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What are you spending your time on, really?

How much time did you spend last week on your top priorities at work? How much was consumed by things that weren’t necessary at all – digging yourself out of an overflowing Inbox, or meetings that dragged on for what seemed like an eternity? We can’t go back and change things, but we can evaluate past time for insight into how we work and learn how to distribute our time better in the future.

We’re making it possible to do that with a new feature called Your Weekly Harvest! This report, sent via email every Monday morning, offers everyone who tracks time in Harvest a glimpse into your past week with beautiful charts to understand the overview of where your time went. Note that if you’ve tracked time in Harvest within the past 30 days, you’ll receive this email automatically. If you’d like to opt-out, there’s an easy unsubscribe link in the email, or go to My Profile > Notifications and deselect the setting for Your Weekly Harvest.

In the report, every task that you’ve tracked time to appears in a summary showing how much time you spent on each task that week. In a separate section for projects, a simple pie chart gives you the ability to see which projects and clients took up the most time.

Our hope is that this report can help you better understand where you’re spending your time and what kind of return you’re getting on the time you invest. It should help provide you with answers to crucial questions like:

  • What did I work on last week?
  • Am I spending my time effectively?
  • Am I meeting my goals?
  • What did I accomplish during that time?
  • Does the report match how I feel I spent my time?

We want to give you more control over your time, so you can use it more intentionally. Once you’ve taken stock of what you accomplished and where you fell short, you can use this information to improve how you work in the future.

A peek behind the curtain

Here at Harvest our own team has been testing out this report as a way to help us plan out our time. Here’s how some real-life Harvesters have found this information useful:

Your Weekly Harvest has been a great way to see where my time’s gone in the past week. Instead of a vague feeling of what I did, I can actually see how it compares to past weeks. It makes a subjective feeling more real—the week was really that busy—or shows that I didn’t spend as much time on a task as I thought I did.

I can then use that info to plan for next week—if I’ve been spending too much time on email, and not enough on research, that’s reflected in the report, and I know to keep an eye on that going forward.

~ Trey Jackson, Harvest Expert

While Trey uses the report to fill in gaps in the things he needs to spend more time on, Jamie relies on viewing the report each week to understand trends.

“Your Weekly Harvest lets me see trends in my own working style. When I review my time as a graph each week, I can easily spot where I’m building good habits or need to make changes.

If I recall a particularly productive week, I see the evidence in my tracked time, and that helps inform how to continue structuring my days in the future. I’ve learned that I do great creative work in the afternoon, for example, and it’s best if I get a bunch of smaller tasks done in the morning.

If a week got away from me, I can see that too, and having data helps me avoid being too self-critical. I appreciate being able to look at a graph and know that, even if it wasn’t my best week, I showed up. Whether it was a great week or a not-so-great week, I can look at my time objectively and keep moving forward.

~ Jamie Fisher, Harvest Expert

Both Jamie and Trey find the report useful to make their subjective feelings about the past week more real. A vague feeling that you weren’t spending enough time on something can be measured and inform decisions on how you spend time in the coming weeks.

Help us make it better

We’ve already received some great feedback from folks through the survey link in the email. Thanks so much for contributing your thoughts! We’re working hard to synthesize this research and make plans to improve this report even more. Additional features could include an even more detailed breakdown of time spent on projects and clients, as well as billable vs. non-billable hours. Let us know what you’d like to see!

In the meantime, we hope Your Weekly Harvest is useful for you, and helps you use your time a little more wisely!

New! Now You Can Change Cost Rates and Keep Past Data Accurate

Now you can easily change your team’s cost rates! That means it’ll be a snap to update your team’s costs to accommodate any salary increases or rate change—just in time for the new year. And all your data will stay in tip-top shape.

Previously, updating a teammate’s cost rate in Harvest would change all of the costs associated with their tracked time. This made it impossible to rely on Harvest data for historical cost reporting.

