Freckle


2
Dec 13

Freckle is 5!

Freckle launched on December 1, 2008!

Thank you, our awesome customers, for using Freckle!

For our the 6th year, we’ve some really cool things planned which we will reveal over the next few months! Stay tuned! :)

Slash7-Final-HiRes-11

Your Freckle Team!


22
Nov 13

5 ways to get your team to happily track time

If you run a business and bill by the hour you know how important it is to keep track of time. You want to bill on time, and all the hours that have actually been worked.

Here’s 5 things you can do to improve time tracking discipline!

1. Have your time tracking come to your team
It’s easy to forget to track time in the hustle and bustle of daily work. How awesome would it be if your time tracking software comes to your team members, instead of waiting for them to come to it?

Freckle sends out a weekly email report every Monday morning of your local time (Freckle detects it automatically, so you don’t have to configure anything) to your team members to remind them to review last week’s logged time. If you wish, you get a second email containing summaries for all activity on your Freckle account.

2. Keep a stopwatch at the ready
Time tracking should be simple, fast and easy. You don’t want to have to look up a URL, sign in, wait for the page to load, navigate to where you can track time and then possible have to configure things beforehand. “I love to configure things!”, said no one ever.

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 9.55.24 AM

With Freckle, you can put the timer in a bookmarklet and always have it just one click away. The Timer stores notes (and makes sure they survive a browser crash or computer change) and you can easily switch between projects you’re working on with just one click.

3. Empower the power-users
Using a mouse is so 1963. For power-users and developers that are at home in the terminal nothing is more aggravating than having to switch away from the keyboard.

In Freckle, you can very easily log time without using your mouse. The quickentry box, which is available on every page in Freckle,supports entering dates, times, projects and descriptions via the keyboard, so a sequence like "11/4 3<tab>P<tab>#a<tab><return>" will log 3 hours on November 4, for the first project found that starts with a “P” and the first hashtag that starts with “a”. You can even create new projects and tags this way. Beyond that, with the Freckle API, you can happily log time from the command line, and with the Beanstalk and Github integrations you can do the same from commit messages.

4. Remove upfront configuration
We said it before, but it’s so important: in the heat of the moment, on the phone with a new client or in the middle of fixing that pesky bug, or when you draw that design for your new “Snapchat Killer” app—you don’t want to have to figure out how your time tracking app works. In Freckle, you can log time to a new project directly from the time entry box and configure the details, like budgets, later.

5. Use software that strives to be friendly & cheerful
Software doesn’t have to hurt. Or, if you’re a glass-half-full kind of person (and we are), good software is cheerful software: it behaves cheerfully, and it leaves you cheerful, too. Good software is like a good concierge: there when you need it, with what you need in hand, fading away magically into the background when you don’t need it. Time tracking is a chore for your team, but great software can help ease the pain and even make it fun! (That’s a customer quote!)

Don’t have a Freckle account? Start your free 30-day trial today!


31
Oct 13

Zombie Clients: are they eating your brains?!

They’re insidious. They’re hungry. They’re hard to kill.

And this Halloween, we’re going to help you with your double taps.

Bad clients are a plague. You might even feel like they’re cracking
your skull like a breakfast egg and devouring your precious, precious brains.

And no matter how many wrap-ups you do, their projects refuse to die.

That’s how you know you’re dealing with a Zombie Client.

But fear not! Whether you have an established team, or you’re just starting out, you can survive this plague.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 11.19.58 AM

Grab Freckle’s free 11-page survival guide and fend of the impending zombie client apocalypse!

Happy Halloween!


29
Oct 13

Where did the time go?

It’s the end of the month and you’re asking yourself the age-old question: “Where did the time go?”

  • You know you were busy, but you can’t pinpoint exactly what you worked on
  • On some days, the office was bustling with activity
  • But on other days it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop

Worst of all, it seems to be impossible to plan for when those unproductive days happen.

