We’ve all been there: the meeting that endlessly drones on, eating into your time, your money, and your resolve to stay awake. Just when you think it’s wrapping up, it cycles back around again. Just when you think you’ve heard enough pointless, self-serving monologs, someone else chimes in to hear themselves speak. Is there any end in sight?
Yes. With time tracking software you can quit wasting time in meetings, on phone calls, and on pleading with your staff to quit procrastinating. That’s more than just a path to less frustration and fewer stress-induced meltdowns. Time is money. Here’s how time tracking software can help you have more of both.
Time: Your Most Valuable Commodity
In theory, at least, you can make infinite money. But everyone gets exactly the same daily allotment of time. That makes it your most valuable commodity, particularly if you’re not yet flush with cash. Time is absolutely money, and here’s why:
- Everyone bills their time at a specific rate, either by charging an hourly wage, receiving a salary, or charging by the project (and the time it takes). That means that time spent on other projects — Facebook, web surfing, gossiping at the water cooler — is time not spent doing more valuable work.
- Employers pay to get a full day’s worth of work out of their employees. If they don’t receive that, then they’re paying for something they’re not receiving.
- Many managers and employers find themselves spending time on menial tasks — fighting with customer service, posting social media updates, or buying stamps, for instance. Time tracking software helps you observe these trends, potentially encouraging you to outsource this pointless work so you can apply your skills — and your valuable time — to more lucrative tasks.
- Time-consuming endeavors such as meetings and phone calls are practically sucking money out of your bank account if they don’t bring in revenue comparable to another project. For example, if you bill your time at $100 an hour and spend two hours on the phone, that phone call should make you at least $200 in sales, partnerships, or advertising revenue. Otherwise it’s lost time and therefore lost money.
Accountability and Wasted Time
We live in a fast-paced world in which we’re all expected to look busy. That means many of us fill our time with busy work — pointless emails, constant meetings, endless smartphone noise. When you feel busy and overwhelmed, you might also feel productive — even when the evidence suggest otherwise. Time tracking software helps you determine whether you’re efficient or just pointlessly busy.
The data might surprise you. Once you know which endeavors are wasting you and your staff’s time, you can structure your business and your time in a way that gets results. That means more money, less frustration, and perhaps even a less frustratingly busy schedule.
How Do You Really Spend Your Time?
You could write down your time expenditures by hand, or require your staff to do the same. But can you really trust these measures? We all want to feel productive, and that means we may minimize the time we spend on Facebook, and tell ourselves that the time we spend in meetings is more productive than it actually is. Time tracking software helps you take a long, hard look at your time usage. Sure, it might be painful to see how much time you waste, but honest reflection is the only way to get your time — and the budget that supports it — back under control.
Budgeting Time Like Money
You have a finite quantity of time, and can’t earn more. That makes your time even more valuable than your money. So shouldn’t you be budgeting your time like you budget your money? Time tracking software makes it easy to budget your time. Simply look at how you’re spending your time. Then weigh which time expenditures are wastes, which are valuable, and which could be delegated elsewhere. Suddenly you’ll have more time, and with it, perhaps more money.
Are You Paying Too Much for Too Little?
Your employees’ salaries are, ultimately, compensation for their time. You need to ensure that time is well-spent. It’s reasonable to expect that your employees will have some down time. In fact, research shows that daydreaming can spur creative thinking and frequent breaks can support efficiency. So don’t become a time despot, attempting to manage every second of every day into optimal productivity. This sort of micromanagement almost always backfires.
Some other trends you may notice:
- How long it takes, on average, to perform specific tasks. This can help you avoid missing deadlines because you give unrealistic time estimates.
- Whether certain projects take significantly longer. This hints at problems with the project, its manager, or perhaps something about the project’s implementation.
- Whether employees are more productive at certain times of the day or year. If you notice that productivity dips after a meeting, perhaps employees feel drained. Dips after a holiday suggest that exhaustion or burnout could play a role.
You do, however, need to know that your employees are spending the majority of their time on productive endeavors. Time management software allows you to assess how your staff spends their time. It also allows you to compare time expenditures.
Can one employee accomplish in one hour what it takes another a week to do? Maybe you should pay the more efficient employee more and cut costs by cutting the inefficient one. You’ll get more bang for your buck, and spend less overall.