To Track Time Or Not?
January 30, 2017
It’s an age-old productivity question, “should I track my time, or not?” Some will argue that it’s an unnecessarily painful step, a waste of resources, or a practice that brings little overall benefit. Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll find that it’s easier than you’ve been led to believe and much more advantageous than you might have assumed.
The Argument(s) For Time Tracking
Productivity gurus will usually lead with the financial arguments. Think about how much time you’re frittering away throughout the day. Imagine how much more you could get done and how much efficiency you stand to gain by carefully tracking your hours, then using the cold, hard numbers to perfectly organise your day for maximum efficiency.
Those experts aren’t wrong. Getting into the nitty-gritty of time tracking allows you gain an abundance of data that you can use for billing clients, arrange projects to eliminate wasted effort, improve estimates, and do just about everything else that will benefit your bottom line.
For the strictly business-minded, time tracking is a part of the routine that cannot be overlooked.
What some leave out of the argument for time tracking, though, is that it goes beyond profit margins. Knowing how you spend your time (and how you can spend it better) is a great way to take some of the stress out of work, allow yourself more time for other activities, and lead a more fulfilling work/personal life with fewer regrets about wasted moments.
Time Tracking The Right Way
We already touched upon one of the biggest reasons people will avoid time tracking: soul-crushing tedium. If all you’re working with is a pencil and paper, then yes, trying to track your time stands to get more than a bit difficult. Thankfully, in the 21st Century, there’s no need to result to time-consuming old-school methods. Software like Clockspot helps simplify the process in a big way.
Let’s use managing a remote team of workers as a hypothetical example. Without some time tracking standard in place, you’ll just have to rely on each individual to give you an estimate on how much they worked and hope that it’s correct. With a time tracking system, you can have each log-in when they begin, log-out when they finished, and there you have it: a full report of all the time your crew spent working on a project. You can take that and bill your client an accurate amount, and pay each of your employees accordingly.
Even if you’re just working solo or freelance, tracking your time like this makes sense. You’re going to want as much detail as you can get, not only to justify to your clients why they owe you a particular amount but also to better manage the clients that you have to get more done. If you’ve got a growing customer base, it can be difficult to arrange all the work that you need to do for them by hand. Implement your time tracking software correctly, though, and you’ll be able to organise everything so that it gets done on time and your clients stay happy.
As you can see, there’s really no reason not to get started tracking your time, so make sure you start doing it the right way, today!
Note: This article was written by the clever team at Clockspot. When they approached me to share this post I had a look at their tools (and have no hesitation in recommending them based on that) knowing time tracking is a big problem for clients we work with. Whether you have a team and want to be able to track their time or if it’s just you wanting to be more efficient with your own time, time tracking is a proven tool when it comes to working smarter.