I build stuff and make things; you can pay me for both!
My rate is $150/hour. I give discounts when we work more together. Sometimes I work for less on social good projects.
I track my time by pomodoro cycles, which I consider to be a more accurate unit of work produced. The following system is an attempt to first figure out how much real work I get done in a standard day, assign a more meaningful unit to it than the hour, and then track that instead of time.
Here’s how I work.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo. The gist is to work on a single task without any interruption or distraction for 25 minutes, take 5 minutes off (I prefer to stand up and do something physical like handstands), and repeat for a total of 4 cycles, before taking a 30 minute break. This leads to a full cycle of 2.5 hours.
No distractions means no calls, no slack, no getting coffee, no reddit, no reading articles from co-workers or friends, just working on the task at hand.
The Standard Work Day
The standard work day is generally considered to be 8 hours. There seems to be little agreement on exactly what happens when during these 8 hours, but an hour for lunch is considered standard.
I define a standard workday under a “normal” 8 hour period as follows.
Duration (hours) - Task 0.5 - Misc 2.5 - One full pomodoro cycle (4 pomodoros + breaks) 1 - Meeting 1 - Lunch 2.5 - One full pomodoro cycle (4 pomodoros + breaks) 0.5 - Misc
Day (8 hour) totals: 8 pomodoro cycles 1 meeting 1 hour misc
I have not found that any of the ratios of the above time allocations change with less time commitment per week. If anything, I’ve found far more time is spent communicating and context switching than working. I’ll count that as the cost of doing business for me :).
1 hour = $150. I sometimes work for less on social good projects, or for close friends. If that’s you, let’s talk!
8 hours in standard workday, 8 pomodoro cycles. I prefer to bill on work produced, not time spent.
1 hour billable time = 1 pomodoro.
I give discounts if I do more work for you.
|8 - 40||$135||10%|
If you’d prefer to bill on a fixed day or week rate, that’s great.
Hourly billing is due on Net30 Terms. Net7 direct Deposit (DD) or Wire Transfer - additional 10%. If you have a different way to pay me regularly where I don’t have to worry about it, that’s probably fine too.
If we’re on a fixed rate, and something needs to get done, I’ll do my best to put in the overtime necessary to get it done, within reason. If it makes sense to work more because something is just flowing well, I’ll do that too.
I track all tasks with Trello. I use a mix of scrum and kanban, depending on the project and the workflow of the rest of the team. 1 Board per project.
I track pomodoros with Pomello, an integrated timer that posts number of pomodoros (and notes, etc) to trello cards.
I make a done list for each week, and move cards to done as they are completed. At the end of the week, if any cards are outstanding and have cycles posted to them, they get put in done and duplicate cards get created for next week without cycles.
Cycles in the done list get totaled, the total gets added to the list title (ie. done (42): DD/MM/YYYY - DD/MM/YYYY).
I go over 25 minutes a lot. This doesn’t get posted. I wish it did. I actually use another timer called Tadam at the same time because it puts a massive gray window over my screen when it goes off. Regardless, I often extend the timer to finish something I’m in the middle of.
I want you to be online during particular hours!
Ok. Let’s talk about what you need! Generally I’ve found this to not be an issue. Collaboration is super important, and I need it too! I generally find scheduling overlap time is most helpful in intentional blocks, as opposed to a full 8 hour work day. I’d much rather have a 1 hour daily session with a collaborator where we can both be prepared and give each other our full attention, than 12, 5 minute periods of unfocused interactions throughout the day.
So Misc is you wasting time?
No. There are a million tasks that do not fit under pomodoros. Pomodoros are intended to be distraction free. This means no slack, no email - just the task at hand. The 5 minute break is not for answering emails, slack or anything else. It’s a break. It’s for standing up, stretching, doing a handstand, getting a breathe of fresh air!
Misc is time to do the rest. Sometimes it’s in blocks, represented at the start of the day. Most of the time, it’s between pomodoros. It’s trello management that is necessary to condense standup tasks into things that are actually worth working on in cycles. It’s that 5 minutes of sitting down by myself to figure out what I need to be working on. It’s reading something interesting that’s been passed off by a coworker or friend.
Basically, it’s all the stuff that most people do all the time during the day, pushed to the edges and away from focusing on tasks.
Again, 1 hour a day is conservative for the amount of time this stuff takes.
Do you really have an hour meeting every day?
Yes. This is conservative. Daily stand-ups tend to take a minimum of 30 min. I prefer to treat calls as pomodoros, and keep them to 25 min. Hour calls should have 5 min break to digest content in the middle.
This time also accounts for time spent responding to slack and other forms of communication throughout the day. It’s the slack conversation that makes you start your next cycle 10 minutes late. It’s responding to emails, scheduling calls, etc. Curious how much time slack and email takes for you? Install Rescuetime and check it out.
Do you work consistent hours every day?
Sometimes. Sometimes I work in the morning and then again late at night.
Mostly it depends on the needs of my clients. If you have a project that is heavy on collaboration with a team that works 9-5, I can do that. If you don’t, I’d prefer to be more flexible. Sometimes weekends are a great time for work, I do that too.
Are you a total time Nazi?
No. I’m actually pretty chill. But I used to be super unorganized and now I found what works for me. I still look at reddit sometimes. You can send me cat memes. I love cats ^.^
Does anyone else work like this?
I hope so! Here’s one.
My project is super different and this doesn’t make sense!
Sounds interesting - let’s talk.