The basic idea is pretty simple: use Excel as a piece of magic graph paper, with individual worksheets fulfilling different functions. There are three kinds of worksheets in my Time Tracker workbook:
A scrolling Time Sheet, used to record time
spent in each project in quarter-hour increments. The time entry system
uses 2400 time, and automatically calculates hours from it. The
spreadsheet is also designed to be easily sorted so I can extract
per-project hour information. I start from January and close it at
December. And, it also works as a pretty decent day-to-day To-Do List that allows for slippage. I start a new one every year.
A client information notepad, used to record
contact information about clients like assigned passwords, database
info for my various websites, FAX numbers, and other information that’s
useful to have in the day-to-day. The reason why it’s in this workbook
in the first place is that I try to put as much related information
into a single place as possible; I have this file open all day, and
it’s just easier to know that I can look things up in this file. The
entire file is password protected to keep prying eyes from casually inspecting the file.
Finally, there are various hour invoicing worksheets, one for each job. Because of the way the Time Sheet is set up, it’s relatively easy (but not automatic unfortunately) to extract the hours and keep them here as a running total month-by-month.