Estimating and tracking time is a learned discipline that does not come easy to most, including ourselves. One practice we found useful was to implement a ’round up’ feature in Intervals, to round up our timers to the nearest one-eighth (.125) of an hour. Why one-eighth? Because it’s a nice, neat number and is usually the right amount for tracking phone calls, emails, and conversations; the little things that leak most of our time.
Rounding up time also makes it easier to estimate time calculations in your head — a useful skill for planning out your workday, estimating projects, and just getting things done. Based on past experience, we know that a task is going to be a ‘point-two-fiver’ or a ‘two-point-two-fiver.’ We’ve learned that tasks smaller than a ‘point-eight-seven-fiver’ are probably a waste of time, and that spending your morning on a ‘four-point-three-seven-fiver’ is nice because it means you are focused on one thing only.
If you are struggling with time tracking, try rounding up your time spent on each task. Choose an increment that works best for you (.25 may be more ideal) and bump up those time entries. This practice will increase your billable hours, make you more focused on the things that are trackable, and help you manage your day more effectively. And if your clients complain, then they are most likely the nickel-and-diming sort you’d be better off without.