A few weeks back, I was interviewed by Minnesota-based writer Kelly Spors about time tracking.
We talked for about 30 minutes about who should do time tracking, why it should be done, and how the information should be used. I also wound up sending her a list of what I felt the benefits were.
Here’s that list of time tracking benefits:
*More revenue. If you haven’t been accurately tracking your hours, you may be under-billing your clients.
*More accurate quotes. You’ll know how long a project actually takes to work on, which will better help you estimate time needed on future projects, which allows you to provide more accurate quotes in client proposals. (How many times have you quoted a client 10 hours on a project, but in actuality it took you closer to 20 or 30 hours to complete it, but you couldn’t change your quote?)
*Better calendar management. Building on the previous benefit, if you can more accurately estimate how long projects take, you’ll be better able to manage your calendar for long-term projects. No more last-minute rush jobs on something you’ve had awhile to work on!
*Plug time leaks in your day. When you pay attention to the different ways that you let time slip away, you’ll gain back time!
*Renewed focus on top priorities instead of low-hanging fruit. When you track how much time you spend on trivial tasks instead of those that are most important to your job, you’ll become more focused on what’s critical instead of what just lands in your lap.
*Improved delegation. Tracking your time allows you to see an overall picture of how you spend your days. Are there any tasks that can be handed off to someone else so that your brain and time can be used for more important work?
*Proof of your ROI. When you can show your employer or client how efficient you are (you completed XYZ Project in only this many hours), you have the data to support a strong evaluation and possibly a raise.
*Proof that you don’t need to work around the clock to be a good business owner or employee. Building on the previous ROI benefit, if you’re able to collect this data, and you were able to work those hours without you getting stressed by working 24/7, then you’ve proven to yourself and any powers that be, that you’re more effective when you have breaks from work.
*Better health. When you understand how to focus on priorities, plug time leaks, and work more efficiently, you’ll have a lot less stress in your life. When you’re less stressed, you’ll have fewer episodes of stress eating and anxious, sleepless nights.
*More time for fun! When you know where your time goes, you can tell your time what to do. That means you’ll be more efficient at work, so that you can have a life outside of it.