The 12 Best Time Tracking Tips in 2023
Time tracking has grown increasingly popular, especially with remote working becoming such a big thing. With all the technological advances, the old way of keeping track of time by writing it down on paper has become obsolete.
Nowadays, time tracking software is used by employees and employers not only to keep track of their work but also to bill, monitor and enhance the organization’s performance.
With time tracking tools, you can get crucial information by which you can completely understand your performance and productivity levels. You can accomplish excellent results by adding time tracking into your daily routine and your company’s everyday work schedule. However, implementing it into your routine can sometimes be tricky.
Keeping track of your time is an extra job that most employees don’t want to do, but there are many ways to make it easier. But how? In this article, we will share some valuable time tracking tips to get the most out of your time.
The 12 best time tracking tips
1. Understand why it’s important to track time for your team
First, don’t do it just because you vaguely think it might work or be helpful. Before taking up time tracking, you must have clear the exact reasons why you need it. Here are some questions that time tracking will help you to answer.
- Where do we spend most of our time?
- Are my team members overworking?
- Which projects and tasks are the most profitable ones?
- Which clients are the less profitable?
- Are we billing correctly or missing some profitable opportunities?
- Which are the main time-wasting activities for my team?
- Where in the day the fatigue kicks in, and my productivity levels drop?
2. Get your team onboard
This is an important step. If your team doesn’t understand the benefits, they will only see it as extra work.
As the first step to getting your team onboard to work on a new project is to gather a meeting, for time tracking try the same approach. Here are four simple tactics to convince everyone:
Show a case study or some actual information: find a company or a friend that’s already using a time tracking tool and ask them to share their key learnings after starting to use a time tracker, for example. If you don’t have any examples at hand, have a look at Timeular’s success stories or book a demo with our co-founders to see how Timeular can help.
Share your own personal timesheets: the easiest way to make the point is to prove that you’re aware of all the inconveniences yourself. Track your time for one two weeks before sharing the results with your team. Consider Timeular’s 14-day free trial.
Explain the benefits: give your team at least three key points about how time tracking would improve both their work and the company’s results. Below some example of benefits.
- Streamlined payroll: When teams are using a time tracking tool, they can seamlessly transfer data from the app to their payroll solution and minimize steps and human error.
- More accurate project estimates: When managers know how long it takes for their teams to complete tasks, they can accurately predict how long a project will take and reduce scope creep.
- Better team management: You can ensure that your team is working on tasks that align with their skill set and aren’t overworking themselves.
Ask for their opinions: request whether your team has concerns about time tracking and find the best solution together.
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3. Find a simple and user-friendly time tracker
Choose your time tracking software well. Software with a clear dashboard, easy accessibility, and accurate monitoring will help users to get the maximum benefit from it.
Look at time tracker features, the compatibility with different devices and software, and of course, the price. We suggest you to test some trackers, and use the free trials. If possible, engage your team in this step.
If you’re looking for a solution for a team, freelancers, lawyers, small businesses, or contractors, we suggest you use Timeular.
With Timeular, you track your and your team’s time together. Also, you can use tags, mentions, and notes to enrich your time entries and make time tracking more precise. With the recorded information, you can easily create customizable reports, share the information with your clients, and export your data to CSV, PDF, and Excel.
Also, you can pair Timeular software with a time trackeing dice. With eight sides, this tracking dice automatically tracks activities when flipped. This means that with one simple turn, you can track what you are working on, making tracking time easy and adding a visual reminder to keep you focused.
This software is also very flexible and adapts to your working conditions: whether you’re working in the office, or you and your team are working remotely, Timeular gives you all the information you need to take your business to the next level.
4. Keep it simple
This is one of the best tips for time tracking, and also one of the most underrated: keep it simple.
When creating a time tracking framework, it’s easy to get carried away with all the possibilities and future reporting options.
Instead of creating tens of different activity categories and sub-tasks, try to keep it as simple as possible. To start, track a maximum of three activities with your team. From there, start adding more activities once the team is fully onboard with time tracking.
To add a touch of sophistication to your time tracking structure, create tags that people can add when logging their time. A tag is a shared label that team members can use to categorize their time entries. For example, a tag could be #reactive or #proactive work.
Tags should serve as an add-on for personal time tracking, making it easier to remind on which tasks exactly the time was spent.
5. Create a troubleshooting system
It’s perfectly normal to mess things up at the beginning when you’re still learning.
Imagine you’ve completed a task of planning a project together with a client. Is it supposed to be logged under the category “Meeting”, “Planning”, or “Work for clients”?
Well, to avoid this kind of confusion, establish clear rules of which activity falls under which project and make sure the whole team is aware.
It can be super helpful for your team if you create a Q&A document or a Slack thread where everyone can submit questions about logging their time. You can also create a shared file with examples of how to track different tasks and activities. Add explanations why each one falls under a specific category. Also, make sure you review time sheets regularly to check whether everyone has logged their time correctly.
6. Establish rules
To avoid complete chaos, establish user rights that prevent all users from editing your time tracking framework. You don’t want every single person to create task categories randomly. You, or a person designated by you for that purpose, should be the only ones able to create categories so that everything is coherent.
You also need to ensure everyone has at least 10 minutes a day to log their time. Otherwise, by the end of the month, lazy colleagues will have the whole month empty, and it will mess everything up. If you realize someone is struggling, offer help, as taking up a new habit is difficult.
