The Dos and Dont’s of Time Tracking

Time is a non-renewable resource, a finite reservoir from which we draw our consciousness, creativity and rest. This is the most valuable resource we have at our fingertips, however it is often misused or ignored. If we want to manage our time better and make better business decisions, we must first learn where our time is going.

Time tracking software is the best learning tool to start with if you want less burnout and increased productivity. However, there are some goals to strive for and pitfalls to avoid. Here are the methods and those of tracking time that you should know about before you start.

The dos

Make it a part of your company culture

Integrating time tracking software into your daily workflow will require your team to embrace this new change. Time tracking is not a chore, so do not treat it as one. Everyone who participates should want to keep track of their time, not tell them to do so. One tangible and immediate benefit of time tracking is that it gives your team data to back up their intuition when making decisions, like whether to fire a problematic customer or not, or disconnect early on a Friday. It’s hard to say no to that.

Use it to gauge profitability

Whether your projects are committed by the hour or by a fixed fee, the profitability calculation will use the same equation – the amount paid less the cost of work hours. Time tracking software not only gives you the data you need to calculate profit, it can alert you to budget anomalies before they occur based on how your time is trending. Measuring the profitability of each project means you can fix the course early and stay on track for a period of time Total profitable year.

Use it to improve productivity

Once you find out where your time is going you also find out where it is wasted. There have been many times that someone on my team, including me, has spent too many hours chasing a troublesome mission down a rabbit hole. Or one of us ignored working on a task at all. Time tracking will reveal these gaps so we can keep track of each other and keep working forward.

Do not do

Do not be the big brother

Using time tracking as a monitoring tool to enforce an eight-hour workday or a 40-hour workweek will only cause your team to burn out and break down faster. Do not use time tracking to double what is already questionable in workplace policies.

Do not use it as an account book

Although time tracking tools take up most of the time we spend at work, they still cannot (and should not) keep track of every minute. Do not try to give an account of your whole day. It’s okay if some of your time is not considered each week. Our focus should always be on the quality of time spent at work, not on the number of minutes.

Do not measure and do not compare

The weekly schedule is not a measure of a person’s abilities. Do not compare one person sheet of time to another. We all work at our own pace, a pace that varies from person to person and from week to week. If you use time tracking to get everyone on your team to do the same thing, the differences between them will become weakness instead of strength.

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