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Jewelry Jobs - Tracking Time


#1

I have been using a sports stopwatch for tracking the time spent on
jewellery jobs and projects. This worked well, but the times had to
be entered into my computer manually and I often got lost when doing
multiple jobs simultaneously. I began a search for some form of
stopwatch that works within the computer. After a months long search
what I found is so suited to the task that I wish to share it with
other jewellers. Here I must add that I have no affiliation in any
way with the company that developed and markets the software other
than being a very satisfied customer.

The product is called Virtual Stopwatch, the company is Spring Creek
Software Company (Google it). Virtual Stopwatch is a tiny (or huge if
you want) panel that sits on the computer desk top. It displays the
time, date, and job logged in. It is highly configureable, which
perhaps is a negative aspect because it takes a long time to explore
all the options available, and is a little quirky in the learning
curve in that you may need some computer experience to get the full
benefits available. Instructions and support are excellent. Once set
up it works perfectly and is fast and easy to operate, recording each
log entry in it’s own database, with categories, times, costs, and
more. I find it indispensible for timing multiple jobs in progress
and my time tracking is now more simple and accurate. If you work
with a computer next to you, have a bit of computer knowlege and want
to track your time, give it a try. If you have found anything better
or similar, please tell us!


#2

All who work on computers for a living writing code use a small
freeware utility. The can be found at www.majorgeeks.com or
www.tucows.com search for timer for those who like free stuff :slight_smile:

http://www.tucows.com/get/355030_133591

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry
www.corneliusspick.com


#3

al,

I have been using a sports stopwatch for tracking the time spent
on jewellery jobs and projects. 

umm, are you free to tell us who it was holding a gun to your head
to make you do this?

did you perhaps lose a wager that requires you to not derive a bit
of pleasure from making jewelry?

is someone holding your rolling mill hostage until you turn in a
time sheet - are they threatening to wonky up your rollers?

do you get a prize for logging every second of every hour of your
work day - a very large prize?

if none of the above - just sit in the corner and hit your head with
a chasing hammer every few minutes to get the same benefits.

good luck -
ive

who, after contract work of 6 minute segments in aerospace/defense, decided
that keeping time in future would be only to receive big money by the second.


#4

Hi Ive,

Ha ha…you’ve got me thinking - am I a slave to time?

Yes, I track time to know what I must charge for repairs and to be
able to quote accurately based on accumulated data. I am not
influenced by what others charge, or any generic price lists, or
industry standards. The data is live on the computer; tweaks and
changes to any detail, or across the board can be done in seconds;
and finding a better ‘virtual’ stopwatch is a small but exciting
thing for me.

And no because I can choose to defy my data and be “free” when I
want, but alas, I know the value of that freedom.

Time is the gun at my head, that’s what I sell, it’s there, I’m very
concious of it, got to watch it with a stopwatch.

The hourly rate is the hostage of time. Put a value on creativity,
experience, service - the intangibles; stuff that costs money like
ROLLERS; and the time spent doing the business things; plus what I
want in return for time and effort. Distill all that into a number -
the hourly rate. Shoot at time without endangering the hostage, or
shoot the hostage? They are difficult targets either way.

I venture forth with my gun and hostage, er… measured time and hour
rate, but I wonder if hitting myself on the head with a chasing
hammer is less painfull. Is there a better way?

Al.


#5

Alastair-

I love your writing…very Impressionistic. We do need to keep track
of time. I am very guilty of not doing so, and I think it is because
I don’t want to know, sometimes, just how long I am taking on things,
and how much I am therefore undercharging for them. Not a good thing.
I had some clients drop in today, Saturday, my day off (?) and I did
a while-u-wait repair on someone else’s work for them, never thinking
to look at my watch. I HOPE I charged about $50/hour, because that is
what the job was worth, between their dissatisfaction with the
maker’s initial repair, and my genius approach to fixing the mess,
only possible due to my 30+ years of experience and my artistic
ingenuity. But how much better I would be feeling now if I had
thought to look at my watch and would now therefore know for sure
that I had made a fine wage for my aggravation!

I don’t want to take all the fun out of my work by being too
factory- like, but I do think that I need to have a grip on how long
things take. I get so absorbed in my work that I lost track of time
easily, so I think that a little regulation is in order. Unlike some
folks on this list, this is my whole income. No money for teaching,
no money for a day job, no money for writing for magazines…just
bench time. Time is very important. So don’t let anyone tell you
differently if it is your instinct to feel that way.

Sincerely,
M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA


#6

Dear both of you, I did time studies for several years. I had my
smiths time themselves and did it to myself as well. These studies
were done with ordinary stop watches per job, not just repair but
anything we worked on. It was a grind and hard to keep up with but,
I learned so much. One of the things I learned was that finishing(
filing emery-ing and polishing) were the most time consuming areas
of any project so I studied this area to see what could be done
about it. I came up with using lapidary sander running under water
to file and emery, the 3-M scotch brite wheels to aid in emerying
and cut out significant amounts of hand work yet keeping high
quality finishes part of the work. Casting parts of the work was
another time saver and again keeping the over all quality high. These
time studies got me into using the hydraulic press pushing metal
into urethane to avoid tool marks and the time associated to remove
tool marks in the finishing process. I also got into pancake dies to
do alot of the basic cutting of projects. I can in,one instance,
produce an item my grandfather designed in one tenth the time he
took to make it and you would not be able to tell the quality
difference between his product and mine. Manyother older designs can
now be produced with similar time savings and some designs modified
or gotten rid of all together. I can decide quickly if a design is
worth producing at all becasue of the time studies or how it can be
modified to make it cost effective. The time studies allowed me to
know how much time it took to do many parts of a project like
bezels, stone setting and many other processes which I now use to
price out work, The time studies were invauable. I am now only
occasionally keeping an eye on the clock and am glad the studies are
for the most part done. I hated it but am glad I did it.

Sam Patania, Tucson
www.patanias.com