, to avoid overcharging or undercharging the client. 

In Timeneye, you can mark every time minute as billable (still to be included in the invoice) and billed (that you have already charged). 

Tracking non-billable work shines a light on the activities of your business. This piece of information is what you should know to improve productivity and, most importantly, keep an eye on profitability

Within a billable project, for example, there can also be some activities that you cannot bill the client and include in the invoice. But those activities must end up in your timesheet otherwise you’ll never know about them. 

Create detailed time reports

The great thing about using time tracking software is that the data is available for reporting and evaluation

You can export all the time you track, take a look at how the time was used and identify cost sinks. 

In this way, you will make a habit of running reports on the billable and non-billable activities of your business. 

This serves several purposes: 

  1. Transparency with the client: you can export a detailed timesheet of the activities you carried out for the client and attach it to the invoice; 
  1. Internal evaluation and analysis
  1. Transparency within the business

Analyze, adjust, repeat: get insights from your work time

Time tracking data is not just a mere calculation of how many hours you have worked, they also give you insights into where, how, and why you spend your time into that particular manner. 

It’s not enough to run reports to count the amounts you have to invoice. You also have to ask yourself if you’re using that time in the best way possible

Let’s say you invoice a project for a certain $$$ amount. Then, you look at the time tracking data, and you find out that or that project/client you have spent an enormous amount of time just in taking care of emails. 

That time is difficult to bill your client, but these hours have already gone and you cannot take them back; they have a cost on your business! 

Having learned from that lesson means that you can take action for future projects to make sure you communicate better with the clients you have. Perhaps you can invest in a communication tool. Or, you can simply set better communication rules with your client to avoid drowning in the endless sea of email. 

Or, let’s say you offer a free marketing analysis of your client’s business included in your client’s contact. You don’t charge the client for it.  

This may seem a good idea to attract new customers in the short term, but if you find out that that analysis took you more time and cost you more than other phases of the project, you may want to reconsider your offer

Calculate your profitability and your hourly rates

If you know the hourly costs of your business, you can for sure estimate your hourly rates; this means you can calculate your profitability. 

You should always keep track of this calculation by comparing how much money you have earned to the costs that the project has required you; this is to avoid your precious time and money going down the drain. 

Timeneye is not just a brilliant time tracking software but it also makes this calculation automatically so you don’t have to lose time filling spreadsheets over and over again. 

Time Management: projects priorities and how to track them

You know the old saying “Time flies when you’re having fun?”. 

Turns out, time also flies if you’re not in control of your day. This tends to happen if you can’t manage your daily tasks and lack some time management skills that would make you able to save a lot of time. 

Keeping track of time is generally a good way to keep productive all day. If you track time for the tasks you work on each day you will briefly improve your project planning and you will be an expert in avoiding time-wasting activities

Thanks to Timeneye we will show you how to check your work time and see if you allocate the right amount of time to your tasks and if, in the end, you can achieve your goals and objectives

But before we put our hands in the dough and start tracking time, let us see if you have a fruitful approach to time and are interested in developing some time management skills. 

From the Eisenhower Matrix to the time tracking software, Timeneye.  Here is how to prioritise tasks and check the time spent on each of them.

Dwight D. Eisenhower is considered the precursor of time management

He was twice President of the United States and a five-star general during World War II, he created NASA, he ended the Korean War, and made Alaska and Hawaii part of the union. 

These are not even all of the activities that he took care of during his life and, there is no need to highlight that he was a very productive and highly focused person

Eisenhower pointed out the difference between urgent and important saying that what is urgent is not important and what is important is not urgent. 

And it is from this Eisenhower’s thought that was born the so-called “Eisenhower’s matrix.” 

The Eisenhower Matrix

 Urgent Not Urgent 
Important Do it: Under this list go all of those activities that already meet a deadline and consequences if not taken or done. Handing in the last project before summer holidays; Picking up the suit before wedding’s day; Buying a present to your partner’s birthday. Plan it: Tasks and activities that do not meet a deadline yet but they move you closer to your goals and objectives. They are both important but it often occurs that they get postponed since they do not meet a deadline. Long courses able to boost your career; Starting a new sport able to help your posture; Networking events. 
Not Important Delegate it:  Those activities that have to be done but they do not require any of your peculiar capabilities. Washing your car; Answering some emails; Scheduling.  Delete it: Enjoyable but distractive activities that make you feel fine in the moment and guilty afterwards. They are important for a balanced and fun life but only if done with moderation. Watching TV or binge-watching Netflix; Eating junk food; Going shopping. 

The Eisenhower Matrix is important because it differentiates activities in order of priority as long-term and short-term ones

To develop time management skills, it is important to understand what needs our attention or does not need it (DELEGATE IT), what needs immediate prioritization to avoid any trouble (DO IT), what might be considered superfluous (DELETE IT), and, also, what should be kept in mind to meet our goals (PLAN IT). 

