Logging Work

I've been an independent contractor for a long time. I enjoy the work: software development, solution engineering, etc. But there are a couple things I don't enjoy; one is submitting my invoices.

On the surface it's not clear why this process is a drag. After-all it's the thing that's going to get you paid. What's the problem?

The problem is, you don't casually submit a request for money without indicating to the client what they are paying for: tasks and time. Even good contractors can't be bothered to track tasks and time. It's a pain, unrelated to the work, necessary all the same.

But the upside of keeping track of your tasks and time is peace of mind. If you know at any moment you can look up what you did on a certain day, it's unlikely there's going to be a dispute about whether or not you're owed the money you requested.

The way I accomplish this task in /tap is simple. It will take you a couple minutes to set it up and seconds during the days you work. For me it's turned a drag process into a dull hum (the pinnacle of excitement for time tracking).

These are the components:

Text Reminder

What did you do today?
Daily at 4:30 PM
  • Reply with a text or two describing what you did. I prefix my notes with a Folder

3. Finally create an Email Digest Spell that sends you an email of all the notes on the day you need to submit your invoice. For me it's on the first of the month.

Email Digest

Notes in /work/client
Monthly on Day 1 at 8:00 AM

On the first of the month you will receive an email with a breakdown of what you did each day, copy and paste that into your invoice, done.

Obviously there's lots of ways you can tweak this to suit your needs. For example, one thing I like to do is save the text message in step one as a Todo note. That way I can separately track whether or not I've missed logging any work days.