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She’s Got the Beat: Musician Christine Bougie Tracks Her Time

Amy HoyAmy Hoy

Our inaugural Freckle Focus Interviewee is a lap steel player / guitarist / drummer / lover of the Freckle Pulse page, [Christine Bougie](http://www.christinebougie.com “Christine’s website”). Christine was kind enough to take a break from recording her third album to have a chat with our intrepid Freckle reporter, [Marissa](http://marissabracke.com “Marissa Bracke, Can-Do-Ologist & Intrepid Freckle Reporter”).

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Listen to tracks from Christine’s album Hammy’s Secret Life while you read!

Christine Bougie

Christine: Musician. Artist. Time-Tracker.

Marissa: First, tell me a little bit about you and what gets your attention each day.

Christine Bougie: Well, I’m a freelance musician, so I play backup music for many different artists as well as playing my own music under my own name. I play with at least ten different bands or other singer-songwriters on a regular basis. I also do some teaching, guitar lessons and recording sessions and performances. Most of my time is spent learning and working on other people’s music. And then I’m out, actually performing that music too.

### How did you and Freckle meet and became friends?
I’m the type of person who likes to track my time. I’ve tried different ways of doing it just on paper, writing it down, or trying to schedule my time on my calendar.

When I saw Freckle, first of all, it looked beautiful, so I wanted to check it out because visually it was so nice. And it’s been the easiest thing to use!

The simplicity of the design and how it functions **has changed the way that I do my work**. As a self-employed musician, there’s a lot of time where I’m at home during the day until I have to go out and play at night. And that’s the time I need to juggle all of my different projects. I need to make sure I spend the right amount of time working on this person’s music and then working on my own music and then recording.

I track each person or band I play with as a separate project, and I track the time I spend learning tunes and playing along with that person’s music in that project. I also track personal time, like how long I spend cleaning my house or running at the gym, because I find it interesting to see. I don’t really use billable hours for my work, so my time-tracking is totally for my own personal use. But I just like seeing the visual of the Pulse page. **I can see exactly where I’m spending my time and the patterns that happen during the week.**

### What’s something you’ve learned or discovered about your time?

I’ve discovered how much time I actually have available, and **it’s given me a greater perspective and awareness of where I really want to spend that time**. I’ve turned down work that I otherwise would’ve accepted if I hadn’t had Freckle to show me what time I have or don’t have available. I usually take on too much work and say yes to too many projects, so having Freckle has helped me be realistic about my time and capacity.

I had no idea where my time was going. Now I have a clear idea of how much time each kind of project takes. I’ve also learned what my best and most productive times of day are. So, for example, if I’m learning tunes for someone’s gig that’s coming up in a week, I know how much to allot to work on that and when the best times will be to do that work.

Shows and gigs used to just feel like big, looming deadlines, and I would procrastinate and cram all of the work in at the last minute. But now I just set up my project, budget the right number of hours for it, and watch that project’s graph fill up as I work on it.

It helps me prioritize too.

### How does it help you prioritize your time?

The monthly pulse view shows me where my time goes. **It’s motivating to see the time spent and progress made on my big important projects.** And it’s de-motivating to see how much time I’ve spent doing things that I didn’t really want to do. It helps me determine what’s really valuable for me and what’s kind of a time suck.

Also, it’s like this idea that Jerry Seinfeld talked about—[not breaking the chain](http://lifehacker.com/281626/jerry-seinfelds-productivity-secret “Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret”). Someone asked him how he wrote jokes every day, and his advice was to set up a big calendar, and every time you write, put a big red “X” on the calendar. Seeing those Xs accumulate everyday will motivate you to keep it going, because you don’t want to break that chain. Freckle helps me do the same thing. Because the different projects are color coded, I can see each project’s color on the screen each day I’ve worked on it, and that’s motivating to keep it going.

### So what’s been your favorite part of Freckle?

The pulse is my everything. In fact, it’s the homepage on my computer!

