Finding the right time-tracking software has, for the most part, been a complete pain in the neck. There are tons out there to choose from (most of which are free) but none seem to have “gotten it right.” They’re either far too complicated to use, too detailed for most individuals, or simplistic to the point of being a glorified stopwatch. And while we might be a bit biased, we think that Yast is a comfortable middle ground.
Yast was designed to be sleek, responsive, and just complex enough to do everything you need it to without drowning you in functionality that’s above and beyond. It’s a web-based time tracking application we designed with the end-user in mind—it’s easily customizable and, as one reviewer called it, “painfully” easy to use.
But even tried and true Yast believers don’t know everything this little piece of software has to offer. Even though it’s extremely simple to manipulate (drag and drop, click and edit, etc.) there are a number of “Ninja tricks” you can use to make Yast work better for you.
1. Private Projects
Yast allows you to easily segment your time between “Projects” and “Folders.” You can stack and nest these ‘til your heart’s content simply by dragging and dropping. While the free version only supports one user, the subscription software allows users to create a “Business”—meaning multiple users from the same organization can have access to the same data. (This is excellent for those managing freelancers or small, mobile-oriented service providers.) But how do you manage all of those overlapping users without confusion?
Yast also allows for the creation of personal folders. That means that every individual user has his or her own personal folder. You can use this folder to track time on any of their individual projects and, as the supervisor, keep an eye on it from on high. Not too shabby for a deceptively simple little user interface. This allows you to keep multiple projects and employees straight without all of the hoop-jumping other time-trackers make you do.
For more tips on how to structure your folders and projects, check out our training video on how to build your project structure.
2. Yast Mobile App
Time-tracking has, for years, been something of a headache. Until recently, it involved collecting data, entering it into a central computer system, and then running your reports from there. In essence, payroll individuals were handling the tracked hours more often than they needed to. Yast and other time trackers cut out the middle man, allowing individuals to track their own time while supervisors retain total control. But what if you’re not in the office?
That’s okay! Yast is mobile-minded: you can download the app for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone as well as your iPad (with Yast’s new customized iPad app). You can share data across all of these platforms in addition to your desktop or laptop PC or Mac without having to collect or copy any files. There’s no need to download any sort of remote desktop control program or invest in expensive licensed software that sits on your servers.
(Been burned by supposedly functional mobile apps before? Try the Yast live browser-based demo!)
3. Use Yast to Project Staffing Needs
Yes, Yast is a time-tracking application. So what does that have to do with staffing forecasts? Perhaps nothing . . . or maybe everything!
Yast power user Glenn Murray came up with a unique idea: create projects in Yast to track non-billable time. This is useful because it allows business owners and individuals to understand where all of their time is going—most likely Facebook or Angry Birds. However, this isn’t just a novelty. From there you can extrapolate whether or not you need to hire more staff to pick up the slack or even cut back if there’s more you can take on yourself.
4. Share Online Time-Tracking
If you’re a web-based or mobile worker (such as a freelancer, writer, or designer), Yast’s ability to allow sharing of data across multiple platforms is a huge bonus. And, because Yast is built with simplicity in mind, it’s extremely easy to do.
Unlike other software trackers out there, you don’t need to export your data, transfer it, and then convert it before you can show you’re clients how much you worked and when. It’s a web based applications so there’s no need for software synchronization.
Also, you don’t have to spend hours creating reports and deleting or hiding non-project related time so your clients don’t see that you were working on multiple projects at once. Yast’s reporting allows you to share on a project by project basis—so those you share with see only what you want them to see.
5. Contractors Can Work for Multiple Companies
Again, this is a natural “must” for web workers who market their services to multiple clients or for clients who use freelancers. How does it work?
The company you’re working for can add you to their Yast data easily and it won’t affect any other users out there. However, if another company hires you at the same time and decides to add you to their Yast tracking, all of your data (from both companies) will show on your user interface! There’s “no more cumbersome, logging in and out to view your different projects.”
Bonus Tip: Yast Calls
For those who want even more functionality but love the simplistic Yast interface, take a look at Yast Calls. The free Yast Calls Android and Windows Phone applications allow you to unobtrusively track your phone time and report it automatically to your Yast time-tracking software. Simply download the app, configure it to connect with your Yast data, and talk away.
Yast is Always Improving
With an estimated 1,000 new users every month, Yast is certainly a popular program. And thanks to that popularity, we’ve been able to create a vibrant support forum in which questions are asked and answered by both users and our Yast staffers. That forum is also home to a lot of free thinkers who are always coming up with great new ideas and addition for the core Yast application (many of which have already been added into our programs). In short, Yast has been evolving based on user feedback since day one and continues to do so today. As your business grows, so will Yast (even though we’ll always keep things painfully easy to use!).