To sum up we need to ask ourselves two main questions:

  1. Is this activity important to me? 
  2. Is this activity urgent for me? 

After having replied to these questions we can feel ready to start a task and, while working on it, keep track of the time it requires us. 
A time tracker is useful to prevent time-wasting tasks and improve our project planning to achieve our goals and objectives. 

And it is here that time management meets technology developing time managing tools able to avoid the mess of spreadsheets that become impossible to read, inaccurate guesstimates, and a lot of manual labor made of filling cells and tables. 

So the best way to track time spent a daily task is to rely on a time tracking software such as Timeneye! 

tracking project time - Timeneye dashboard

Timeneye and how to track time on different tasks

Timeneye let users track time effectively, but it integrates with several popular tasks and to-do list software. Timeneye isn’t just a timesheet, but it adds several visual reporting tools to see where the time went and helps you to better project planning and develop your time management skills. 

It is easy to see exactly where your time went and, in the end, evaluate if that were an important/urgent activity that needed your time or that could wait. 

But let us start seeing the advantages that a time tracking tool like Timeneye can offer you to make time tracking a daily working habit of yours

Let us set it up! 

Sign up, open your project, and start tracking time with Timeneye 

First, get started by signing up for the time your tracking software account (in Timeneye you can do it from the website). Then, what you have to do is create your first project

new project to track time - Timeneye

When you track time, be accurate as much as you can so you will not forget the “email-answering time” or the numerous meetings requested by your client. 
Tracking your whole time on a project is a perfect way to bill properly your client because in this way you are aware of the billable vs non-billable hours you have worked on. 

As you set your projects in Timeneye, you will also break them down into phases.

Every content marketing activity will require you some time, as shown in this Timeneye project view. 

And now you can track your time, making sure you assign the right amount of time to the correct project and phase you’re working on. 

project's phases to track time - Timeneye

Connect Timeneye and Todo List Apps 

If at work you are already using to-do lists and a project management software, you can just add Timeneye’s time tracker to them

In this way, you won’t have to switch between multiple tabsand you will focus on the task, just right where you are. 

Track time - Timeneye integrations

Timeneye also tracks the time you spent on each task thanks to native connections and to its handy Timeneye Browser extension. 

  • To track time for Asana’s tasks and Basecamp to-dos use a combination of the browser widgets for starting timers. You can also just leave a comment on the task/todo with the time spent on the project; 
  • To track time for Clickup and Microsoft Planner sync your ClickUp project and Microsoft Planner plan with Timeneye. Then use the Timeneye Browser widget to track time; 
  • To track time in Todoist, Taskade, Microsoft To-Do, and Trello, use the combination of the Timeneye Browser widgets and use the widget button to track time. 

The integrations will link the time you track to the specific task you’re working on

How to know what the most time-wasting tasks are

A time audit will show you how you have allocated your time across your projects and it makes you know what project, task or client has been taking most of your time

Timeneye is a time tracking tool that automatically saves data on the software each time you track your time. 

In this way you can take advantage of the data and get time insights; it’s waaay more efficient than extracting data from endless spreadsheet rows, or worse, relying on your memory and guess on whose activities you have worked on during the last month. 

For example, in Timeneye’s personal report section, you can check how you have been using the time across all the projects.

data about projects'time and phases - extract reports with Timeneye

How to know how much money you should spend on repetitive tasks?

You can use a calendar to get organized and track your repetitive tasks

You can create recurring events for the task you do often, and then sync your calendar with Timeneye directly from your Outlook Calendar and Google Calendar Integration. 

Using a calendar for productivity is not only useful to remember tasks and appointments, but also for time blocking or deep work

If the calendar event is synced in Timeneye, all you need to do is to look for it in the Timeneye dashboard and use the suggestion to track time. 

We might now say that time management is something in between our organization and ability to recognize urgent and important activities and tricks and tools able to make our life easier to avoid distractions and interruptions, manual labor, or silly, repetitive tasks. 

First of all, we would need to focus on our time management skills and see how able we are to prioritize, delegate and delete non-important activities. 

Once we are confident and we know what to do and when to do it, we can rely on time tracking software, such as Timeneye, to enrich our time management skills and check how much time a task requires us

In this way it is up to us to decide if we want to put more energy into improving our work performance or, in case it is not worth it, it would be better to just leave it and not taking similar commitments in the future

Time management plus time tracking tools not only make us save a lot of time but they also make our business flourish

Give it a try and sign up for a free 30-day Timeneye trial! 

Your time is priceless, take better care of it

Start managing your time in Timeneye with a 30-day trial.

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