New tools for timesheets and blogs – @TimeCamp and @NewsBlur

I have new tools to play with.

Timesheets

I’m a writer and I work, almost exclusively, on a value basis: we agree a price and I deliver.

Charging by the hour/day or, worse, per word is a killer for both quality and trust.

However, I’ve always kept timesheets for my own analysis, so that I can see how much those value-based projects actually cost me in bloody, sweaty, teary hours. They used to be simple Excel spreadsheets, one for every project, so I could work out the actual cost per hour arising from either my poor estimating or delightful rat-holing. But, I always knew that created hidden gaps.

For the past couple of months, though, I’ve been using TimeCamp. It’s very simple, but adequate for my needs of seeing where I spend my time across each day, week or month.

One of my bigger revelations has been how little time each day gets devoted to project work. So much on email, admin, pre- and post- sales. No matter; I capture, I analyse, I understand, I improve.

Blog reader

How do you keep track of all the blogs you read? For years, my default tool was Outlook’s RSS feed, but over time it’s become less and less comprehensive. Some blogs don’t support RSS (or at least not in a form that Outlook recognises), the relevant folders would lie fallow or, more frustratingly, suddenly spike into life and then die again within a day or two. As a result, I had Outlook but I also had a growing number of Home tabs on my web browser.

I’ve tried newsreaders before without much success but I’ve now been trailing Newsblur for a few weeks and, today, added all 30 of the blogs I regularly follow. I like it. I love the easy scroll and the fact that I can mostly see the content (text, images, video etc) in the main screen. For some reason though, it doesn’t show all of everything. For this blog, for example, I see the body content but not the header images I use. I probably need to dig a bit deeper.

In the meantime, it’s like a new toy and I’m regularly flipping back to see the latest posts. That will settle and, hopefully, I’m back to a single, convenient and comprehensive blog reader.

What next? Nothing I need to talk to, certainly.

Photo by Philip Swinburn on Unsplash

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