As the one resource all businesses share in equal measure, time has always represented the key to competitive advantage. We want to master it, control it and generally get more from it. But the only way to do so is by tracking it – and no one has time for that.
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way from the oppressive time clocks of the Industrial Revolution. We can now download one app to track our work automatically, create our timesheets and even show us how to increase our individual productivity. Time tracking is no longer just a measurement of profitability; it’s a means of discovering exactly how we work, where we struggle, how we misuse time, and how our behaviours both serve and distract us.
Ultimately, time tracking is and always has been about useful self-knowledge. Here’s why it’s still important for your business.
Bill for all your work
Nobody wants to be short changed. Accurately tracking all the time you spend on a project both reflects your hard work and proves to your client what they’re paying for. No details gets left out or misrepresented, and all your internal costs are accounted for.
It’s a powerful tool for judging how long future work might take too. Do you want to be paid per word, per hour, per project? Here’s your answer. With a realistic idea of how many hours you’ve spent on, for example, drawing up plans, creating assets or scheduling social media posts, you can prepare quotes and proposals as well as set deadlines for new and potential clients with greater confidence.
Set measurable goals
The insights you gain from time tracking can be surprising. Yes, you really have spent four hours browsing Reddit this week. Seeing the stark reality of your working hours on the screen in front of you can help to set measurable goals for time management.
If you have an overview of the time you’ve spent procrastinating online or away from your desk, it’ll reveal where you can nip and tuck your speed and performance for ultimate efficiency. If you find out you’re overshooting deadlines consistently, you can put support and resources in place to get the job done more quickly – and at a higher rate.
Supercharge project management
With a time tracker, you can see all the tasks that actually go into every project, as well as all the resources they require – from project communication and planning to iterations, production and client management. This allows for smoother delegation among your team.
Before you sign on the dotted line, you can choose to prioritise the most profitable clients and identify which work will be worth your time to take on. Having captured worked hours, you can set better project estimates and, in the midst of a project, ensure you cover all the cost in your quotes so the books add up.
Streamline reporting and invoicing
Time tracking tools are a solid investment to streamline how you report and invoice time spent at work. An automated system means you don’t lose moments each week encouraging each member of the team to guesstimate their billable hours. These apps have versatile capabilities to fit your business. Some work in several currencies, while others offer billing and invoicing functionality, as well as customized reporting to keep cilent status updates quick and painless.
Lead a happy team
Multitaskers and time logging aren’t a match made in heaven. But a system employees can simply open and run in the background solves the time-consuming issue of filling in timesheets at the end of every week – when everyone’s forgotten about Wednesday’s stand-up or that quick client call they had to jump on.
It’s a key tool that helps you balance workloads, manage proactively and keep the team focused on their priorities. With an idea of what tasks people are working on, you can see who needs more work and who is headed for burnout before they let you know they’re struggling. You can also see each employee’s overtime and compensate accordingly.