Now you can choose an effective date when updating a teammate’s cost rate. Time tracked to all prior dates won’t be impacted, and you’ll keep all your data accurate so you’ll have a valuable database of historical costs to reference.

How to Update a Person’s Cost Rate

To update a teammate’s cost rate, click Edit Profile on any person’s Team page. In their Basic Info > Cost Rate section, you’ll now see a new Edit Cost Rate option. Click it, and you’ll have 2 choices:

  • Apply the new rate to all time entries. Just like it sounds, we’ll apply the new rate to all time tracked by your teammate. This’ll also be their cost rate going forward.
  • Apply the new rate on an effective date in the past. We’ll apply the new rate to time tracked starting on the date you select. If your teammate got a raise on January 1st, select that date to apply it to time tracked on the 1st and onward.
Updating a person's cost rate

As soon as you’ve saved, we’ll immediately apply the rate to all applicable time entries. We’ve got step-by-step instructions to update cost rates in our Help Center here.

Insight into the Past, Value for the Future

One of Harvest’s strength is the insight it gives you into past work, which can inform future work. Harvest’s Projects section is like a library of information that tells you how effective your team has been, how profitable you were, how well you’d budgeted, and how you might want to budget for new work.

By maintaining an accurate record of the costs of your team, you’ll always be able to rely on Harvest projects to provide that valuable insight into both the past and the future. So cheers to a more accurate 2019!

Keep the Cash Flowing with Recurring Payments

Ready to make your income more reliable and your clients happier? Now your clients can pay your recurring invoices automatically! That means a steadier income for you, a smoother relationship with your client, and less busy work for everyone.

Here’s how it goes: You worked hard all month and delivered great stuff. Now, you’ve invoiced and it’s time to get paid! A week goes by, then a month. No payment. Maybe you’ve already reached out a few times, or are still drafting that polite-but-firm reminder. At this point, getting paid feels a bit like its own project.

When you have a retainer or subscription with your client, you should be able to count on that income. Right?

We think so, too! That’s why we’ve now made it easy for your clients to pay you automatically. All they have to do is set up automatic payments one time. After that, each recurring invoice will be paid without your client having to lift a finger.

How to Enable Recurring Payments

Recurring payments are an option for any Harvest account that’s integrated with Stripe.

When your clients pay their recurring invoices through Stripe, we’ll ask them if they’d like to set up a recurring payment. If they say yes, they’ll add a form of payment and will be automatically billed according to the invoice’s terms. (Note: Recurring payments can be made only toward recurring invoices, not regular invoices.)

Your clients can easily manage their automatic payments from their client dashboard.

Why Use Recurring Payments?

Recurring payments make paying invoices effortless. That’s pretty great for everyone involved!

For you:

  • You know when you’re getting paid. This makes it easier to manage your own expenses and grow your business.
  • You don’t have to track down missed payments. Instead, you can focus on the work you actually want to do.
  • No more awkward chats about outstanding invoices. Now you can use conversations with your client to build a stronger relationship.

For your client:

  • Your client saves time. They’ll never have to scour their inbox to find another invoice, or manually type in their credit card and submit payment. Instead, they can set it and forget it!
  • They can easily manage invoices and payments from the client dashboard.
  • They know they’re paying you on time. Missing a payment can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. When payments are made on time, everyone can feel good about their part in this relationship.

More Money, Fewer Problems

Once your client sets up recurring payments, everyone’s good to go! You’ll have income you can count on. You and your client will also have more time to do great work. And, building a smooth, lasting relationship will be that much easier.

New for Invoices! Accept ACH Payments

We’re happy to announce support for ACH payments via Stripe for US customers. Starting today, your clients can pay invoices via bank transfer (ACH), saving you money on transaction fees and helping you get paid faster.

The Old Way: Big Fees, Slow Payments

Getting paid online for large invoices can be expensive. Credit card transactions typically cost 2.9% in fees. This means on a $10,000 invoice you pay $290 in fees.

