For all you freelancers out there...
What system do you guys use to keep track of how long a project takes you? I'm currently a 9-5er, but would much prefer to go freelance. To whit, I've got my first hourly gig coming up, and I want to make sure I'm not ripping either them or myself off. I met a guy once who told me that if he works on anything at all (even for an hour) he calls it a day, or at least 3-4 hours (like plumbers and locksmiths). That always seemed kinda shitty to me, but for all I know it's the norm.
I've got a little countdown timer guy that I use when I know I've got a time limit, i.e. I'm grabbing a couple hours of work in between the waves of action that life pushes my way. The problem is that it's notification plays out my compy's main audio outs, and I have my interface switched to software return 7/8 so I sometimes don't notice.
Also, how do you figure out your rates? I know that most of the time it depends on the project budget and other concerns, but do you have a particular calculation method? I was once told to take the amount I'd need to get by if I was doing 40 hours a week, then double it. Is that a fair ask?