What is Time Tracking and How to Do it Right

Author: Madalina Roman

Ever wondered if you could unlock the secret to supercharging your business’s performance? Well, there’s a hidden gem in the world of business optimization, and it’s called time tracking.

In this article, we’re about to peel back the curtain on what time tracking is and how it can be a game-changer for your company.

We’ll explore why it’s not just a tool but a strategic asset. You will discover the benefits of time tracking, diverse methods, and the best time tracking software. Lastly, we’ll equip you with insider time tracking tips to give your business an edge.

If you’re ready to uncover the mysteries of turbocharging your business, let’s begin.

What is time tracking?

Time tracking is a method that precisely monitors the amount of time dedicated to various tasks and activities. It’s the first step towards effective time management and a powerful tool to prevent time from slipping through the cracks. Time tracking is usually handled with a time tracking app.

Whether you’re a project manager or a freelancer, time tracking enables more efficient task management and highlights areas where valuable time may be slipping away. This helps you stay on top of your schedule and use your time productively.

Related content:

time tracking with Timeular

Why is time tracking important?

Time tracking is crucial for businesses because it provides an effective means to manage time, plan tasks, and alleviate stress caused by looming deadlines.

Knowing how time is spent allows for better task planning and routine adjustments, leading to increased productivity and reduced anxiety associated with tight deadlines.

With proper methods, businesses can optimize their operations, allocate resources efficiently, and achieve a win-win situation where productivity and employee well-being are enhanced.

What are the benefits of time tracking?

Time tracking provides many benefits in a professional environment, helping to increase productivity and boost billable hours. It is an exceptional solution to a feeling of losing track of time and serves as a universal tool for improved time management with applications that adapt to diverse professional roles and objectives.

Let’s check how time tracking can simplify and revolutionize your professional life.

the benefits of tracking time by employers

Time tracking benefits for employers

If you’re a business owner, introducing a time tracking app can profoundly impact various aspects of your operations. Learn how to track employee hours to make more informed decisions about how your entire team allocates their time to different tasks, enabling you to work smarter, not harder.

If you ask yourself how many hours your employees spend on their projects, time tracking will surely provide answers. Additionally, time tracking helps you uncover time-wasting activities (aka time wasters), improving overall team effectiveness.

Beyond internal operations, time tracking significantly enhances the client billing process. Without precise data on the time devoted to each project, you might find yourself guessing about client invoices. Time tracking eliminates this uncertainty by providing solid data on time allocation, ensuring detailed reports, and accurate and fair client billing.

Furthermore, it plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy work-life balance for your team. By monitoring and managing work hours, you can prevent overloading your team and keep overtime in check, contributing to their well-being and job satisfaction.

Time tracking is a multifaceted tool that streamlines your business operations, boosts efficiency, and promotes transparency internally and with your clients.

the benefits of tracking time by employees

Time tracking benefits for employees

Time tracking offers numerous benefits to employees, ensuring a harmonious work-life balance while enhancing overall productivity. It is a potent tool to identify time-wasting activities and allows for accurate estimates when embarking on new projects.

Additionally, it assists in tracking both regular work hours and overtime, offering a comprehensive record of all activities undertaken throughout the week.

Moreover, time tracking is a steadfast ally in maintaining focus amidst the distractions of the modern work environment, helping individuals, including those with ADHD, conquer the ever-elusive “monkey mind.”

It’s a multifaceted solution that not only aids in efficient time management but also contributes to personal well-being and professional success, particularly for those who require extra support in staying focused.

Read also: Why time management is important in a business

Benefits for remote workers

Time tracking benefits for remote workers

Time tracking offers significant advantages for remote workers, addressing key challenges commonly faced in remote work settings. With time tracking apps, remote workers can give their managers and team members real-time visibility into their ongoing tasks and projects. This transparency fosters collaboration and ensures that everyone is aligned and informed about the team’s progress.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be particularly challenging in remote work arrangements, as the boundaries between work and personal life tend to blur. Time tracking becomes a valuable ally in this regard by helping remote workers gauge how much time they dedicate to their work. By gaining insights into their work hours, remote workers can make informed adjustments to avoid overworking and prioritize their time effectively.