To prevent those fees, you might ask a client to send money via check. But the downside is, you’re left waiting days or weeks to get paid.

The New Way: Tiny Fees, Faster Payments

Now with ACH payments, you can get paid fast without incurring those huge fees! If you use ACH payments, that same $10,000 invoice would have a fee of just $5—saving you $285! Stripe charges a 0.80% fee for ACH transactions, and fees are capped at $5 per transaction.

ACH is also a great option for clients who don’t like to charge large amounts to their credit card. You won’t need to wait for a check in the mail and will get notified as soon as an ACH payment is submitted.

Paying an Invoice with ACH

When a client views one of your invoices online, they’ll now have an option to Pay with Bank Transfer (ACH). We’ll guide your client through the smooth process of verifying their bank account and authorizing payment. Once they’ve confirmed their payment, we’ll send them a receipt.

Setting Up ACH Payments

Just head to Invoices > Configure > Online Payment and follow the steps to set up a Stripe account.

Once your account is connected to Stripe, you’ll see an option to enable ACH payments. You can also find more details here in our Help Center.

Some fine details:

  • It can take up to 3-5 business days for ACH payments to be approved.
  • When a client pays for an invoice with ACH, you’ll be notified instantly by email, and the invoice will be marked as pending payment.
  • Once the ACH payment has been approved, we’ll let you know by email, and mark your invoice as paid.

We hope this update helps smooth the payment process for both you and your clients! With faster payment and lower fees, you’ll save both time and money.

New! A Fast Way to Edit Lots of Time at Once

Our latest feature helps you speedily move lots of time from one project to another, making it easier to keep your team’s time accurate.

So it’s Friday night, and you’ve got just one more to-do before the weekend: check on your team’s time. Everything looks good until you realize, uh oh, your team’s been tracking time to the wrong project all week!

Maybe they’re getting used to a project restructure. Or you might have a lot of projects with the same name, making it easy to mistake one project for another. Or maybe your client changed scope that you broke into a new project.

Whatever caused your team to track to the wrong project, it usually means you’ve got to edit every single time entry. One. By. One. The weekend’s looking farther away than ever.

How to Quickly Move Time between Projects

Now, you no longer have to spend your time editing time. Our latest feature helps move a lot of time entries between projects with a few clicks.

If you’re an Administrator, just run a Detailed Time Report for the time entries you’d like to edit. Then use the Bulk Actions menu to choose to Move hours to another project. With a quick confirmation, you can move thousands of entries to a different project, saving time, and keeping your account accurate and up to date.

GIF showing click on bulk action menu item, choosing project to move time to, and time being moved

A Few Details about Moving Time

Here’s a quick rundown of some special cases that you might run into when moving time:

  • If a time entry’s person or task isn’t on the project you move time to, we’ll assign that person or task to the project for you.
  • If hours are approved, you can still move them.
  • If hours are invoiced, you won’t be able to move them. That could cause your invoices to get out of step with your projects.

The next time you discover a time tracking error, we hope this helps get your account into tip-top shape, fast. And that you save some time to better spend elsewhere. Happy tracking!

Boost Your Security: Sign in with Google for Two-Factor Authentication

You can now add another layer of data protection to your account! Get account-wide two-factor authentication (2FA) when you require your team to sign in to Harvest using Google.

We wish it wasn’t so, but hacks are pretty common these days. Even with all the measures Harvest already takes to protect your data, your account can only be as secure as your team’s weakest password. And despite their best intentions, some teammates might use the same simple password across multiple apps. That makes your account all the more vulnerable to hacks.

Security Made Simple: Two-Factor Authentication via Google Sign In

You can’t stand over everyone’s shoulder as they set up their password. So what can you do?

You can add an extra layer of security to your Harvest account with two-factor authentication (2FA), which is available via Google Sign In. And now you can guarantee that your team always uses 2FA by requiring them to sign in using Google.

