• From Time Tracking Apps to Marketing — Where and Why Freelancers Should Invest

    When I used to work as a marketing consultant for a digital marketing company, I would talk to dozens of freelancers and SMEs every week. The main reason I heard constantly for not buying services was: “I just don’t have the money right now, I’m just starting out/short on funds.”

    Often, they would promise to ring me back the moment they had a few sales, or had found that investor, or the moment high season began.

    You won’t be shocked when I tell you that call rarely came, and I didn’t wait for it.

    Does that sound familiar? If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, every cent you make is to put food on your table — so investing it back in yourself and your new business might be the furthest thing from your mind. The key thing is, it’s just that — an investment.

    Take timekeeping software for your Mac, for instance. You could just use a clock, but you won’t get the same benefits of knowing where your time has gone. When money is so limited, though, you have to be extremely careful about just how you invest it… and just using a clock seems more appealing, but could cost you money in the long run. Whether it’s thousands of dollars on paid advertising, or fifty dollars on a time tracking app, the decision about where to put your money for the best return on investment is never an easy one.

    With years of experience of marketing, tools and apps, we’re here to break down what you should invest in, why, and when’s the right time to do so.

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  • Mental Health Challenges as a Freelancer — and How to Cope

    To celebrate May being mental health awareness month, we’re looking at the challenges faced by freelancers… and how to survive them.

    When you’re looking into the life of a freelancer from the outside, it can seem idyllic. No boss breathing down your neck, flexible hours, and the ability to make your own schedule. Who wouldn’t want to do that? So when you quit your job to finally work on the project or career you’ve been planning for years, there normally follows an intense period of euphoria… by the crash. You might put too much pressure on yourself and burn out or feel like you’re being ruled by Murphy’s Law.

    Freelancers are predicted to make up to 50% of the workforce by 2020, so it’s vitally important that awareness is raised about the mental health challenges that we face by taking our employment into our own hands. As a 2004 Australian study put it, “overall, self-employment was found to be associated with relatively few mental health benefits,” but why is that? What are the biggest challenges as a freelancer, and how do you make it a success while, most importantly, staying sane?

    As someone who’s been through possibly more than my fair share of mental health challenges, here are three of the biggest issues to be aware of when you’re considering going down the freelance route. If you’re already a freelancer, then now’s a good time to check in with yourself. Are your habits healthy, or are you heading towards a breakdown?

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  • Why Automated Time Tracking Apps Are the Ultimate Time Management Hack

    The best argument for why you should be using an automated time tracker: because life’s too short for being unproductive.

    If you’re even at all nerdy about how to improve your life skills, you’ve read articles saying that time tracking is how super-busy entrepreneurs stay sane, balanced, and become successful. It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg thing though, isn’t it? Which came first, the personality of that really successful person you’re aspiring to be, or their organizational skills? Have you found yourself reading about one of your business idols, and their morning routines, and thinking you will never have the discipline to be that strict with your time management?

    If you’ve been following along with our articles recently, you’ll have noticed a theme of time management skills. We started with goal setting and deciding your motivation behind tracking your time, then structuring your day effectively, and lastly how to turn these new skills into habits. One of the pieces of advice in the last article is that removing friction is one of the best ways to keep your new habits rolling. Time tracking apps are an integral part in effective time management skills, so why are they a source of so much anguish? If you’re not yet automating this part of the process, here’s why you should be.

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  • Optimize Your Life Using the Science Behind Building Habits

    You’ve been tracking your day and your time management skills are improving… now what? It’s time to make this new you stick, with scientifically proven methods to build new habits.

    Building and maintaining habits is hard. In fact, it’s so hard that Stephen Covey’s book on creating them is the number one bestseller in self-help on Amazon. It seems like the world badly wants more willpower — to get fit, rich, and more productive. That building habits is hard is the bad news, but the good news is that you no longer have to go off guesswork when trying to develop them. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by our last article on creating routines that work to structure your day, and be more productive, then you need to know the science behind creating habits.

    For decades, researchers have been looking into habits, willpower, and productivity. We can finally say that there are techniques that are scientifically proven to build new habits. We have information at our fingertips that makes this a simpler and less painful process than ever before. But what’s myth, and what’s tried and tested? Don’t just be another statistic of someone who failed to keep your new routines: turn them into habits that will last a lifetime.

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  • How to Structure Your Day Using Time Tracking Techniques

    Want to be more productive, have a better work-life balance, and reduce your stress levels? You need to start structuring your day.

    Getting real structure into your day, and sticking to it, isn’t something that comes easily. At least, not for most people out there. Without a doubt, though, structure is something we need more of. From entrepreneurs to studies in childhood development, we know the importance of self-discipline when it comes to delayed gratification. Without structured time management, hitting goals in our personal and professional lives can be near-impossible, something we looked at in more detail in our recent article on effective goal setting.

