Software for Time Tracking – 6 Best Project Time Tracking Practices
Do you ever feel like, no matter how early you wake up in a morning, how organized you are, and how early you start, you’re still running out of time and find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day? If so, then welcome to the hectic world of business.
We know that time is money, and we know that running a business eats away at your time like you wouldn’t believe, yet that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do to turn the hands of time in your favour. As far as project time tracking goes, time tracking apps and software are proving to be very valuable assets in the workplace.
Software for tracking time is designed to enable employers and employees track and log the amount of time they spend working, and indeed, to see in detail how much time they are dedicating to each specific task.
By using software for time tracking, you can see how much time is being spent on work, and you can see where time and resources are being used. Time tracking software is a very valuable business asset to have, and if you’re thinking of investing, here are 6 of the best project time tracking practices to adhere to.
Use a trial in the early stages
If you’ve decided that project time tracking software could be for you and your organization, be sure to use a trial in the early stages. Most software companies will offer you a trial for example on 1 month, where you can try out the functionalities of the software.
Remember, time tracking software is new to you, which means it’s probably new to your employees as well. Don’t just decide one day to implement the software and throw your employees in at the deep end with no training or practice, because the end results won’t be pretty.
As with any new software or business model, give your employees plenty of notice, tell them what the software is, tell them when it will go live, and be sure to arrange for plenty of training and practice runs beforehand.
If your organization is large for example, don’t roll time tracking out to all departments right away, instead, trial it in one department, wait for them to get to grips with it, and once they’ve gotten the hang of it, roll it out into the next department, and so on.
Trials are great because you can see how well your workforce have taken to the software, plus you can see how well it’s improving your business and employee output in general.
Don’t wait too long though
The above being said, if you’ve found a good solution that suits your needs, roll it out as quickly as soundly possible, so that all can benefit from it quickly.
Add in time entry notes
First and foremost, one of the best ways of getting more out of your time tracking software is to add time entry notes.
Adding time entry notes is beneficial in that they enable you to see and provide proof of work. This isn’t so that you can keep tabs on your employees and ensure that they’re doing the work they should be doing, it’s so that you can provide proof of work, and time taken, to clients.
If for example, you have a client that is requesting a project from you in a certain duration of time, but you happen to know for a fact that you and your team can’t get it done in that amount of time, you can use time entry notes with your software for tracking time to show them that the deadline they’re requesting is just not feasible.
Another benefit of time entry notes is that it lets you refer back and see what does and does not work. If there was a project with 2 employees working on it, that still went over the deadline by a considerable margin, this shows that 2 employees isn’t enough, and so you can assign additional manpower in the future.
When you use a time tracking app or software, another way to get more from the software is to use reminders.
Find a solution that integrates with Outlook for example, as this way you can sync it with the Outlook Calendar, so that you can set reminders for yourself and your employees, on specific dates and on specific times.
By using a project time tracking solution that integrates with Outlook, you can set reminders to ensure that deadlines are met and to ensure that you, and your workforce know exactly which projects are due, and when.
Be sure to track everything
To get the most out of a time tracking solution and to use to correctly, be sure that you and your employees make the effort to track everything relevant to work.
Resist the urge to ignore seemingly trivial tasks just because they don’t take much time, because they quickly add up. A quick 10-minute email catch-up here, followed by a 15-minute phone call there may not sound like much, but these minutes all add up, and in the business world, time is money.
If you fail to track time for smaller tasks just because they’re over relatively quickly, your timesheet report at the end of the week won’t paint an accurate picture of how you’ve spent your time. If a specific project for example, requires a decent amount of admin and phone calls and email, those 10-minute tasks will quickly add up by the end of the week, yet you won’t know this if you or your employees are not accurately tracking time.
Tracking time with this software takes a matter of seconds and can be done with a few clicks and pushes of a button. Overall, when you see just how much time you spend on tasks which you may not deem important enough to track time for, you’ll realize why you should track absolutely everything.
Don’t think you need to spend every single minute working
Remember, project time tracking software is designed to help businesses and employees and prevent them from being overwhelmed. The software is NOT designed to spy on employees and ensure they aren’t slacking off, and it’s certainly not there to help employers play Big Brother.
By law, you are legally entitled to breaks, and for your health, both physically and mentally, you should take these breaks. Get up, stretch your legs, do some stretches, grab a drink or a snack, and don’t worry that you’re up and away from your desk when you should be working.
The simple fact of the matter is that, as long as deadlines are met and projects and workloads are completed as such, 6 and a half hours of work can sometimes be much more productive and healthier than a solid 8 hours of non-stop work just to try to make your timesheet look more favourable.
Set tighter and more realistic time limits
Finally, if you really want to get the most out of your software for tracking time, it’s important that you set tighter and more realistic time limits, with the key word there being ‘realistic’.
If for example, you hold a 30-minute team meeting every Friday morning, but you know for a fact that 10 – 15 minutes of that meeting could be cut short by getting to the point quicker and not going over basic and mundane info that your employees are well aware of anyways, try to aim for a 15-minute team meeting every Friday instead.
By the end of the month, you’ll have saved one hour. By the end of six months that will be more than six hours saved. Think of all of the admin and trivial tasks that could be completed in those few minutes saved each week, and think how much that will add up at the end of the year.
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