And what about next month? Will you only be productive for the first week, then spend the rest of it dealing with administrative crap?

Or worse, you might be missing out on the chance to grow your business because you can’t see opportunities amid the flurries of activity.

This leads to one of the biggest challenges in running a business:
Your team is working, but you can’t reliably measure their performance or plan for the future.

Knowing what your team is working on and how your team works is one of the silver bullets of growing your business—it allows you to plan for the future, give tasks to the right employees, and discover the hidden gems in your business… and ultimately make more money.

Freckle to the rescue!

With other time tracking software, you would have to run a million reports, collect and cross reference data, and spend every waking hour hovering over your team’s shoulder. With the Freckle Pulse, all of this information is at your fingertips—no stalking or Excel-fu required!

Know what projects your team worked on during the month.

  • You can plan your next business month with hard data, not guesstimates.
  • You’ll be able to see your team’s activity patterns and reveal their most productive days

It’s not enough to simply be working—you need to know what your team is doing and plan for the future. With the activity calendar, you can see what your team’s focus was over the course of the month.

Calendar

Look out for those dreaded “vampire projects” (they suck up all your time without giving you anything in return).

Power-Freckler tip: click on any individual piechart to run a report for that day and see all the details!

Activity chart

ActivityThink of this as the “heartbeat” of your business. In a single glance, the ebb and flow of your team’s productivity is right in front of you.

Project break-down

ProjectsThere’s no need to keep a mental list of every project you worked on during the month. The pulse page includes a projects list that automatically shows you every project your team worked on during the month (and for how long).

With this towering tally of time you can find the projects that “will only take 30 minutes” until they’ve gobbled up a huge chunk of your business.

Find those unbillable time sinks

Focused on cutting down unbillable time? The Pulse can be filtered, showing you how unbillable time affects your team’s productivity.

Individual User, Unbillable Hours

The same powerful insights are available for each member of your team. All you have to do is tell the Freckle Pulse to only show a single user’s entries.

Develop a “sixth sense” about your team’s work rhythm

The next month is just around the corner. Make it a great month for your business by signing into your Freckle account now and fire up the Pulse to learn how your team works!

Don’t have a Freckle account? Sign up for a free 30-day trial, and use the Pulse to make your business more productive and profitable!

Do you have idea or feedback on how to make your business even more productive and the Pulse even better? Shoot an email to Devon, your Freckle Support Super Hero, at [email protected].


12
Oct 13

Mobile Time Tracking

Maybe you left your laptop at home but you’re getting a phone call from a client? Or you’re in a meeting and you can’t use your laptop. Or you have a great idea while you’re at dinner and want to track the time it takes to draw that great new design on the back of a napkin…

…what if you could use the Freckle Timer on the go without having to first open your laptop and open Freckle in your browser?

Now you can with Freckle’s new mobile web app! Use the timer or track time manually right from your phone! And it’s totally free with any Freckle account that uses hashtags*, and doesn’t need any extra configuration.

*If you don’t have hashtags enabled, learn how to migrate your account.

Just hit up Freckle in your phone’s browser

signing

The mobile web version of Freckle is specially formatted and optimized for the touch screen of your phone—and we’re making it super-easy to log time.

You probably want “remember me” to be on, except when you borrow a phone from a friend to log your time.

dashboardThe dashboard screen is just like you’re used to from Freckle, showing you what you’ve logged time for recently, and how much time you’ve logged each day (the mini-pulse will be added in a future update).

On the bottom you can switch between the Dashboard and the Timer. If a timer is running, you can always see the elapsed time under the timer icon.

logicTo manually log time without using the Timer, just tap “Log Time” in the top right. We’ll auto-select the last project you’ve logged time for, but you can easily change that by tapping the project name and selecting an other project.

Use the “+” and “-” buttons to quickly adjust the amount of time you want to log, or tap on the time and enter it manually.

