Managing clients in Tick just became a whole lot easier.
If you’re a Tick user with Admin permissions, you will now see a “Clients” option next to where you manage your users.
This new clients section gives you a way to quickly see how many open and closed projects you have for each client.
And also a way to efficiently edit a client name, should it ever need to be changed.
Archiving a Client
Another great benefit that comes from this client section is the unique ability to archive a client.
When a client has no more open projects, you now have the option to remove that client from certain menus throughout Tick. This keeps your project and reporting filters clean, making it easier to find the info you’re looking for.
Even though an archived client won’t show in certain dropdowns, all the past client data like projects and time entries is still available in the reports and closed projects sections. If you ever need the information at a later time, you can always run a report and get it within seconds.
And if you ever need to start a new project for an archived client in the future, simply make that client active again.
The final thing to point out in the new client section in Tick is the ability to delete a client from Tick.
This can happen in the rare event that you don’t have any open or closed projects for a client, Tick will give you the option to delete it from your client list. If you want to delete a client that has either open or closed projects, you will need to delete those projects from Tick before you’re given this option.
So that’s the new client section in a nutshell. If you have any any questions, give us a shout; we’re happy to help.
The date strip navigation has long been a staple interface element for Tick. We have always felt that it was something we really got right and it’s stood the test of time. Over the past couple of months we’ve refined our main Timecard screen quite a bit and thought it would be a fun challenge to see if we could make this iconic date strip even better. Today we’re excited to introduce a better way to navigate your timesheet.
A Little Background
Tick’s original date strip challenged the idea that a clunky pop calendar or multiple select menus were the best way to select a date. It allowed you to quickly see the day you were currently on and at a glance see surrounding days. It also let you quickly see if you had entered any time on previous days.
Where it fell short was that early in the week you were presented with numerous days in the future and people rarely enter time for future days (rightly so). The little green checks showing that a previous day had time entered to it were helpful, but we felt we could communicate more information using the same number of pixels.
Making a Good Thing Better
With the new date strip, we wanted to focus on the strengths of the original design while eliminating the rarely used future dates and providing more information regarding the previous days time entries. Now each time you come to the timecard screen, the current day will default to the far right and you’ll have full visibility into the previous 4 days. This may be a bit jarring at first, but if you give it some time you’ll see this actually provides much more useful (and actionable) information.
And as the week goes on, that full week view you may be instinctively looking for begins to come into focus. When Friday rolls around you have a beautiful view of your entire work week, with useful pie charts that show you approximately how much time you’ve entered into each day without having to click a mouse.
We know the old date strip was a beloved feature of Tick and we didn’t make these changes on a whim. We really believe this is a better way to navigate your timesheets. We hope you love it right away, but if not we ask that you give it five minutes.
We’ve logged a lot of hours on this one and we’re excited to bring you the best web-based timers we could imagine. We’ll be rolling them out to everyone soon, but wanted to give you something to whet your appetite now.
To enable your timers right away, click the “Tweet @tickspot” message in the app! We hope you love them.
Over the last several years, Tick has made it’s time tracking integration with Basecamp the best around. Today, we’re very excited to announce some big updates to the integration’s appearance and functionality that make it even better by helping you to do 3 things without leaving your Basecamp projects:
- Track time at a To-Do item level
- Hide the Tick discussion from clients
- View more project details without leaving Basecamp
1. Track Time at a To-Do level
Tick believes tracking time at a granular level is too tedious to be productive, but we understand that in some situations tracking at a To-do item level can be helpful.
Up to this point, Tick has only supported automatically creating tasks from a Basecamp To-Do list. But with this update, Tick gives the option to automatically create tasks from either To-Do lists or To-Do items.
Tick’s default is still set to create tasks from To-Do lists, so if you want to start tracking at a To-Do level, please have your account owner log into Tick and jump over to the Basecamp account settings to update the option. To do this, follow these steps:
a. Go to your Basecamp account settings
Select the option to create tasks from “To-Do items”
This automatically create tasks for new projects from your To-Do items. Existing projects will be updated at midnight and list all the new To-Dos as tasks. To force an update immediately, click on the option to “Update Task List” right in Basecamp
2. Hide the Discussion from Clients
A few months ago, Basecamp released an update that gave users control over discussion visibility. With Tick, the client has never been able to see the actual Tick app integration, but there wasn’t a way to hide the discussion from the client.