In a world where remote work is increasingly prevalent, time tracking is a tool that enhances productivity and promotes work-life balance, ultimately contributing to a more fulfilling remote work experience.

Read also: The guide for remote working

Tracking project time

Time tracking benefits for project managers

Time tracking is an indispensable asset for project managers, offering a range of crucial advantages. Best employee time tracking software simplifies the often challenging task of getting team members to log their hours worked on tasks and activities, streamlining the process for all involved parties.

With the right project hours tracker, project managers gain precision in tracking time spent on various projects, ensuring accurate billing and transparent reporting to share with team members, stakeholders, or clients.

Moreover, project time tracking is a proactive tool for identifying potential workflow bottlenecks. By analyzing the data, project managers can pinpoint any team member taking longer to complete specific tasks, enabling early intervention and problem-solving to prevent delays.

Additionally, it helps address questions like how to estimate software development time for future projects, enabling project managers to plan, assign tasks, and allocate resources effectively.

It also plays a vital role in tracking billable time and project cost management, ensuring that projects stay on budget and meet client expectations.

In essence, time tracking equips project managers with the tools and insights needed to optimize project management, enhance productivity, and deliver successful projects on schedule and within budget.

Tracking working hours by freelancers

Time tracking benefits for freelancers

Time tracking is a freelancing game-changer, providing numerous advantages that can propel their business forward. Freelancers must meticulously track hours worked on multiple projects to capture their billable hours to ensure accurate client invoicing. And time tracking apps excel in this regard. They offer precise data that helps calculate billable hours and facilitate informed client rate negotiations.

By demonstrating the amount of time dedicated to each task, freelancers can build a persuasive case for higher rates, ultimately leading to more favorable client agreements. Without keeping track of time dedicated to past projects, they could not accurately estimate the rates for new projects.

Time tracking empowers freelancers to enhance their financial management, optimize pricing strategies, and secure more lucrative client partnerships.

How to track time

How to track time

To effectively keep tabs on the time spent on tasks, consider using one of the best time tracking apps. These applications provide automatic time tracking, making it a background activity while you focus on your work. This not only ensures precise time allocation but also serves as a motivating factor for both you and your team to track time consistently.

However, it’s worth noting that time-tracking apps are just one of several methods available for monitoring and measuring time.

Now, we’ll examine four crucial approaches, ranging from traditional manual methods where you manually note when tasks begin and end to using dedicated time tracking tools and project management software.

Time tracking apps

A time tracking software like Timeular, explicitly designed for tracking time, provides the most convenient way. With Timeular, you and your team can track time together and individually, capture various activities, add notes and tags, track time automatically, manage leaves, overtime, and workload, accurately track billable hours, and keep the project budget in check. It’s an all-in-one solution that saves time, and it’s super effortless.

Looking for a time tracking app that you will actually enjoy?

“I love how robust Timeular is. It’s increased our ability to see what’s going on in the business and helped us understand what changes are needed to maintain profitability.” – Kaitlin Snow Seamons, Executive Creative Director at Harmon Brothers

Project management tools

Some helpful project management software like JIRA, Notion, or Asana help you organize your entire team’s work. Some of these tools also provide project time tracking features. However, tracking time within project management software can be relatively cumbersome and may come with limited features.

This can lead to various consequences for a team, including inaccuracies in tracking billing hours, operating at low-profit margins, unreliable invoices, time-consuming timesheet creation, and the risk of overpromising to stakeholders due to imprecise data. Some teams prefer to integrate Timeular with these tools to ensure correct project time tracking data (Read about tracking time in Asana).

Manual tracking

Tracking time manually means recording hours worked on different projects using tools like different types of planners, notebooks, or timesheet templates, which can be less efficient than tracking time with a dedicated time tracking app. With manual tracking, you have to start and stop the timer and edit time entries manually, which is time-consuming and prone to errors. What’s more, manual tracking poses a big challenge to motivate your employees to track time spent at work.