    If you’ve read that article already, you’ll know that it finished with some actionable tasks regarding why you want to time track, and what you hope to achieve from it. Now we’re going to talk about ways you can structure your day. Not one for long blocks of time? Need lots of play? Focus better when you’re tackling something large? Don’t worry, this isn’t a cookie-cutter plan for you to follow; it’s a way to create structure for your day in a way that is effective for who you are.

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  • Effective Goal Setting for Time Management Success

    Goal setting and time management go hand in hand, so how can you make sure your goal setting is effective, and your time management is successful?

    How do you set goals? Are you a Grant Cardone goal setter — setting big goals and taking massive action, or do you set S.M.A.R.T goals, making them all manageable and realistic? With so many different theories out there about which goals you should be setting, and how you should be going about it, it’s easy to lose track of why we set goals in the first place. We set goals to get more done, in less time. Essentially, goals are the foundation for time management — whether it’s managing a busy week, or achieving a five year plan.

    Today, we’re going back to basics and talking about how to set goals for your work day, that you can track in a specific, measurable way. This is the first part of a comprehensive set of articles about time management. By the end of the month, you’ll be tracking your time like a pro.

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  • Protect Your Privacy Online: a Complete Guide to Apps and Best Practices

    Billions of dollars are being stolen each year, so how do you protect yourself against the threats to your online security?

    We live in a time with more awareness, more techniques, and more tools for staying safe online than ever before. Yet last year in 2017, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in the U.S. alone, according to a study by Javelin Security. That’s 1.3 million victims more than in 2016, and amounts to $16.8 billion dollars being stolen — an average of around $1000 dollars per person. Most of the time, fraud costs you a couple of dollars, amounts that the fraudulent companies think consumers won’t notice or check. At worst, you could find your accounts completely maxed out before you have time to retaliate. As if this isn’t bad enough, everyone is gathering data on us through ads, trackers, cookies. Our footsteps across the web are emblazoned clearly, for all companies to see.

    We’re living in the most complex era for fraud and privacy prevention, and the technological advances constantly taking place around us are only increasing this complexity. The question is, how do we protect ourselves from trackers, hackers, and those collecting data? This month at Timing we’ve been focusing on privacy, starting with our article specifically about time tracking apps and privacy. We’re kicking it up a notch this comprehensive guide to protecting your data when using the internet. With the minefield of misinformation out there, this guide aims to simplify things and bring you only the facts.

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  • Time Tracking Apps & Privacy Concerns — How Can I Safely Track My Time?

    Big Brother is watching you. Or at least your employer, your clients, and countless strangers on the Internet are watching you. In 2018, no part of our lives seems to be private anymore — but at least there are attempts being made to regain our ‘right to be forgotten’. We’re three months away from the EU imposing their new data protection regulations, which means the spotlight is on what’s being done with our information. It’s a law which seems to be being treated alarmingly calmly by the majority of organizations, two-thirds of which reportedly aren’t prepared. Essentially, companies need to take better care of consumer information — or risk facing colossal fines.

    This is the first of two articles we’re publishing this month focusing on data protection and online privacy. If you’re concerned about time tracking apps tracking your personal information — not to mention Internet activity — we’re going to answer some of those questions. We’ll also tell you how (and why) to protect what you want to remain private. Because detail about what you’ve been doing is great… until it’s detail you don’t want, or simply too much. Whether you’re an employee using time tracking software, or a freelancer invoicing your clients, it’s your right to know where your information is going.

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  • Why (and How) You Should Schedule Time For Your Relationship

    Time tracking is for work… right? Think again. While it might seem unromantic to schedule time with your significant other, it can actually be the opposite.

    Do you remember the early days of your relationship, when you would move earth and heaven to make a date work? It didn’t matter if you were tired from work, just back from a trip, or had something else that mysteriously ‘just happened’ to get rescheduled, if you were really excited about someone you would make time to see them. What about now? Do you still make time for your partner?

    As February is the month of Valentine’s, it’s a good excuse to think about your lovelife — whether you subscribe to the idea of Valentine’s Day or not. Regardless if you’ve been together six months, a year, or married for ten, chances are you’ve fallen into a rut or five. Particularly if you live together, chances are you’re spending a lot of time in each other’s company without actually being together. Overtime, this will naturally lead to dissatisfaction in and the breakdown of your relationship.

    Aside from not wanting to lose your loved one, why is it important to work on being happy and present in a relationship? Well, studies show that when you’re in a fulfilling relationship, everything in life is better — from your performance at work to your cardiac health. We’ve come up with five different ways you can schedule time in your relationship, for a happier relationship and happier life.

