Your time is money, so logging hours is important. It can help you gauge how much time you spend on a particular manuscript, and allow you to evaluate your strategy for projects to come. Over time, you’ll have a better idea of how much time on average you spend on each page, and will be able to give more accurate estimates for future projects.
When you are paid by the page, you’ll know off the bat how much the project will bring in. Based on that, you can try to set a time limit for yourself, and use that as a goal to complete the project. If you received a 200-page manuscript and are being paid at $2.00 per page, the project will bring in $400 dollars. The more efficient you are, the more you’ll make per hour for the particular project. If you spend 20 hours on the MS, you’d make $20.00 per hour. If you spend 40 hours on it, you’d make $10.00 per hour. Of course, you can’t always control how much time you spend on a project, but it’s still good to set a goal so you don’t go too far over your budgeted time.
If you’re paid hourly, your client tends to already have a budget in mind. This makes it even more important for you to log your hours and review the project before you begin. Scanning through the project beforehand will give you an idea of how much work may be necessary. If you feel that more time may be needed, give your client a heads up and check in now and then to update them on your progress. You don’t want to go over the budgeted hours unless it’s really necessary. If their budget is stringent and there is no compensation for additional hours, you can make the choice to either work overtime without pay, or do your best to complete the project within the given time frame.
These are my basic approaches to managing my time when I take on a project. How do you decide how much time you should spend on a given project?