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Activity Level needs improvement

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
11 of 27

Talal,

 

If the American phone company AT&T could keep track of the minute-by-minute time of long distance calls 40 years ago, there is technology available today to do the same for more accurate time tracking by the TimeTracker software.

 

I have a good number of client and prospective client calls, exchange emails, work on projects, etc. throughout each weekday. Demanding that I can only work on one client's project over each 10 minute period - of which there are 60 on my 10-hour workdays - is clunky and unnecessarily restrictive.

 

And it appears to me a dishonest freelancer can bill a client for 20 minutes when the freelancer has only actually worked on the client's project for less than 10 minutes.

 

Upwork, please bring TimeTracker into the 21st century! (OK, so I know you'll ignore this request. But a freelancer can dream, can't he?)

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
12 of 27

Will L wrote:

 

 

And it appears to me a dishonest freelancer can bill a client for 20 minutes when the freelancer has only actually worked on the client's project for less than 10 minutes.

 


There would be no payment protection in this case, because activity levels for the second segment (or at least one of the segments) would be very low. 

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
13 of 27

It would have been fun to watch the reaction of the American public and US federal and state telecom regulators if AT&T had told its long-distance customers (every household in America) in the 1970s:

 

"We are going to bill your long-distance services only in 10-minute increments. So, if your call, or a portion of your call beyond a multiple of 10 minutes, is less than a certain number, we won't bill you for that call or portion of your call. If the segment is above a certain number of minutes between 0 and 10 minutes, we will bill you for a full 10 minutes.

 

We won't tell you what the minimum segment of minutes applies to billing/non-billing. But just trust us on that point; our billing system will handle all of those calculations for you.

 

Thank you for using AT&T."

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Community Leader
Julie J Member Since: Jan 28, 2019
14 of 27

If the client looks at the work diary and sees the activity levels of 2 out of 10 minutes for example,  they don't know that's how the tracker works.  I assume they would think I'm charging for time but not doing work on their project.  In my mind that reflects badly on me.

I try to log on and off at the 10 minute mark but always check the work diary and delete any segments that make it look like I'm a lazy slacker. 

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Active Member
Talal B Member Since: Jan 13, 2020
15 of 27

Yes exactly. Thankfully I haven't run into problems with a client yet because they already are quite happy with how fast I'm working, but it could easily have led me to potentially losing future work or getting negative feedback. 

 

Now I have to incorporate this tedious checking & deleting those "bad" segments when I should be focusing on delivering quality work for my clients on time and improving/refining my workflows.

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
16 of 27

Talal B wrote:

Yes exactly. Thankfully I haven't run into problems with a client yet because they already are quite happy with how fast I'm working, but it could easily have led me to potentially losing future work or getting negative feedback. 

 

Now I have to incorporate this tedious checking & deleting those "bad" segments when I should be focusing on delivering quality work for my clients on time and improving/refining my workflows.


If it helps at all, I've had plenty of low activity segments and never once had a client dispute my hours. Probably jinxing myself by saying that though. lol I think as long as A) you deliver and are productive and B) it's not like a full hour of low activity where it's obvious you're doing nothing.

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Active Member
Talal B Member Since: Jan 13, 2020
17 of 27

Jennifer M wrote:

If it helps at all, I've had plenty of low activity segments and never once had a client dispute my hours. Probably jinxing myself by saying that though. lol I think as long as A) you deliver and are productive and B) it's not like a full hour of low activity where it's obvious you're doing nothing.


That does help and thanks for your input Smiley Very Happy

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
18 of 27

Julie J wrote:

If the client looks at the work diary and sees the activity levels of 2 out of 10 minutes for example,  they don't know that's how the tracker works.  I assume they would think I'm charging for time but not doing work on their project.  In my mind that reflects badly on me.

I try to log on and off at the 10 minute mark but always check the work diary and delete any segments that make it look like I'm a lazy slacker. 


I actually don't delete segments with low activity (I know some people do). I know it's not protected, but my diary usually has a low activity segment and then a high one the next segment. I usually have low activity for maybe 3-4 segments for each long session (like 5+ hours). 

 

I delete maybe the first segment if I'm totally not thinking about it and just start the tracker at the 9 min mark. I've gotten really good at remembering to start somewhere between the 0-3 mark.

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
19 of 27

Julie,

 

Neither Upwork nor clients should expect freelancers to have to end each workday by checking and, if necessary, adjusting the time TimeTracker has actually tracked for their work that day.

 

On any given day I have at least three communications or work segments with at least four of my usual 10 - 15 total Upwork clients. If I have to compare those 12 client interactions for their actual time (as tracked in a separate piece of software) against what TimeTracker has allocated in 10 minute segments, that's probably going to take me about 15 minutes per day. If I only work five days a week (that would be nice), that works out to 75 minutes per week adjusting TimeTracker (or 60 -65 hours per year, the equivalent of 1.5 full 40-hour weeks per year).

 

There is no reason any freelancer should think that amount of free work each year is acceptable.

 

 

 

 

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Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
20 of 27

In my industry, it's the norm to round up time segments to the nearest 15 minutes. I've worked for at least 100 different creative agencies in Canada, Ireland, Australia, and the UK (to name a few), and it's always been the case that even if you do something for 30 seconds, you round it up to the nearest 15 minutes. So, I don't think that the 10-minute thing is a big deal, and none of my clients have ever queried a few minutes' discrepency here or there. What's the alternative - you finish a job but you're not at the end of a perfect 10-minute segment, so you just randomly mouse click until the time is up? Nah.

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