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  • Mac Productivity Tools To Fall in Love With This Valentine's (2018 Edition) — Exclusive Discounts Inside!

    Want a little more romance in your life? It’s time to fall in love… with making your life more efficient this February.

    It’s nearly Valentine’s Day! If you don’t have big plans involving string quartets, chocolates, and candlelit dinners, that’s no reason to take all the romance out of your month. We believe that love can be everywhere this holiday, whether it’s in the eyes of your sweetheart across the table… or the attractive code of a piece of software you’re using to streamline your life. Yes, you read that right — it’s time to fall in love with some new Mac Apps!

    We don’t suggest you fall for just any Mac Apps, though. Just because it’s Valentine’s Day, no need to become a floozy about your app choices. We’ve compiled the best Mac Productivity tools which will make your life easier and more efficient. And why limit yourself to only falling in love once? There are so many great tools for simplifying your life, you can fall in love over and over and over again.

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  • Track Your Time Down to the Second — Mac Apps to Use With Timing

    Ever wondered if Timing can tell you not only which app you were using, but also what you were doing with it? Well, Timing’s pretty nifty at integrating itself with your work — here’s how.

    Imagine a world where you can tell exactly what you’ve been using your time for… down to the very second. How long did writing that email take? Did you procrastinate much on Facebook? Have you spent enough time working on all your projects? Sounds pretty efficient, right? The good news is, it’s not just something you have to imagine — or even go out of your way to achieve. From documents to communication tools, if you’re using Timing, then you could (and should) be tracking the minutiae of your day.

    In fact, Timing can track most apps that conform to macOS standards, meaning that there’s no setup or manual integrations for you. We’re going to run through the most common Timing-supported apps you might find yourself using, as well as some little tips and tricks to make using them even more efficient and seamless. For all these apps, Timing can track exactly what you have been doing, which makes it even easier for you to review your day and create adequate automation rules.

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  • Use the Snippets Technique with Timing to Stay on Top of Your Work

    Silicon Valley, the birthplace of Apple, Google, and Facebook, is a living legend thanks to the controversial stories that it has spawned. It’s now a well-established fact that Silicon Valley has spread far beyond the San Francisco bay to change the way we work. In some ways for the better and some for the worse… (cough misogynism in tech cough glorifying overworking cough).

    The fact remains, however, that Silicon Valley has been able to churn out companies that operate on a worldwide scale time and time again, which quickly become household names. So what’s the magic formula, and how can you get some? Well, it won’t turn you into Bill Gates overnight, but Snippeting is a good place to start. Let’s look at what it is, and how to effortlessly integrate the practice into your work week. Doing so will increase your productivity and help you establish what high-level tasks you accomplished, versus where you procrastinated or lost time.

    What are Snippets?

    If you haven’t already heard of Google Snippeting, the technique developed by Larry Schwimmer during Google’s growth phase, then it’s time you pull up a chair and learn about it. The simple but extremely effective habit of reflecting on your day or week has been called ‘snippeting,’ Snippets are short, weekly “micro-reports” where you fill in all the things you worked on and accomplished during this past week. This lets you instantly reflect on what you’ve been working on, making it much easier to answer the question “What the heck did I spend all that time on?”

    Come Friday, you simply write down all the things you did that week (that is, if you still remember them). If you are like us and have already forgotten half of these by then, that’s where Timing can help (more on that below). Whether you’re a hobbyist in the spare bedroom, a small business owner, or building a medium size company, you can use Timing and snippets to make yourself and your team more productive, more accountable, and generally just better.

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  • 7 Hacks to Turbocharge Your Productivity

    Feeling like time is slipping through your fingers, with no real concept of where it’s gone? It sounds like you’re in need of our productivity hacks. It’s time to take back control!

    At the end of 2017, we wrote an article on how to make 2018 your most productive year yet. If you haven’t read it yet and printed out the PDF for your wall, then go and do that now — we’re not even halfway through January, so there’s still time to set yourself some New Year’s resolutions. If you did read it and you set yourself New Year’s resolutions about timekeeping, how’s that going?

    Like many people, after the first week and the initial motivation has passed, you’re probably starting to falter on those things that you were “definitely, really going to do this year, honest.” So we thought we’d give you a little help and motivation by putting together this piece on hacks to make yourself the Terminator of productivity: an unstoppable machine who is going to dominate 2018 and make it yours.

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  • 10 Resolutions to Make 2018 Your Most Productive Year Yet

    Think that New Year’s resolutions are as passé as 2016’s software upgrades? That doesn’t mean that almost half of all Americans aren’t still making them. Of course that doesn’t mean they’re all keeping them, either, but resolutions can be a great chance to think about what you’d like to change from the previous year and what motivations you want to drive you this coming year. At Timing, we’ve been thinking about how we can be more productive — while also having lower stress levels and being happier, of course. We’ve put together these ten resolutions which we think will help make 2018 your most productive year yet.

