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Consultant Time Management – You Gotta Do It

By Michael Zipursky
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If you’re an independent consultant, time management will be one of the most critical areas to your consulting business.

Why so important?

  • You’ll know how long it takes you to complete each part of a project so you can quote it more accurately next time.
  • You’ll know whether you need to ask for more money, or if you’re righteous tell your client you were able to complete it in less time than expected.
  • Some of your clients will require you to show a time log of your work if you’re doing hourly projects.
  • For your own invoicing purposes. Especially for hourly projects it’s a quick and easy way to calculate total hours and your revenue.
  • And this also allows you to see how many hours you’re spending each day, week, and month on each client and project.

So know that we’ve established there is value in time tracking. How should you go about it?

There are many web applications that can help consultants with time management, such as:

* Disclaimer: Not all the above web apps have been tested. They may or may not suit your needs.

And if you’re old fashioned, want a free solution or simply prefer manually entering all this in yourself each day you can use a spread sheet.

Just set it up with the following columns in this order and you’re on your way:

  • Date
  • Client
  • Description
  • Hours
  • Hourly Rate
  • Total

Depending on how many clients you have and how small the type you use is, one page may be sufficient.

It’s not critical how you go about doing this, everyone has their own preference. But it’s clear, for consultants time management on a daily basis should be required.

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