Hi Heidi! Tell us a bit about what you do.
I’m a marketing consultant based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I run my own consultancy, Stellaris Marketing Consulting, and we specialise in tech that is changing consumer behaviour like artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, bitcoin, fintech, drones and the Internet of Things.
We’re a team of 3 people and we all work either remotely from home, from our favourite co-working space (Mesh Club) or at a client’s premises. Every day is different and we’re constantly on the go!
Why is time tracking important for you?
As consultants, we bill by the hour and we need to be completely transparent with our clients about how we spend our time. We’re often working on multiple projects at once and keeping track of time spent was quite time consuming until we started using Timely.
So, what made you choose Timely for the job?
It essentially comes down to having an accurate overview of everything I care about. I’m heavily reliant on digital tools to keep on top of things, and I tend to digitally diarise every possible activity I do. When I linked my calendar and other apps (like Gmail) to Timely, I was able to get granular detail for every minute of the day, whether it was driving, being in meetings, writing mails, being on conference calls or simply getting projects done. Timely has helped me pinpoint how much time I spend on different things, showing what I need to do to improve my efficiency.
Have you tried any other time tracking tools?
Before Timely, I tracked my time in Freshbooks and by recording time in my calendar and 'tagging' it to a specific client, but there was low detail in what I actually did in that time. With Timely, I can literally see how I spent every minute of the day and on what. I wish I had a Timely for the analogue parts of my day too!
What do you use Timely for at Stellaris?
We use it to track time spent working on client projects, which helps us to bill more accurately for our work. It’s a great replacement for timesheets, and drastically reduces the time I spend on administration and billing.
But Timely’s also helped me address my own productivity. One of the first things I noticed since I started using it, was how much I multitask and frequently switch between different projects. It’s a way of working that made me feel super busy all the time, but I never felt like things were getting finished. I’ve now switched to doing fewer things at once, focusing on one thing at a time and finishing it before moving on to the next thing.
What’s the biggest benefit of Timely for you?
Probably the sheer simplicity of use. Right from first download, Timely’s Memory Tracker is already integrated with all my work apps, so I don’t need to “initiate” time tracking on anything; it just does it automatically for me. It does have a few extra specialized integrations which give you more detail (calendars, GPS location, email), but these can be activated in one click.
With previous tools, I always had to switch the time tracking on and off manually and, even then, it didn’t account for interruptions or switching between multiple activities. That manual approach just didn’t give me the same level of accuracy or reliability as automatic time tracking.
Any Timely set-up tips?
Don’t be scared to integrate ALL the apps – the more you add, the more accurate your time tracking.
It’s completely up to you when and where you log your time, but I spend five minutes a day checking my recorded activity and tagging it to the relevant client, so everything is ordered when it’s time to bill.
Any final advice for others researching tools?
Don’t even bother; just use Timely.