Why Time Tracking is Important for You - and Your Organization

Kasper Nymand
5 min read

You have most likely heard it before - remember your time tracking! Maybe you wonder why? This is equally important to everybody in an organization, or society, in general. Whether you’re an executive, a manager, or a regular team member, knowing where your time goes is paramount.

Time tracking is key to understanding how you spend your time, personally and in business. It is key to productivity, insight, and a healthy workflow. When you know which tasks take the most of your time, you can begin to reflect on whether that time is well spent. The most time consuming tasks are not necessarily the tasks that require the most effort to complete or bring the most value. Often, quite the contrary.

Ask Yourself

  • Did the task work towards a broader goal? (e.g., the business' mission)
  • and, is the task important enough to take up that amount of time?
  • Could the time have been more effectively spent and beneficial for a more important task?
  • Did the task work towards a personal or career goal?
  • Which concrete changes did the task make?

When you’ve got some of these questions covered - it’s time to consider whether something could be changed for the better, making your workflow more efficient and effective. Could the work be re-organized to the better, does the software or hardware need an update, did you experience that you needed to wait on somebody, or something, in order to proceed? What annoyed you in the process? Change it. These are all important questions to ask both yourself and your team. Rank the tasks based on importance, and allocate your time accordingly.

Prioritize Your Time

Using two metrics to analyze your tasks is beneficial.

  1. To what extend will the task benefit the company or organization, e.g., in terms of profits?
  2. and, to what extent are we able to leverage on this task?

These two metrics will tell us whether each individual task is within the scope of our business, and if we are able to solve the problem and compete with competitors in the field. Tasks scoring high on both metrics, and obviously aligning with the business strategy, - are the tasks to prioritize in your daily work.

Benefits of Time Tracking

There are several benefits of doing your time tracking, including;

  • Personal and business insights into time spent.
  • Learning from experience, and increasing productivity.
  • Improving effectivity and efficiency through learnings.
  • Quality improvements, following a streamlined workflow.
  • Transparency into work processes.
  • Cost efficient delivery on the core activities.
  • Ability to reflect, and adapt accordingly.

The insights you get from time tracking can often be an eye-opener. How much of your time do you spend, browsing the web, looking through your inbox, or trying to find that one document in a pile of folders. These are often viewed as minor daily activities, but accumulated, these activities are probably some of the most time consuming activities in your work week - is that justified?

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Personal Time Tracking

Several software solutions seek to ease the discovery of your digital time spend. RescueTime is one example that is able to track your digital time across devices. Which websites and apps are you using most often, and how much? The time is then categorized and presented in valuable insights with an overall productivity score. Based on this score you can compare your workday from week to week, learn from experience, and adapt your workflow accordingly.

Those tools work great for personal time tracking, or small teams, but is not yet able to scale and be efficient enough for a team of 10+, 100s, or maybe 1000s of team members. The solutions lack the direct connection to projects and tasks, and is not combined with other crucial data, such as your schedule and resources. It's simply not effective in such circumstances.

Project Time Tracking

However, an option that is more beneficial for larger organizations is to do time tracking directly on tasks. This is most often done through a combined project- and resource management solution. These make it easier to manage all of your tasks across projects, and the organization, to provide you and your team with valuable insights to manage time better.

The Digital Project Manager, the world's largest online resource for digital project managers, has combined an expert review on the 10 Best Time Tracking tools, underscoring the importance of accurate time sheet reporting and tracking budget burn. One option for a possible solution, the Digital Project Manager chose, is Forecast.

Forecast makes time tracking simple and valuable by using artificial intelligence to predict future time estimations. Time is reported directly on each task by each team member, and the software makes sure to include historical data in future calculations to improve time estimations. Insights is automatically generated through dynamic real-time reporting, and presented in a visual manner directly in the system. Allowing you to get a deeper, objective, look into your organization to act upon.

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Time spent is a key measure of resources needed. It shows whether a department needs more resources, in terms of workforce or other inputs, and it gives you insights on who brings the most value to the team. This is crucial information for the team, and the organization, as a whole. It could be that one person does most of the work. In that situation, maybe something needs to be changed in order to bring everybody to the same level, e.g., redistribution or sharing of responsibility and workload.

Maybe somebody's interests and motivation has changed, and would prefer to be relocated to another team in another department, bringing excitement and growth back into their professional life, while moving your business forward. These are some of the insights partly brought to the table by your time tracking efforts and, of course, being engaged in your organization.

Align the Organization

Generally, as a team member, use time tracking to work towards your personal and shared goals - spending time where most value is created, personally and professionally.

As a manager, use the time tracking insights to provide you with an accurate overview of your team peak, performance, and overall well-being and productivity, allowing you to manage resources and distribute tasks evenly.

As an executive, use insights and data from time tracking to steer your organization in the right direction, put strategy into action, and ensure that every individual manager, and every individual team member, understands and pulls the organization, not apart, but towards the same mission, with the same vision in mind. That is the recipe for a successful organization.

Get Started

Book a meeting with one of our productivity gurus, and learn more about, how Forecast can help your organization to be more aware of time spent and the allocation of resources across projects and tasks. We're convinced that we can help you in the right direction.

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