With this new update, Tick automatically posts new “Tick Time Tracking” discussions as private if client access is turned on in Basecamp for that project.
To hide Tick discussions that were posted before this release. Please delete the discussion in Basecamp, then jump over to Tick and force an update to the project.
3. View more Tick details in Basecamp
The final update in today’s release out is a new feel and added functionality to the Tick time app itself in Basecamp.
This change brings the new look of Tick’s Timecard into the Basecamp integration. If you’ve chosen to track time at a To-Do level, selecting the To-Do in the app works similarly to the timecard in Tick - start typing the To-Do list name, then select the To- Do.
The top navigation has also changed to allow users to see where the budget stands by task under “Projects,” and gives admins the ability to see who’s added time to a project.
This is one of the biggest changes we’ve rolled out for the integration since the new Basecamp came out, so we’re pretty excited. Let us know what you think or, if you have any questions, ask the wonderful people on our support team!
We’re getting ready to roll out an update to Tick’s timecard in the next week! The update streamlines the way you select your client, project and task.
Here are the details.
1. Combined client and project selection
The new timecard reflects our philosophy that a workflow is most efficient when it’s boiled down to necessities. Applying this to the timecard update, we eliminated the client select menu by organizing the projects by client and adding a search field.
2. Search to select a project
To select a project, you can start typing your project or client name rather than scrolling and the list will shrink as you type. The same is true for selecting a task; enter the first few letters and select a task from the smaller list.
Now, your fingers can stay on the keyboard
It’s the small details that make a difference in the workflow. With search fields added to the select menus, you can now quickly create time entries without taking your fingers off the keyboard. It may take you a day or so to get used to using this, but once you do, you’ll never go back.
3. A new look for your completed time entries
Also in this update, you’ll notice a difference in how your completed time entries look below the timecard. The design is much cleaner and they provide better information. Now you can see the project budget and task budget side-by-side with your notes showing by default.
We look forward to hearing how it works for you!
We’re excited to announce that we’ll be rolling out a new look for Tick over the next week.
What’s more, the new design is only the first of several great updates we have for you in the coming months.
Until then, we hope you enjoy the fresh paint!
‘“Why?” is the most important question, not asked nearly enough.’
- Seth Godin
He’s right, of course. Asking “What?” is much more common.
What can we create?
What can we communicate?
What can we do for motivation?
What can we do to build reputation?
What can we do to make more profit?
The simple problem with “what?,” if asked before “why?,” is the emphasis it puts on the “do” without a justification for its existence.
Last summer, we did something at Tick we’ve never done before. We stopped working.
Not completely, of course -the logistics would have been a nightmare- but every Friday afternoon, our team had creative license to do anything, as long as it didn’t have anything to do with our current projects.
True, it’s not as exciting as taking the whole summer off, but the idea sure got us excited.
Because being off the clock for any amount of time is exciting
And that excitement got our creative juices flowing.
Take a minute to think about it. If you were given one afternoon a week for three months to be out-of-the-box creative, that’s nearly 45 hours of almost unlimited potential. Now that’s exciting!
Of course, it was a little bit of a gamble. We were essentially taking off on company time to do what we wanted. And we didn’t have any guarantees that it would lead to anything. We hoped, but it wasn’t a sure thing.
Truth be told, this idea isn’t new
Years ago, Google started it’s informal policy for employees and built creative time into their workweek (see this video about Google’s 20% policy). This gave everyone on their staff the freedom to explore new areas and do some pretty cool things on their own.
A little closer to home, the team at 37signals has been doing something like this for a while as well. In fact, Jason Fried, Co-Founder and CEO of 37signals, wrote an opinion piece, “Be More Productive. Take Time Off.”, that was recently published in the NY Times.
