How to Do A Time Audit: A Step-by-Step Guide

Prioritization, deadlines, and a balance between professional and personal life could be dreadful to achieve. That’s where the time audit enters the conversation to take control of the schedule and assign the hours correctly. 

A time audit offers a detailed analysis of the activities, tasks, and commitments allocated, identifies time-wasting activities, prioritizes tasks, and structures a balanced schedule for the user.

Scroll down and follow the steps in this master guide to do a time audit and improve your productivity and time management.

Looking for the best tool for your time audit? Try Timeular for free

What’s a time audit?

A time audit is a structured review of your time throughout a day’s work during a defined period (a week or a month).

Its main goal is to offer insights into how your time is invested by identifying time-wasting and prioritized activities.

This will ultimately lead to more informed decisions on managing time more effectively. 

On a time audit, you’re responsible for recording and categorizing every activity, task, commitment, and time spent on each.

The tasks can vary from work, personal, leisure, or break-related.

Once the time audit is filled, you only need to analyze and detect the patterns and inefficiencies that stand in the way of your goals.

Importance of conducting a time audit

Performing a time audit to improve your productivity has an impact on your work-life quality:

  1. Awareness

Through a transparent time audit, you’ll have a clear scenario of how you spend your time, which makes you more aware of your activities and routines.

  1. Definition of inefficiencies

A time audit will allow you to identify time-wasting activities taking too much of your precious time. Through that logic, you’ll optimize and eliminate those same tasks

  1. Prioritization 

You’ll know the difference between high-priority and low-priority tasks, so you’re focused on important activities. 

Read also: How to organize, plan, and prioritize your work.

  1. Better time allocation

By rethinking your time usage, you’ll be able to reallocate more time to the tasks that actually have more impact on the success of your project.

  1. Development of more productivity 

When you eliminate time-wasting activities and delegate low-priority activities, you’re able to be more productive and focus on tasks that will have bigger and better results.

TIP: Read our post and find out why you’re feeling unproductive.

  1. Planning accuracy 

You’ll have the data that you need to plan your days, weeks, and months in a more effective manner so that you have time for the important tasks.

  1. Establishment of a work-life balance

When you have a better understanding of the time spent, you have the opportunity to really allocate time for personal activities and hobbies.

Read also: How to manage work-life balance

  1. Elimination of stress

With a time audit and better management, you no longer have to deal with the work stress of missing deadlines or forgetting elements that could be important for your project.

  1. Goal reaching

If you’re invested in performing time audits, it’s guaranteed that you’ll be much closer to your long-term goals.

TIP: Read our post if you want to know the difference between short-term and long-term goals.

  1. Continuous improvement

Periodic time audits allow you to track your progress on a regular basis, it redesigns your strategy for improving time management. 

  1. Self-development

When you’re learning even more about the way you spend your time and how to be better at it, you become more aware of your own self, which allows for good introspection and personal growth.

You might be interested in: The best free online time management training courses

  1. Satisfaction guaranteed

Doing a time audit not only brings a more organized and effective method to the way that you spend your time, but it also gives you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

How to do a time audit: A step-by-step guide

Consistency and honesty in every activity is a mandatory rule that you must consider when you’re performing a time audit.

Follow these 12 steps, and you’ll be able to properly conduct a time audit that includes important data for wise decision-making.

1. Establish a time frame

First, you need to choose a period for your time audit, even if it’s only a week or a whole month. As long as it stands as the perfect sample to capture typical routines and activities.

2. Categorize

It’s important that you categorize every element that’s part of your personal and of your work life.

Categories such as work tasks, personal tasks, leisure, commuting, meals, and breaks are some that you can include.

Later you’ll be able to analyze and see how much time was spent in each category.

3. Document all your activities 

Keep a detailed record of every activity that you’re involved in throughout the whole day.

You can use a notebook, a spreadsheet template (you can see an example below), or a time-tracking software that can track your time accurately and automatically. 

4. Establish the time audit’s start and finish

You must make a note of the time that you’re starting the audit, as well as the time that you finish.

5. Be specific

Be as specific and detailed as you can when documenting your activities. The more you know about it, the easier it will be for any time audit.

6. Calculate the time you spent

Once you’ve chosen the time window to audit, calculate how much time you spend in each category and analyze a summary of the most hours spent.

Read also: Tracking and calculating time spent on tasks

7. Analyze and reflect 

After gathering the necessary data, it’s time that you look for patterns, trends, and areas where you might have spent unnecessary time. 

8. Identify time-wasting activities

It’s inevitable that you’ll find time-wasting activities across the data you’ve collected. With that in mind, keep attention to those same tasks that are taking up your time.

9. Prioritize

After analyzing the data and eliminating time-wasting activities, make sure that you reallocate your time, by prioritizing tasks that have a big impact on your project.

Assign tasks that contribute to your milestones and delegate the ones that are not as important.

Read also: The best project management prioritization techniques

10. Create a new schedule 

With the help of the provided insights, make sure that you create a brand-new and structured schedule that envisions your priorities and goals.

Start by allocating time to certain tasks and make sure the work is properly distributed. 

11. Implement and adjust

Test the new schedule and track its progress throughout. It’s possible that you make some adjustments along the way in order to stay as optimized as possible.