Regularly ask your team members whether they grasp the new system and if they need additional guidance.
7. Say goodbye to spreadsheets
Excel was a superstar tool in the past, helping businesses become more efficient and making people more productive at work. But not anymore. Manually filling time entries in Excel time sheets is considered a waste of time and often leads to human errors.
Nowadays, there are so many better options to track your time. Like a cloud-based time tracking tool that also compiles your reports in addition to systematically tracking your team’s time.
What are the benefits of using time tracking software instead of Excel? Here are:
- It’s a lot easier: you don’t need to send tens of emails to collect everyone’s time sheets. All the data’s ready in your time-tracking tool.
- There are fewer errors: you’ll instantly notice if something doesn’t add up by using the tracker, whether the expected duration of a project is suspiciously low, or if some employees are outperforming others by a huge margin.
- No more double data entry: instead of logging your team’s time on spreadsheets and then compiling it into a work report, you can get automatically created reports inside your work management tool.
- Use your tracker anytime, anywhere: while Excel spreadsheets live on our PCs, a cloud-based tool makes your time sheets accessible anywhere and anytime.
8. Use time blocking
Time blocking consists of dedicating a certain period of your workday to a specific task. It’s like breaking your daily to-do list into chunks of time, or what we’d call timed slots, to work on tasks or projects. That means eliminating distractions and using all that time to get as much work done.
However, time blocking largely depends on your industry and whether you work independently or collaborate with other team members. Therefore, it may be tough to time block some workspaces and jobs because they are so dynamic. Remember, this planning method should improve your workday, not make it more stressful.
Ensure that your company and team culture fit into this time management technique and if so, use it. You will not regret it!
Did you know that Elon’s Musk 5-minute rule is based on time-blocking principles?
9. Prioritize items in your to-do lists
One of the fundamental tools for time management is that list of things you need to get done every day as it consolidates all your tasks in one place. From there you can prioritize them and tackle the important ones first.
Making a to-do list is an important first step, however, prioritizing that list ensures that you focus on the most important items rather than giving in to the temptation of working on less important items because they are easier to do.
Once you have a list of the things you need to complete, set priorities, and decide which jobs should be done first.
Also, using a to-do list enables you to mark off the tasks you have completed. At the end of the day, when you look at the list, it will give you a sense of accomplishment when you see that everything was done!
Find the best prioritization methods to prioritize your workload.
10. Break large tasks into smaller ones
When working on an extensive and arduous project, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the tasks you’re responsible for completing. This feeling can prevent you from making progress, damaging your morale and making your workload seem almost impossible.
But just as you’d eat a large meal in small bites, you can get through any task, no matter how long and complicated, if you can break it down into manageable pieces. Once you’ve done so, you need only address those pieces individually.
Therefore, a work measurement system that breaks up tasks on an hourly and daily basis will be able to achieve a larger task outline or long-term objectives in a much easier way.
11. Automate tasks
Gathering data manually is a monotonous, repetitive task, therefor there are a few things that are super important to automate and will allow you to save a lot of time.
Just out of curiosity, did you know that without a task automation app, an average employee spends about 3 hours a day repeating the same tedious task instead of focusing on more creative projects? This has resulted in decreased work productivity, effectiveness, and motivation for many companies everywhere.
Reports show that companies that adopted work automation had nearly 60% of their employees saving six or more hours a week when some repetitive aspects of their jobs were automated. This is possible because automation can handle about 45% of repetitive tasks.
12. Use data to make decisions
The ability to make crucial decisions using time tracking software becomes fact-based and provides good inputs for more intelligent management in general. This leads to an overall effect of improvement within the company and the teams, as the end-user understands their individual work style and what needs to improve.
With time tracking, a manager comprehends the skill and ability issues within the team and what kind of changes must be done to make things work smoothly. Time tracking also helps in understanding a team’s dynamics while segmenting performance across multiple dimensions.
Performances will always vary depending on many factors, such as skillsets, education, managers, or an employee’s location. But rich data generated by time tracking software will provide insights needed to run operations to a high capacity and maximum efficiency.
Did you know that time tracking will help you make better time estimations?
Does time tracking improve productivity?
Yes, time tracking does improve your productivity and overall performance. It helps measure your productivity in your everyday. Once measured, it helps you and your team to develop a sense of accountability and urgency during the work process. The collected data can tell you what you need to improve to become more productive.
Is time tracking legal?
Yes, employee time tracking is completely legal, unlike time monitoring.
What are the best ways to track time?
There are different ways to track your time efficiently, such as paper planner, online planner, time tracking app or a simple spreadsheet.
The most important thing at the end of the day is to find a system that works for you and your team.
As you’ve probably heard many times by now, time tracking can be super effective and help you improve your productivity and overall results. In this article, we hope you found the best tips time tracking tips to get the most out of it.
We don’t expect you to follow every single one of our rules because there’s simply no singular way to track time. The most important step you’ll take on your time-tracking journey is finding the practices that fit your business and needs, as well as the needs of your employees.
Simply choosing a piece of time management software just isn’t enough. Firstly, you must prepare your system to get the best results.
Secondly, you will have to track both the implementation process and the daily use. This is important because it will allow you to change the system positively. And finally, you should utilize the data you collect to improve your practices.
Even though it may sound scary at first, it has already been proven that the results of the companies that implement time-tracking in their routine show again and again that it is highly effective. So, give it a go! You’ll be surprised by what you can achieve.
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