Track working hours with a method that fits you best, according to your preferences and requirements. The core of efficient time management lies in maintaining regularity and precision. Only consistent tracking, done as activities occur, guarantees 100% accurate data.

Trying to recall tasks later in the week leads to inaccuracies and the Time Monkey Effect.

So, it’s essential to discover a solution that seamlessly aligns with your workflow, making time tracking effortless and reducing friction during implementation within your team.

Read also:

What are manual timesheets?

Time management templates

common mistakes in time tracking

What are the most common mistakes when you are new to time tracking?

Here are a few common ones:

  1. Not tracking consistently: Record your time every workday to get an accurate picture of how you spend your time and avoid losing billable hours.
  2. Lack of detail: Be specific about your activities when tracking time. Instead of vague entries like “Worked on a project,” use clear labels such as “Brainstorming,” “Meeting,” “Break,” or “Project [name].”
  3. Using an inconvenient method: Find a time tracking approach or time tracker that suits you best and stick with it for a smoother tracking experience.”

Best time trackers

Here, you’ll discover top-notch time tracking apps tailored to suit various business types, professions, and device preferences. While choosing your time tracking software, ensure it aligns with your business world.

The best time tracking app should provide all the features listed below:

  • It allows one to log hours both online and offline
  • You can track time with a web app, a desktop app, and a mobile app
  • You can integrate it with third-party apps: your task management and project management tool to track project progress
  • You can track billable time
  • There is a free plan to test the app
  • A team account can be shared by unlimited users and used for unlimited projects
  • It provides automatic time-tracking
  • It supports all the basic time tracking methods
  • It is not an employee monitoring software

Top time tracker options for different types of businesses

Small businesses often require a different set of features than big enterprises. Pick your business type and choose the best time tracking app for your needs.

Best time tracking apps based on the profession:

To ensure an accurate record of time spent on your projects, choose a time-tracking app already embraced by professionals like you.

Best time tracking software for mobile devices

A mobile app is an essential add-on to each time tracking system. Thanks to this, keeping track of time spent at work is possible i.e., if you work remotely.

Time tracking software – comparisons

There is a vast array of time tracking software to choose from. A free time tracking app provides different features than a paid software, and that’s why we created multiple comparisons to help you choose the best time tracking app for your business.

Alternatives to popular time tracking apps

Timeular tracking app

Timeular as your all-in-one time tracking app

Timeular stands out as the ultimate time tracking app for small teams and individuals, offering a range of compelling features. Top 6 features include:

  • Simple, effortless, and enjoyable time tracking
  • A physical Tracker for building a strong time tracking habit
  • Team-friendly features
  • Automated time tracking
  • Work hours and overtime tracker
  • Leave tracker

Timeular makes time tracking simple and fun

Smooth user experience and easy time tracking methods make Timeular the number 1 choice for teams and individuals who want to track their time accurately in a few seconds a day. Every team member can choose a time tracking method that best matches their work type: automatic tracking, flipping a physical Tracker, or using keyboard shortcuts.

“I could never get time tracking to work effectively. That’s changed now, thanks to Timeular.” Rachael, Senior Developer

A physical Tracker helps to build a time tracking habit

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 dice serves as a physical reminder that sits on your desk.

  • Please note: You don’t need the Tracker to use Timeular software.
  • 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. It’s as simple as that!

“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

The Timeular Tracker is manufactured in Germany, designed for effortless, to-the-minute accurate tracking.

Track time with a physical Tracker

Build a habit using muscle memory and a powerful physical reminder. All new users get 2 months free subscription when connecting a new Tracker.

It’s perfect both for teams and individuals

Timeular is a team time tracker that lets you track time and customize the time entries with notes and tags, which the whole team can share. You can track time together with your team members using shared folders, and create both individual and team reports.

You can use Timeular with your entire team regardless of the device as it works both as a Mac time tracking app and a Windows time tracker.

Automated time tracking

In Timeular, you can automatically fill in your timesheets based on app usage, visited websites, and scheduled calendar events. This way, you can say goodbye to guesswork and manual time recording to enjoy accurate time reports with 100% secured privacy.