“We grow out of a lot as we grow up,” Fried says in the article. “One of the most unfortunate things we leave behind is a regular dose of change. Nowhere is this more evident than at work.”
In the article, Fried makes the case for changing his team’s work schedule with the seasons to keep them fresh, excited, and producing top-notch software.
You don’t need someone to tell you what this type of freedom has done for these great companies. You see it for yourself. They continue to stay ahead of the technology curve with cutting edge tools, even as the technology age spins wildly out of control.
For us, the creative freedom was exactly what we needed to get energized, and as a bonus, it flowed into our other work and made us more productive (we’re actually really excited to show you something in the very near future).
Maybe it’s time to give your team some creative freedom
Sometimes, it takes some unconventional practices to get the mind to make new connections. It doesn’t have to be drastic, just different.
In Tick, task budgets allow you to allocate time to individual tasks in a project. We believe that doing this allows you to more accurately track your project status while giving you tangible milestones to consistently evaluate your budgets.
Task budgets were designed to keep things simple. In this post, we’ll discuss some best practices to using task budgets to keep you and your team on track.
Limit the Number of Tasks
One of the best ways to keep tasks simple is to limit the number you create under each project. It’s very tempting to break down a project into 20 different tasks and assign each of them their own budget. It feels right because you get to check each one off as you finish.
While using tasks this way may feel beneficial at first, we’ve found that it often leads to an over-complicated project budget that’s more frustrating to work with than it is helpful. Ultimately, this results in questions like “what do I put this time under?” and makes time tracking more of a guessing game than a measurable resource.
Create Distinct Tasks
Tasks budgets perform their best when they’re used as major milestones in a project, not as a micromanaging tool.
For example, if we’re going to create a new feature in Tick, we’ll split the whole project into four tasks and create budgets for each:
These tasks are perfect for our project, because they break it down into milestones, without making it too granular. They also make it easier to enter time because they’re so different from one another, we never have to wonder where our time should go.
But that doesn’t solve everything does it? Having clear buckets to place time entries and simple budgets that clearly track to the project level is a great start, but sometimes you need more. Large detailed projects may require tasks be broken down into bits to give the team more specific direction.
If you’re looking for this type of granular task management, we highly recommend using a project management tool along with Tick that would allow you to manage your team on specific parts of a project.
If you’re not in a place where you need a project management tool, but want to be able track your team’s progress, no problem! Tick allows your team to quickly make a note of what they’ve done next to their time entry, so you (as the account’s admin) can see what they’ve been up to.
Whether you need more granularity for project management or not, with task budgets, Tick can help your team efficiently track their time and hit your budgets.
Last week, we took a lesson from cyclists about teamwork. It wasn’t earth shattering, but it made us reconsider how shared responsibility and collaboration enables us to produce more than we could on our own.
Along this theme, here’s another question to consider. Can teamwork be overdone?
“Ultimately, productivity requires producing, creativity creating. It sounds so simple and obvious, but it has been easy to forget these days that we need solitude, quiet and time.”
Does this happen to you? When brainstorm sessions, group collaborations, and follow up meetings make you feel productive when in fact, at the end of the day your team has really just made a lot of noise but hasn’t produced anything.
In the end, it takes a silent moment to allow all the collaboration to sink in and start cranking out that design, report, budget, or proposal.
So this week, take teamwork to the next level. Make your meetings efficient. Get a good laugh in with your co workers. Be motivated by the collaboration. But take an effort to make the quiet times count. Turn off the noise and produce.
When cyclists begin a long ride, they know that success only comes from being part of a team.
They start at a semi-comfortable pace -one they can manage for the whole ride. Sometimes the pace is slower than desirable for some, but they stick together. They know that to jump ahead would only lead to exhaustion for themselves, and a loss for the others.
At certain intervals, each rider becomes responsible for pulling the group, and the others follow close behind.
Consistently changing the rider in front allows the group to reserve their strength while holding to the pace they set early on. This way, the finish is obtained in less time, with less effort, and with everyone more motivated and energized at the finish then they were at the beginning.