To change the date, just tap it and a convenient date selector will pop up.

tagsWhen you type the description, we’ll autocomplete tags. You don’t need to type a “#” first, as this is awkward on mobile devices, we’ll just try to show relevant tags as you type. For example, if you type “meet”, the “#meeting” hashtag will show up (if you have one).

Just tap the tag to insert it into the description. If lots of tags are found you can scroll the tag list by swiping left and right.

Once you’re happy with the entry, just tap “Log it! ✓” and you’re done! You’ll see the new entry on your dashboard!

Meet the mobile Timer!

timerTap the “Timer” icon on the bottom to go to the mobile Timer. If a Timer is running, the elapsed time & project name will be front and center.

To start tracking time, just tap a project name and the timer will start (and pause the currently running timer, if any).

You can pause the timer by tapping the big elapsed time shown in the box with the project’s color.

When it’s time to log the timer (ha!) just tap “Log Timer” on the top right and you’ll be in business. The form shown is the same as for manually logging time, but the time from the timer will be pre-filled and rounded to the next billing increment. If you started the timer a bit late, you can add time here (or if you hit pause too late, subtract it). Note that because timers are bound to projects, you can’t change the project when you’re logging a timer.

Just as in the desktop version, while the timer is running you’ll hear the audible chime whenever an other billing increment is reached, as well as when you’re starting or unpausing the timer. Note that the chime is only audible if Freckle is the currently running application (that’s a technical limitation, which we’ll try to work around in the future).

The best thing: the timers you see on your phone are the same exact timers that you see on your desktop browser. Start a timer on your laptop, then later stop it and log the time from your phone. No extra steps required!

But, but, I need to run a report!

If you need to go to the “full” Freckle in case you want to run reports, view the pulse or look at invoices, you can tap “Settings” and then tap “Full Desktop Version”. We’ll show a bar on top of the desktop version so you can easily switch back to the phone version when you’re done!

The pulse, reports, invoices will eventually also come to the mobile web version of Freckle.

Wait, can’t I have this as an app?

You can if you are using an iPhone—you can add Freckle directly to your home screen:

add_to_homescreen

Note: this also works on Chrome for Android beta (version 31 or higher) as there’s a “Add to Home Screen” option in the menu! We don’t recommend using browser beta versions, so it’s best to hold out until this feature is available in Chrome proper (which likely is very soon!)

On other devices, just add a bookmark. Because we’re using long-lasting sessions by default, you shouldn’t have to log in every time you’re using Freckle!

It’s in beta, baby!

Freckle’s mobile web site works with iPhones (iOS 7 recommended), Android phones (Android 4+ with Chrome for Android recommended) and on Windows Phone 8. It’s a beta release, so there may be bugs and kinks—please do let us know if you find any problems or if you just have general feedback (shoot an email to [email protected]!)

As for future features, next to fixing bugs and supporting more devices (like older Android phones) we’re planning on bringing you the pulse and reports next!

Enjoy time tracking on the go!


16
Sep 13

A Support Team’s Guide to Better Emails

Have you ever had “just one of those weeks”?

When nothing seems to be going your way, and you feel a bit like you’re
chasing your own tail just trying to keep up with your day to day activities.

Well, last week was “one of those weeks” for the Freckle Team.

But thanks to some awesome advice from customer support guru Chase Clemons, we were able quickly answer your Freckle support questions, AND continue our work on some sweet new features like the next version of the Freckle API and our upcoming mobile web app for all you iPhone, Android and Windows Phone users (there’s a lot more where those features came from, but we can’t give away all of our secrets!).

Now, you’re probably wondering two things.

  1. Who is this mastermind Chase Clemons you speak of?
  2. And, How did you manage to stay on top of your Customer Support needs AND keep developing amazing features?

Chase Clemons is a support super hero—he works on the support team at 37Signals  and is the guy behind SupportOps. If you’ve never heard of it and you’re running or are on a support team, you should absolutely check it out!

We know that, like us, that many of you have small support teams of your own.