This way, your account gets that additional security from Google every time your teammates sign in.

It’s Easy to Configure

With a few clicks, any Harvest administrator can enforce Google Sign In from Settings > Preferences > Sign In Security in your Harvest account.

We’ll Let Your Team Know

To keep your team informed, we’ll send everyone on your account an email once you’ve updated your Sign In Security preferences. If they were signed in to Harvest, they’ll be signed out and we’ll ask them to sign in again via Google. Right away, your team will be more secure, and they’ll know they have to sign in through Google going forward.

Things Worth Noting

If you enforce Google Sign In, your teammates will need to have Google-supported email addresses to access your Harvest account. Need a hand changing emails? We’ve got the steps to update email addresses here.

You’ll also need to set up 2FA in G Suite, if you haven’t already. Google’s got your back with these docs here.

A Few Minutes of Work, Lasting Peace of Mind

Why wait for world-class data protection? We’ve got step-by-step instructions to require sign in through Google here in our Help Center.

Now the next time a teammate sends you a panicked email telling you their password was phished, you can be confident that 2FA is keeping your Harvest account secure.

View Your Forecast Schedule Right in Your Calendar

Many businesses consider Forecast to be their single source of truth: it tells who should be doing what and when. We’re happy to announce that as of today, that truth is easier for all your teammates to access. Now you can view your Forecast schedule right inside your calendar!

Previously, making sure your team was up to date with the latest schedule could be tough. Team members needed to have access to your Forecast account, then remember to sign in each week to view the schedule. It was easy to miss changes that might happen mid-week. And that meant teammates could misunderstand the latest schedule, get out of sync with the team, and maybe even be unsure what to work on.

Forecast Comes to Calendars

That miscommunication doesn’t have to happen anymore! Now your teammates can view their Forecast schedule right inside of their calendar. All they have to do is subscribe to Forecast’s calendar feed. Then they’ll see all of their assignments and relevant milestones, right inside a program they’re more familiar with and more likely to look at every day. They can stay up to date and in sync without even needing to go to Forecast at all!

Google Calendar with Forecast Schedule

How to Subscribe to the Calendar Feed

Forecast’s calendar feed is available for all applications that can import an ICS feed, like Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Apple Calendar, and more.

To subscribe to your own calendar feed, simply click your name in the top right of Forecast, click My Calendar Feed and follow the instructions.

My Calendar Feed in the Profile Menu

You might want to help teammates subscribe to their feeds so they don’t have to do it on their own (especially if they don’t have access to Forecast). In this case, just use the new Calendar Feed option in any teammate’s Actions menu.

Choosing Calendar Feed from a Team Mates Actions Menu

Keeping Everyone on the Same Page

A little protip: If your calendar supports custom refresh rates, check out this guide to control how soon changes in Forecast will show up in your calendar. You can also see these help docs for more detailed info about set-up.

With everyone subscribed to their Forecast calendar feeds, it’ll be easier for both you and your teammates to feel confident that everyone knows what to work on, when. We hope this helps keep your whole team on the same page and working in sync!

Seamlessly Archive Projects and Clients between Harvest and Forecast

We’re happy to announce a quick improvement to the integration between Harvest and Forecast. Starting today, if you archive or restore a linked project or client in one app, it’ll be automatically archived or restored in the other.

Previously, archiving and restoring a project or client that was linked between Harvest or Forecast required manually performing that action twice—once in either Harvest or Forecast, and then jumping to the other application to do it again. It was also easy to forget to duplicate your efforts, which led to mismatched data.

Now, you can simply archive or restore in one place, and you’ll see a message that confirms the project/client has been archived or restored in your sister app.

This smoother workflow saves a few seconds with each edit, and you’ll no longer have to double up on busy work. Cheers to an easier way to keep your projects tidy and consistent across both your accounts!