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  • The Complete Guide to Mac Bookkeeping Tools

    If you’ve just made the leap from employment to freelancing or small-business ownership, or even if you’ve been doing it a while now, you’ve probably discovered the massive drain of keeping your accounts in order. It was all so simple when a different department was in charge, wasn’t it? Suddenly invoicing, payroll, tracking tax payments, and listing expenses seems to be taking up all the time you should be spending running your business.

    Timing is all about saving you time; it’s what we live and breathe for — so you’re in luck. We’ve put together a complete guide to Mac Bookkeeping Tools for small and medium businesses. So if you’re finding that when you review your day a large chunk of your time is going into your accounts, we’re about to save you from that. We’ve mainly focused on cloud-based accounting software — the benefit of which is that it’s accessible from anywhere and on any device, and you need to worry less about keeping that data backed up. Small business accounting software which isn’t in the cloud can suck up too much time and money. Imagine billing yourself at your hourly rate for your accounts. Is it worth it?

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  • Starting Out as a Freelancer? Here Are the 5 Steps You Need to Do Now

    You just quit your job! Congratulations, and welcome to the freelancer club. Before you put on your pajamas and enjoy trashy TV, though, you need to set yourself up for success.

    Fear. Excitement. More fear. A desire to eat a lot of carbs. The emotions you’re feeling if you’ve just handed in your notice are complex ones. And tempting though it might be, now isn’t the time to sit back and relax. Self-employment, small business ownership, or freelancing isn’t as simple as putting an ad in the paper and watching the money come in. Done right, freelancers are significantly happier. Done wrong, freelancing can burn you out, burn out your bank account, or both.

    How do you avoid that, and make the learning process of becoming your own boss as easy as possible? Here are the first five steps you need to take. Not tomorrow, or next week, but now. Which brings us directly to the first point.

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  • Burned Out? Improve Your Work-Life Balance with Timing

    Can something as simple as a time tracking application on your desktop change your mental, physical, and emotional health and well-being? Used creatively, yes! Here, we show you how.

    Person sitting on top of a clock dial with a MacBook on their lap

    If you were born in the 80s or 90s, you’re a millennial. And if you’re a millennial, then you’re probably stressed. It is official — we are the most stressed generation. This time of year doesn’t help either: The days are much shorter, meaning that by the time you look up from your laptop it’s dark, and the holiday season is approaching, pushing up your deadlines so you can take time off to be with your family. Don’t even get me started on the stress of being around your family, buying gifts, preparing for everything! By the time January comes, you need a holiday — but unfortunately, January is the worst month for mental health, so no chance of that, either…

    If you’re feeling tired just reading this, then you’re definitely at least one step too close to burning out. It’s time to put off making excuses, and start looking after yourself by recalibrating your work-life balance. Using Timing, we’re going to show you exactly how you can do this. After all, without your health you have nothing — so why use a time-tracking tool that doesn’t help you stay in the best health possible, to do your best work possible?

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  • Track your writing time with Ulysses and Timing — your chance to win a Ulysses subscription!

    Do you write? Whether you’re a professional writer or just enjoy writing as a hobby in your spare time — if you write a lot, you should have a look at Ulysses, the writing app for Mac, iPhone and iPad.

    The app is popular among freelance writers, bloggers and novelists alike and has even been awarded with an Apple Design Award in 2016!

    And with Ulysses 12 and Timing 2.2.1, we joined forces with the Ulysses team for much tighter integration between the apps, allowing for detailed tracking of your writing time.

    Read on for more details on Ulysses and the integration, as well as the chance to win one of five one-year subscriptions for Ulysses!

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  • How to accept payments for your digital products — without losing your mind about taxes 💵 🖥

    In the latest episode of Core Intuition, Daniel Jalkut talks about switching from PayPal to Stripe as the payment method for his Mac app MarsEdit. This sparked a discussion on the corresponding Slack team about the pros and cons of different ways to handle selling your digital products.

    European VAT rules, accounting and other distractions make this harder than you think!

    In this article, I will outline the common payment options for digital products and their individual advantages and disadvantages. This is from the perspective of a Mac developer, but apart from the licensing aspect, it applies to all other digital products as well, including SaaS subscriptions and online courses.

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  • What we learned evolving an App through 20 (!) Alphas and 10 Betas

    One month ago (on May 9th, 2017), Timing 2 was released. Time for some navel-gazing!

    More seriously, development started in April 2016 and the app’s interface changed quite a bit over the course of those 13 months:

    Timing 2 Alpha 1 vs Timing 2.0 final. Significant differences, yet recognizably

    This article illustrates how an app’s UI evolves during development, and highlights some subtle but important changes.

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