I love the layout and how easy is it to use, that there’s no drop menu of selecting different times or anything. You just kind of write. If you spend a hour, you press “1” and if you spend 15 minutes on something, you press “15” and it’s smart enough to know you mean 15 minutes and not 15 hours. That kind of stuff. It’s just very intuitive. Someone asked me, “You track so much stuff—how do you find the time to enter it all in?” And I just said, “It only takes one second.” I just finish working on something and then type in three little boxes and that’s it.

Christine’s Pulse for March!

Also, the timer… That feature only got added a few months ago, and now I always use it. I can’t even imagine not using it. I love that I can just click on a project and it times itself and then gets entered into the system—I don’t have any extra steps of timing something and then writing it down myself. I just press “enter,” and the time is added.

### How would you describe your relationship with time?

I kind of see time as a feeling rather than something rigid or static. And to be tracking things like this through Freckle, because it’s visual, it’s given me a different way to view what time really is. **I’m not thinking about the minutes or the hours as much as how much energy I put into things I want to do.**

### What’s something you really, really love about the people that you work with?

What I love about the people I work with is that **everyone is doing what they love all day long**. There isn’t really a separation between work and play because we’re all musicians. Some of my friends think I’m crazy because I’m so organized and I do stuff like time tracking. But I like to have a little bit of structure because so much of what I do is so free and open. It’s creating and playing and having fun, which is great. But to really see progress, I like to create structure. Most people I work with are go with the flow more than I do I guess, and I like that. I need that too, because it’s a balance between my structure and the creativity and the play.

### And what’s something coming up on the horizon that’s really exciting for you?

Well, [I’m working on a new album](http://www.kapipal.com/655caf3346464ceb807ba508aa4ce841 “Read more about & pre-order Christine’s new CD”)! I have two previous albums I’ve recorded and I’m just about to start recording my next one this month. So that’s really exciting and that’s a project I’m tracking through Freckle too. I’m focusing on trying to raise some money to get that happening.

### Will this be of your material or is this for a group that you’re working with?

It’s my own album of instrumental music, and I plan to have it out in October. I mean, I’m recording with other people all the time and playing on other peoples records and touring with other people too, but this album will be my own music.

### As we’re wrapping up here, is there anything else you wanted to say that I didn’t ask you about?

I don’t know of any other musicians who are using Freckle. **But I think that it would be good for more artists to use and to think about where their time goes.** I would just say that I hope that I could influence some artists to check it out and give it a try.

Christine Bougie Playing Lap Steel

Christine in her element, playing the lap steel

About Christine

Christine Bougie is a lap steel player, guitarist, and occasionally a drummer, based in Toronto, Canada.

In addition to playing on over 30 recordings, she released two albums of original instrumental music: [Hammy’s Secret Life](http://christinebougie.bandcamp.com/album/hammys-secret-life “Hammy’s Secret Life”) (2007) and [This Is Awesome](http://christinebougiedafyddhughes.bandcamp.com/album/this-is-awesome “This Is Awesome”) (2008). She’s currently working on a third album, titled Aloha Supreme, to be released in 2010. In the meantime, she continues to perform with artists including Amy Millan, Julie Fader, Roxanne Potvin, Sylvia Tyson, John Southworth, Jenny Whiteley, and many more.

You can catch up with Christine at her website, [ChristineBougie.com](http://www.christinebougie.com “Christine Bougie’s website”), and [on Twitter](http://twitter.com/christinebougie “@ChristineBougie”).

## You should give Freckle a spin!
If your time is precious to you, then you’ll love Freckle, too. It’s free for 30 days, across all plan types — and if you charge $25/hr or more, Freckle will pay for itself (and then some!). [**Try Freckle now**](http://letsfreckle.com/)!

> Hey there! Are you a Freckle customer? Has Freckle helped you? Would you like to be interviewed? Drop us a line!

After years of waging war as an employee and consultant for big (and small) businesses, Amy left the trenches to become a full time Product Crusader. Product strategist and teacher by day, fine furniture enthusiast by night. As a web developer & interaction designer, Amy has created an empire of cheerfully bootstrapped products in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same.