If you haven’t yet integrated your Harvest and Forecast accounts, you can see the benefits and learn how in our Help Center.

Introducing Harvest for Windows

Here at Harvest, we’re committed to making time tracking as convenient as possible. For us, this includes creating useful and easy ways for you to access Harvest across new devices and platforms. That’s because we believe that our software should keep pace with the ever-changing technology available to our customers. Since launching Harvest as a web-based application in 2006, we’ve introduced Harvest for iPhone, Harvest for Android, and Harvest for Mac.

When we debuted Harvest for Mac, we had three goals in mind for our desktop app: Lightning fast time tracking, high visibility, and idle time detection. That’s where we started! Through the years, we’ve redesigned the Timesheet window, built in better Timestamp support, and added new features like keyboard shortcuts, time summaries, and Favorites. Every step of the way, our Mac-using customers have reached out to let us know how much they love the simplicity and convenience of the app.

We think it’s time to bring what we’ve learned from building onto Harvest for Mac into a desktop app of our Windows-users. About half of our customers use Windows, after all! So, without further delay, we’re pleased to announce the latest addition to our Harvest Apps suite: Harvest for Windows.

Harvest for Windows

Harvest for Windows is a native app that allows Windows 10 users to track time right from their desktop without missing a beat.

It’s fast

You can skip opening Harvest in your browser to sign in—Harvest for Windows lets you sign in right from your desktop whenever you need to track time.

Keyboard shortcuts allow you to swiftly start a new timer, stop an existing timer, and see your Favorite project/task combos.

It’s smart

We’ve all been there: Whether you’re rushing off to a meeting or in the flow of what you’re doing, it’s easy to forget you have a timer running.

Our Idle Time detection feature helps you zero in on the time that you were idle and quickly correct it.

It’s easy to see

You can check whether or not you have a timer running simply by looking at the system tray.

We’ll also show you how long your current timer has been running, so you don’t have to stop what you’re working on and move between apps to check your progress.

We believe Harvest for Windows will make tracking your time easier and faster. If you’re ready to give it a whirl, you can download it from the Microsoft Store. And, as always, let us know what you think!

New to Harvest? Learn more about what we offer and start a free 30-day trial here.

More Powerful Budgeting to Keep Your Monthly Retainers On Track

Setting a budget is a great way to track your project’s progress, and Harvest provides a variety of budget options that are ideal for projects that have a specific goal and a finite duration.

However, sometimes you need to track the progress of ongoing work that cannot be budgeted in its entirety. For example, perhaps you have a retainer agreement with a client, that specifies a set amount of work to be undertaken each month. This type of work has previously been difficult to budget in Harvest, because budgets have applied to the entire lifespan of a project, and retainer agreements often have no specified end date.

Previously, you might have duplicated a project each month in order to track a retainer against its budget. This required a lot of manual effort, and having multiple projects makes reporting that much more cumbersome.

Today, we’re introducing a new option to automatically reset a project’s budget every month. This option is available for all Time & Materials and Non-Billable projects, as well as for Fixed Fee projects that budget in hours.

When you create or edit a project, simply check the new Budget resets every month option that appears beneath the selected budget type, and enter the hours or fees that you want to budget for each month.

Budget resets every month

With this option enabled, Harvest will calculate the project’s budget spend using only tracked time (and expenses, where applicable) incurred during the current calendar month, rather than over the entire lifespan of the project. At the beginning of each new month, the budget spent will be 0%, and the budget remaining will be 100%.

If the option to Send email alerts if project exceeds % of budget is also checked, email notifications will be sent whenever the project exceeds the specified threshold amount within any given month.

On the project analysis page, you’ll find summary information focused on the current month, as well as a new Monthly Progress graph that makes it easy to see at a glance how the project has performed against the budget each month.

Monthly project analysis

We hope this feature will make it easier for you to track the progress of your projects that are budgeted on a monthly basis. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team. Happy budgeting!