In business, this type of shared responsibility and collaboration is sometimes forgotten during a long ride, job, or project. But just like a group of cyclists, it contributes to a faster, stronger, and more motivated team.
It’s hip to focus on getting things done, but it’s only possible once we remove the constant static and distraction. If you have trouble deciding what to do, just focus on not doing. Different means, same end.
Before everyone was connected with cell phones and the Internet, most people walked through a door to get to work. And, once finished with the day, they walked back through the same door and left that work behind.
This is nearly impossible today.
No matter what you do for a living, you’d probably agree that you pretty much live in your work environment 24/7. Sure, you may have your own office, but does the door really ever close behind you?
It’s not that you’re just constantly connected, it’s that you always feel a need to be getting stuff done. You can reply to emails, answer the phone, schedule a meeting, and if you don’t have those things, there’s always something more you can learn, discover, explore, and share.
So, a question to consider: Is the constant need to get things done in your downtime killing your productivity during your work time?
The improvements to our Basecamp integration continue! We have heard from many of our customers that you like to enter time to your Basecamp To-Do Lists. You could always import your To-Do Lists into Tick, but now this can happen automatically! Each night any changes to your To-Do Lists will auto update in Tick (Ooh La La).
To get started have your account owner head over to the Basecamp settings for your account. They can edit the settings and enable the “Auto To-Do List Import” feature.
Any existing projects that are linked to Basecamp will pull in their To-Do Lists the next time Tick updates with Basecamp (around midnight local time). As you set up new projects that are linked to Basecamp, the To-Do Lists will show up as tasks immediately.
You can assign budgets, mark them as billable and reorder your To-Do List just like any Tick task. You can even create additional tasks that will just live in Tick…for those miscellaneous items like “Meetings” that just don’t make sense as To-Do Lists.
A lot of work went into making this feature pretty smart. If you already have tasks set up with the same names, they will link up (preventing duplicates). If you change the name of a To-Do List in Basecamp, it will update in Tick. If you complete a To-Do List in Basecamp it will close the task in Tick. Add a new To-Do List in Basecamp and you’ll get a new task in Tick. All of these updates will take place when Tick performs it’s daily update with Basecamp, but you can always jump into your Tick project and schedule an immediate update if you don’t want to wait.
If you prefer the extra control of manual To-Do imports you’ll be happy to hear we improved that process as well (no more duplicates).
So jump into your account and check it out. We really think you’re going to love it!
We love the new Basecamp! We also love time tracking (no surprise there). So when we heard the new Basecamp wasn’t going to include time tracking we set out to see what we could do…and honestly we kind of surprised ourselves. After working with some of the crew at 37signals and digging through the API as it was being developed, we stumbled upon the idea of creating a Basecamp App for time tracking. And of course we’re huge proponents of budget tracking so we had to include that as well.
So last night we pushed v1.0 of what we believe to be the first (new) Basecamp App. It gives you the ability to track your time, check on the budget status of your projects, flip between dates, review time entries of team members (Tick admins only), and more without ever leaving Basecamp.
We’re just a little excited to show it off. Hopefully the screencast below will get you excited as well!
Let’s say you have a client that pays you $1,000 each month for services. If you do 10 hours of work for them, that’s $100 per hour. But if you do 20 hours of work for them that’s $50 per hour. That’s a big difference and an important one when running a services shop that makes these type of retainer agreements.
So how can Tick help?
Now when you create a new a new project you’ll see a “recurring project” option at the bottom.
When you turn this on, Tick will automatically close the existing project at the end of the month and open a new (identical) project. So if you want to make $100 per hour on that $1,000 per month client, you just set a project budget of 10 hours and check the recurring project feature. Now each time you log a time entry to that project you’ll get real-time feedback on your $100 per hour goal.
You can still add tasks (and task budgets) as you would any other project and they will carry over into the new project at the end of the month. Recurring projects also automatically get a little custom naming convention to help keep everything well organized. A project with the name “Website Development” for example, will display as “Website Development | 2012-02” indicating that this is the February 2012 version.
We hope this helps, and as always feel free to drop us an email if you have any questions.