And just like us, you’ve probably experienced your eyes bulging out of your skull at the sight of an obscene number of support emails at least once or twice. It may be an influx of new customers from an article on that high profile blog, a bug that slipped through your tests, or maybe you’re just back from that vacation where you wanted to work but found the beach more appealing.

Today, we’re going to share with you a little gift SupportOps gave us that helped us through “one of those weeks” and kept us on track to getting you some cool features. :)

Here are four tips and tricks we learned from “A Brief Guide to a Better Email”, which helped us a ton during “one of those weeks”.

1.)  When you’re answering a customer’s question, be sure to explain in a way they can understand. 

  • If you’re explaining something technical stay away from complicated wording.  A phrase you’re very familiar with like, “clear your cache”, may be hard for you customer to understand.
  • Consider including steps for how to handle difficult issues on your help site.  That way you can streamline your responses by linking to the answer.

2.)  Stay away from the words like “inconvenient”.

  • If a customer is not happy with something, it’s a not inconvenient, it’s a problem.
  • It’s not an “availability event”, it’s your customer unable to see and use their own data, causing loss of money, time and nerves. Don’t use technical sounding “Serious Business English”, as you’ll sound like a douche bag.
  • No one likes getting emails from a robot. So let your customers know you’re human by being personable and understanding.

3.)  You’re definitely going to see criticism from customers—and that’s a good thing!

  • Ask what the person liked and disliked about your product/service/or whatever it is you do.
  • Getting feedback is key to understanding how your customers use your product or service and you can learn a lot from what someone didn’t like.

4.)  If you’re a small biz, like we are, your support team IS your sales team.

  • Be excited and thankful when someone tells you they’re interested in your product.  A little excitement can go a long way.
  • Let that person know all of the ways they can reach you.  Sell yourself support team, you ROCK!

We found Chase’s “A Brief Guide to a Better Email” super helpful (Thanks Chase!), and we hope you’ll take a look at it and find it just as interesting as we did!

Let us know what you think of these support tips and tricks by emailing Devon, your Freckle Support Super Hero, at [email protected]. Or stop by the Freckle Lounge to give us some feedback!


9
Sep 13

Download Your Reports as a PDF

If you feel like you have a case of the Mondays today, we’ve got something that’ll make you feel like it’s Friday.  Or at least Wednesday. ;)

Now when you run a report in Freckle, you can download it as a CSV, save the report permanently, invoice open hours, AND drumroll please download it as a PDF!

Nestled between the ‘download CSV’ and ‘save permanently’ buttons, you’ll find a ‘download PDF’ button.

download_report_as_PDF_button

 

The PDF you’ll get will reflect the filters you have set in your report.

So if you your filters look like this:

Screen_Shot_2013-09-06_at_4.35.12_PM

 

Then your PDF will also show the time “by day“, the projects “per project“, the people in the report “per person“, every role on your team, and all of the “invoice/payment” breakdowns.

Report PDFIf PDFs are your thing, then you’ll be happy to know that we’ve made it possible to set your paper format for both PDF invoices and reports.

Each team member can choose their own paper format preference by going to the ‘Settings & Tools‘ tab at the top of their screen.  Under the ‘Date, Time & Format‘ tab, you can choose between “US Letter” and “A4″ formats.

paper_format_settings

Downloading reports as a PDF is still a beta feature.  So if you see any thing strange or you think something is broken send us an email at [email protected].

Or stop by the Freckle Lounge to give us some feedback on this new feature! We’d love to hear from you. :)


3
Sep 13

Take Your Time Back with Minimum Billing Increments

Nothing ever really takes “just one quick minute”.  In fact, it seems hardly worth it to track small tasks such as, jotting down meeting minutes or answering an email (or two). ;)

Small tasks can be annoying to track, and even though they don’t seem to be worth much, they still come with a price.

The truth is, if you’re not tracking even the small stuff, you’re leaving money on the table.

But you don’t have to!  Freckle’s got your back.