12. Review

Perform time audits regularly so that you’re able to review and track the progress of your schedule and how you’ve spent your time.

The goal is always to achieve the milestones that you’ve established.

Download the free eBook: How to Work Smart

Top productivity tips for teams and their leaders

Example of a time audit template

8AMReading Emails
9AMKick-off meeting
11AMBrand meeting
12PMSending pending emails
8PMTime at home

16 Tips for maximizing results from a time audit

There are always tips that you could use to optimize a time audit so that the result is even better than what you expect.

Here’s some advice on how to make your time audit experience even better:

  1. Be honest and accurate in your activities’ recording;
  2. Use time tracking software that could streamline the process;
  3. Establish realistic and specific goals before performing a time audit;
  4. Always choose a time frame that is perfect for analysis;
  5. Be specific on the categorization of activities;
  6. Analyze patterns to distinguish the productive and unproductive ones;
  7. Focus on the tasks that have a great impact on your project;
  8. Be skeptical towards the routines you’ve implemented;
  9. When creating a new schedule, be realistic about how much time you need for each task;
  10. Add buffer time for unexpected interruptions, tasks, or delays;
  11. Use time-blocking techniques so that you’re able to allocate specific time blocks to certain tasks;
  12. Minimize multitasking since it decreases your productivity, efficiency, and focus;
  13. Identify tasks that could be delegated;
  14. Reflect on your progress and adjust if needed;
  15. Allow yourself to celebrate every single improvement so that you stay motivated;
  16. Show flexibility towards unexpected events that could happen and cause an impact on your project.

Read also: How to delegate tasks to team members

Best Focus And Concentration Apps

How time tracking helps to do a time audit

Time tracking is an indispensable tool when it comes to conducting a comprehensive time audit because it provides the necessary data to conduct such an audit with accuracy and efficiency, offering insights that are instrumental for better time management and productivity.

Firstly, time tracking tools offer a real-time and objective record of how time is spent. Unlike relying on memory or estimations, time tracking provides precise data on when tasks are started, paused, and completed. This data serves as an unfiltered account of work patterns, enabling an accurate representation of daily activities.

Secondly, time tracking allows for detailed analysis. By categorizing tasks, projects, and activities, you can break down your workday into segments. This segmentation offers a clear picture of where your time is being invested. It helps in identifying time-consuming tasks, frequent interruptions, and bottlenecks, thereby facilitating the identification of areas that need optimization.

Time tracking helps in assessing productivity. With the data collected, you can measure the time spent on tasks against the output generated. This comparison provides insights into your efficiency and helps in prioritizing tasks that yield high-value results. Time tracking also reveals any time leaks, enabling you to take steps to eliminate distractions and enhance your overall focus.

Lastly, time tracking data serves as a valuable baseline for future planning and goal-setting. By analyzing your time tracking records, you can identify trends, allocate time more effectively, and set realistic goals for better time utilization. It provides a factual foundation for setting priorities, allocating resources, and making informed decisions regarding workload distribution.

Read also: What is a workload analysis and how to do it

Timeular: the best tool to do your time audit

Timeular stands as the most accurate and effortless time tracking software for teams and individuals. Timeular stands out as a tool for time audits because of the following features:

  • Effortless time tracking – when time tracking is easy to perform, then it is most likely you’ll pick the habit of doing it.
  • Track any leave and keep over-hours in check.
  • A physical time tracker – that’s an 8-sided die that makes time tracking even easier.
  • Automatic time tracking – enabling automatic tracking will give you a complete list of activities at the end of your working data without lifting a finger.
  • Automated reports – time audit is done automatically by Timeular, and you’ll see the reports in the Insights section at the end of each day.
  • Tags and notes for time entries – tags will help you to categorize better your time entries, and the notes will add more details to each time entry.

Tracking time with the Timeular Tracker

Timeular is widely known for its physical Tracker that connects to the app via Bluetooth. As you can easily customize it through colorful stickers and pens, the 8-sided die serves as a physical reminder that sits on your desk.

The Tracker also functions offline, but you don’t need the Tracker to use the Timeular software, which works independently.

How does it work? Assign your activities to each side of the Tracker and flip the dice to start a new time entry. If needed, edit the entry in the app afterward by adding tags and notes.

I am not one that finds joy in tracking my time. Thankfully, I can now simply flip the Timeular Tracker.

Melissa, Senior Analyst in Health

Track time with zero effort!

“Timeular is the system we rely on in order to get accurately paid, so we are meticulous with our tracking and include every task.” – Kaitlin Snow Seamons, Executive Creative Director at Harmon Brothers


A time audit serves as a powerful tool to show how you can invest your time in the most impactful and helpful manner.

When discovering trends and patterns on your time audit, you’re able to discover activities that are taking up too much of your time and also to explore which categories that you should excel at to achieve your goals and improve overall.

With the help of a time audit, you’ll gain insights that will help you make more informed decisions and to create and control a structured and strategized schedule.

Ultimately, you’ll have the opportunity to allocate activities that impact your goals and delegate time-consuming ones, which is a great way to enhance your concentration, focus, and productivity. 

Of course, performing a time audit can be a big challenge, but with the right tool at hand like Timeular will be much easier.

Although it requires significant dedication and self-reflection, there’s nothing more rewarding than looking to a more structured schedule.

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