Time is money, as they say. And that means how you and your employees spend the hours, minutes—and even seconds—of each workday will ultimately affect your company’s bottom line.
While employees are often reticent to adopt time-tracking practices, a growing array of software and apps designed for businesses can make it simple for employees and owners to track and analyze how time is being used. Each time-tracker—from Yast to TrackingTime to Freckle, among many others—offers different features, so explore the options and find the one that offers the capabilities you need.
There are many smart, even surprising, ways that tracking time can increase productivity and improve your business. Here are four to consider:
- Determine what to automate or outsource
A time tracker can show which activities you or your employees spend the most time on. You may discover that certain administrative activities, like bookkeeping or even answering emails, are taking up significant amounts of time that could be spent on key profit-making activities.
“Social media, billing, accounting, handling receipts, bookkeeping, taxes, answering phones”—these are all activities businesses may decide to outsource or automate using software once they realize the time commitment, says Helene Segura, a productivity consultant and author of the book “The Inefficiency Assassin.”
- Prioritize your social media usage
Are your company’s social media efforts paying off? And are you focusing on the right platforms?
A time tracker that analyzes web browser usage can show how much time you are spending on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites. You can couple that information with social media analytics—such as pageviews, clicks, customer conversion rates and estimated revenue resulting from each campaign—to determine whether you’re devoting your precious business time to the right platforms, Segura adds.
- Solve time “leaks”
A Harris Poll found that employees spend only 45% of their day on primary work activities, while 40% is spent on meetings, administrative tasks and interruptions.
Employees lose time in various ways, but everybody does it, says Kathryn McKinnon, an executive coach and author of the book “Triple Your Time Today.” She points to a Harris Poll that found employees spend only 45% of their day on primary work activities, while 40% is spent on meetings, administrative tasks and interruptions.
Tracking someone’s full workday over many days can show the various “leaks” that need to be patched. One of McKinnon’s clients found “that he was spending way too much time socializing,” she says. So figuring that out convinced him to limit his non-work-related conversations. Many people discover that writing and responding to emails is a major time suck, so they start giving themselves a limited amount of time each day to do it and reserve that time on their electronic calendar.
- Improve your pricing structure
Getting an accurate handle on which client projects or customers you spend the most time on can help you design a better pricing structure that makes you more competitive in your industry, Segura says. You might discover you’re overbilling certain clients and underbilling others, or that certain services should be billed at a higher rate because of the amount of time devoted to them.
Print this article