People are constantly seeking ways to be more efficient and productive at work. As such, there are many time tracking myths we’re exposed to in the process of seeking better time management strategies. This article dives into common misconceptions about tracking time at work with some helpful tips to improve how you manage your time and work schedule.
If you’re as busy as the millions of people we work with, you may not be tracking your time on your work projects. I’d like to convince you that you should. Time Management – the effective kind that helps you make sound decisions and optimize the way you work – simply isn’t possible without it.
I get why you don’t – I really do. For a long time, I resisted timesheets too. They took too long to fill in and weren’t accurate enough to use for any serious management information.
We use to use spreadsheets. We don’t do it that way to track our work time any longer.
Time tracking is all grown up, and it’s a totally different game today. Here are 5 of the most common work time tracking myths for the modern worker of today. It’s time (did you see what I did there?) to shake off those limiting beliefs and embrace the latest in time tracking technology!
If you can shed these time tracking myths and start monitoring where time goes, you’ll see real benefits from effective time management. Honestly, it’s worth it. This first myth will tell you why.
Time Tracking Myth #1:
Detailed Time Management Adds No Value
I hear this myth the most, so let’s address it first. Time tracking for time tracking’s sake adds no value. That’s the same as anything else you do that delivers no benefit and is just an administrative overhead – any process can fall into this category. And you strip those out pretty quickly, right?
There is immense value in time tracking, if you know what you are looking for.
First, tracking time on projects records how much effort was spent on particular tasks. We find this notion so important that we’ve incorporated this time tracking technology into our own product. LiquidPlanner has intelligent predictive scheduling, and the time tracking data feeds into that. The more data you feed the engine, the more accurate your schedule becomes. The better your schedule, the easier it is for you to plan upcoming tasks, anticipate future problems, and help steer your project over the finish line.
Second, tracking time gives you accurate management and status reports. Automating reporting takes a whole extra task off your plate. And off your team’s plate too. They’ll no longer need to complete timesheets and report their hours to you. Because you’ll already know.
Third, you get to find out how much time work takes. This is gold! You can plan better. You can put together more accurate proposals for new clients. You can schedule your recruitment based on upcoming work and be able to justify to senior management why you need the extra hands. And you can be confident when you tell clients when their job will finish.
Truth: If you set it up for success, you’ll get a ton of valuable data out of your time management strategies.
Time Tracking Myth #2:
Time Tracking Leads to Employee Burnout
You think your team is going to work more hours because they are tracking their hours?
That might happen for a week. Then they’ll realize that you aren’t measuring them on hours worked, or expecting them to do more. Modern businesses judge by results and help employees be productive while maintaining a work/life balance. Creating a balanced workload and putting people first is the only real way to avoid burnout, especially in our post pandemic environment.
Share the data from the timesheets with the team so they can see what they are being used for and how helpful the data is for their future estimates. You need to help them move beyond thinking timesheets are a tool to beat them with. See Myth #1 for all the good stuff you get from time tracking.
Truth: The benefits far outweigh any frustrations the team might have at the beginning.
Time Tracking Myth #3:
Time Tracking Is Only Ever a Guess Because People “Forget” To Do It
Nope. Putting off your timesheet is an excuse that might have worked a few years back. But tech moves on.
LiquidPlanner makes it easy to report your time because time tracking is built in right across the app. It’s just there in front of you.
You have a personal My Work views to quickly track time, and logging progress on tasks is right there for you across the app – from Project Views to Workload Views. You can’t miss it!
No more excuses. You don’t have to guess. You have the needed time management skills.
Truth: You can track activity in real time if you make the system simple to use.
Time Tracking Myth #4:
Time Tracking Is All About Micromanagement
While I know there must be micromanagers out there, I haven’t come across them in the nimble organizations that make a success of their industry. They don’t last. And if your boss is great in all other respects, having timesheets isn’t going to suddenly make her a micromanager.
I guarantee that your normally-sensible line manager is not going to pour over and review your timesheets like they’re the latest J. K. Rowling novel. He might get over excited at first with all the lovely rich data that’s coming out of them, but very soon you’ll all come to expect that level of time management information to help you make the best decisions.
Truth: Managers are looking for trends and big picture data, not how you spent your last hour on Friday afternoon.
Time Tracking Myth #5:
Time Tracking Takes Too Much Time
Well, it might, if you ask people to keep spreadsheets of their hours and then you have to collate the team’s timesheets manually each month. Ain’t no one got time for that!
But that’s old-style thinking. Cloud-based tools offer fast, slick solutions to tracking time, all of which take you minutes per week.
Your Timesheet View in LiquidPlanner lets you see a list of all your work sorted by priority, projects and task status. Everything is there: your top priorities for the day, last week’s tasks, and what you’ve got planned for the future. It’s simple to add time to the tasks in this view, or add the hours as you work on the tasks if you prefer. You have options. Pick the one that works best for you or mix and match depending on how you are working that day.
Truth: You can complete your timesheets quickly if you use the right time management techniques.
Time tracking’s all grown up. It’s frictionless. The hurdles and hoops are gone and the benefits are huge. What’s still holding you back from gaining a better view of how your business makes and spends money?