Freckle uses minimum billing increments to make sure you’re correctly compensated the many small interruptions you have throughout the day.

Minimum billing increments are standard in many industries because they help account for the actual cost of switching from task to task.

Freckle starts you off with a default billing increment of 15 minutes.  That means if you log 3 minutes or 8 minutes, it’ll be entered as 15 minutes.

If you’re thinking that you wouldn’t charge for a 3 minute task, you’re not alone.

But keep this in mind: When you don’t track all those extra little bells and whistles, your client has no idea how much work your results actually take.

Using a minimum billing increment keeps your clients (and you) from undervaluing your time. :)

And if 15 minutes isn’t the right billing increment for you—No problem!  You can customize billing increments for each of your projects in the “Settings” Menu, OR you can set an account wide billing increment in the “Admin” Menu. (For example, many lawyers bill in 1/10th of hours, so you can set the increment to 6 minutes if you want that!)

Project settings -- billing increments

 

seting_increment_for_new_projects

 

Bottom Line:

If you don’t bill 10 minutes here and 5 minutes there, you’ll lose several hours before you even know it.  Let Freckle do the work for you, and you’ll be charging the right amount for the value you’re providing!


7
Aug 13

Expenses & Line Items Made Fun & Easy

“I love doing expense reports,” said no one ever.

Rifling through receipts and tallying up expenses at the end of each month is a necessary evil.  Necessary for running your biz, and evil because it’s just plain boring.

But did you know that Freckle can help track your expenses & line items without you wanting to pull your hair out?

In fact, you may even feel the urge to polka dance.  That’s how easy it is to track your expenses in Freckle.

A little confused?  This 2 minute video will explain it all!

On every individual project page, you can enter the price and description of an expense under the “Expenses & Line Items” section.

You have the option to apply a tax to your expense, or to include a negative expense.

When you create your next invoice, all unpaid expenses and line items will be included, and Freckle will do all the work for you!

There’s no need for currency symbols because the default currency symbol of your invoice will be applied to whatever expenses or line items you have.

In your invoice, you can include any taxes you need to, and Freckle will take care of that pesky expense math.

You may just end up saying that you love expenses after all. :)

Have a great idea for Freckle?  Send us your suggestions at [email protected] or stop by the Freckle Lounge and chat with the Freckle Team!


5
Aug 13

Shiny New Invoicing Buttons

Something shiny and new is taking over Freckle.  Oh yeah, and it’ll save you time while making you money!

Multi-project invoicing is in the house ya’ll.

Now you can send your client one invoice for all of your work, instead of creating four or five different invoices to send the same client.

There are two ways you can create a multiple project invoice.

The first way is by configuring your projects under one group/client.  Then, in your active projects list, view your projects “by group” and you’ll see an “+ new invoice” button showing you the total uninvoiced hours & expenses for the group’s projects.

configure_a_group

 

grouped_projects

 

The second way is by running a report on a group of projects, or more than one project. At the top of your report, where you’ll find the “Download as CSV” and “Save Permanently” buttons, there will be a shiny new “+ invoice” button for you to click on.

invoicing_multiple_projects_from_a_report

 

When you invoice your client for multiple projects, you can use the “append a full report to this invoice” option to show your client the breakdown of all projects in the invoice over time.

And for all of you Frecklers who don’t need to invoice a client for multiple projects, we’ve got a little treat for you too. :)

You can now create a new invoice from your active projects list and from within a report!

In your active projects list, next to any project with uninvoiced hours or expenses, you’ll see a shiny “+ new invoice” button.

add_new_invoice_buttons

 

You’ll also find a shiny new “+ invoice” button at the top of any report with uninvoiced hours or expenses in it.

add_new_invoice_in_report-2

 

We’ve been working super hard to get you and your team multiple project invoicing.  But it’s still a beta feature, so if you see something out of the ordinary email us at [email protected] or stop by the Freckle Lounge to tell us about it.