Time Tracking is a simple but valuable time management practice of recording your activities for every minute you work.
It gives you a clear picture of where your time goes, perfect for anyone who wants to increase work productivity. It’s also a valuable resource for hourly-paid consultants and freelancers.
Here’s a quick-start guide for making Time Tracking work for you:
Keep it simple, use your planner
There are many web-based programs and mobile apps you can use, but the most effective system is the one that doesn’t require lengthy boot-up, log-in, or otherwise start-up. The Diary and Work Record page in your paper planner is a perfect location.
Start a new Time Log each day. Whenever you start a new activity, flip open to the Time Log in your planner and jot down the following information:
- Time in/out
- Hours spent (round off to nearest 15 minutes)
Here’s a sample Time Log for a half-day of work:
Create a weekly, or project based Time Summary
At week’s end, you can create a separate sheet to be used as your Time Summary. Simply count up the hours spent in each category or project client, including:
- breaks (include meals, restroom stops, personal calls)
- project tasks
- phone calls
- procrastination (yes, you have to record that too!)
It’s useful info for evaluating the quality of your time usage, and if necessary can easily be plugged into an Excel spreadsheet, a timesheet or invoice.
10 Reasons you should Time Track
Whether you do it every day or just once a month, Time Tracking requires so little effort for such a huge benefit. It’s a no brainer!
Here are 10 reasons you should Time Track:
- Maintain an accountable record for billing your clients
- Recognize ways to better budget your time
- Speed-up timesheet creation
- Keep valuable proof in the event of client invoice disputes
- Identify productivity traps you may unwittingly be falling into, like random internet browsing and redundant activities such as email checking
- Teach yourself to string together productive blocks of time that focus on the top priorities each day
- Become aware of wasteful start-stop-start task interruptions
- Record your activities for a promotion or job review
- Evaluate client fees projects – important for freelancers or contract workers
- Stay motivated – your time log is a visible reminder to avoid procrastination
|Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at [email protected]|