Initially I found the idea quite daunting, but have since come to understand the considerable benefits of using a time tracking system both from a business and a personal perspective.
Our Yellow Door team uses Harvest to track time. The system allows us to track client projects and internal tasks in some detail, at the click of a button. We are able to keep track of how much time is spent on specific functions, streamline processes and improve our service offering to individual accounts.
A benefit, which is particularly relevant during the Covid-19 pandemic, is that a tracking system supports businesses where employees are working remotely with flexible hours. For more on this, read Janine’s blog post on how to effectively manage a distributed team.
Through tracking our time we can identify and work to our strengths, so as a team we can work efficiently as well as creatively. From a business perspective we are able to improve project estimation, billing and the allocation of resources. It gives us insight into the company’s health and profitability.
A consideration for a business, which Yellow Door does well, is to balance achieving high levels of productivity with a focus on deliverables; while at the same time allowing space for creative and strategic thinking. Yellow Door dedicates time to brainstorming and learning sessions every week, to encourage us all to be involved in as many aspects of the business as possible.
Through encouraging employees to see the big picture and how time tracking fits into it, a culture can develop where everyone in the company is collaborating and looking to increase productivity together.
A challenge, which I am still working on personally, is to work creatively on a task while the ‘clock is ticking’. However, being aware of a set time for a task can be highly motivating and can help with focus and efficiency. Although it sounds counterintuitive, having a set amount of time allocated to a creative task can be helpful, otherwise one can spend hours tweaking a document needlessly, trying to make it ‘perfect’ – something, which I am definitely guilty of doing!
When you are working to a timer you are less likely to be easily distracted and you feel more accountable. The key is to keep in mind that you are using the tracker as a tool, for your own benefit, rather than viewing it as a monitoring system.
One of the biggest benefits is the insight you can gain personally into how your time is being used. For instance, I have realised that through short meetings with teammates to touch base, I have far better focus and productivity when working through my tasks. Simply chatting through what is a priority and what can be delegated helps greatly with team efficiencies.
Whether a business decides to implement a tracking system, or not will depend on the type of business and culture. It is important to keep in mind to only gather information, which can offer key insights into how business and individuals perform and which can be used strategically. We’d love to hear what works for your business, so post a comment and let us know.