You can manage all types of leaves and absences

As Timeular is an attendance tracker or a leave tracker, you can easily keep track of all kinds of absences in one place: carryover, paid time off, sick leave, unpaid leave, public holiday, company holiday, sabbatical leave, bereavement leave, duvet day, gardening leave, and time off in lieu.

Tracking work-time and over-time with ease

Timeular is a time tracker which provides features to keep work time and over-time in check. Admins can set work hours per week and days for anyone. Do you have a special contract like 21h with 3 days per week split 6h + 6h + 9h? You can configure it all. Based on configured work hours and requested leave, Timeular automatically calculates over- and minus hours.

It helps to improve time estimates

Instantly track time to close the discrepancy between time estimates and actual time taken to improve your time estimations for future projects.

It automates your time reports

Timeular automates tracking billable time and creating transparent time reports for your clients. The app provides a precise breakdown of your activities to ensure that each little task is tracked and added to your invoice. You can export your reports to PDF, XLSX, or CSV.

“We are much better at accurately tracking our time, which improves client billing.” – Michele C., Founder at Clementine Healthcare Marketing

It keeps budgets under control

In Timeular, you can closely monitor project budgets to monitor their progress and profitability. You can swiftly identify client projects at risk of surpassing budgets and reallocate your team’s time to where it is most needed.

Ratings

Additional features

  • Physical Tracker
  • Quicktrack, which allows to start new time entries with keyboard shortcuts
  • Mobile app, desktop app, and web app
  • Custom reports & data export
  • Adding notes and tags to time entries
  • Shared folders to track time with your team
  • Tracking billable and non-billable time
  • Tracking project budgets
  • Over 3,000 apps integrated through Zapier
  • 30-day of free time tracking

If you are looking for a zero-effort time tracker, you’ve just found it!

“I’ve doubled my revenue thanks to Timeular and managed to halve how much I work.” – Valdemar Alfred, Owner of Valdefar

Is time tracking effective?

Absolutely! Studies show that U.S. companies lose a staggering $8.8 billion every day due to employees not tracking hours worked. That’s a substantial amount of money. Just imagine the savings or increased earnings you and your team could achieve by adopting a time tracker app.

However, it’s essential to note that time tracking can become ineffective if not used correctly. For instance, tracking your time without reviewing the results can be pointless. Without all the data, you won’t identify the barriers to productivity and improvement opportunities.

Tips for effective time tracking

Below, you will find a list of 10 top time tracking hacks. To learn more about each element, read the article about time tracking tips.

  1. Understand the purpose: Determine why time tracking is essential for your team’s goals and objectives.
  2. Team buy-in: Ensure your team understands the benefits of time tracking and address their concerns.
  3. Choose a user-friendly time tracking app: Select a simple time tracking app with an intuitive dashboard and smart time tracking features so that each team member can easily track their working hours.
  4. Keep it simple: Start with tracking a few activities and gradually expand as your team becomes comfortable.
  5. Track work hours and project progress daily: Don’t wait with time entries until the day’s or week’s end. Otherwise, you will forget what you worked on throughout the week.
  6. Create a troubleshooting system: Establish clear rules and guidelines to prevent confusion and errors.
  7. Abandon spreadsheets: Move away from manual data entry in Excel and choose one of the best timesheet software to automate the process and save time.
  8. Implement time blocking: Dedicate specific time slots for tasks to improve focus and productivity.
  9. Prioritize tasks: Create to-do lists and prioritize important tasks to stay organized.
  10. Data-driven decisions: Utilize time tracking data to make informed decisions and improve team performance.

Conclusion

In summary, time tracking is a transformative tool for businesses. It enhances productivity, streamlines operations, and fosters work-life balance. Whether you’re an owner, employee, freelancer, or project manager, it offers benefits like accurate billing and efficient project management.

Ready to boost your business? Start your tracking journey today.

Start tracking time today with Timeular

“We have become 20% more profitable because everyone is in the habit of time tracking” – Richard Wingfield, Head Geek at Envision Design