When it comes to making the best possible use of your time tracking tool it’s important to have a great piece of time tracking software, but it’s just as important to make sure your team are using the best practices in order to make their time keeping as efficient and hassle free as they can. Keeping track of time is easy with the right time tracker, so the focus for best time tracking practices is to make sure you are separating out your time entries in a clear and logical way, as well as having the right task descriptions to help you understand and use the data you are recording to make your billing and general time management better.
Time Tracking for Employees
There are a number of facets to a given time entry. Information like what task the time is being spent on, which client the work is for, and which employee is doing the work, all provide key points of data which can be used to report on your businesses time management and the profitability of a given work item. While a simple clock in/clock out system will let you run your payroll effectively, the more comprehensive data provided by a timesheet minute breakdown can help you to streamline your work, keep your team on task, and help you to understand where the most valuable time is being spent and where it might be getting wasted. The best providers of time tracking software for employees will provide tools to analyse and understand the time keeping data you gather so you can use it not only for billing and payroll purposes, but it will also help you to make well-informed business decisions surrounding your work processes.
6 Time Tracking Best Practices for Employees
1. Use a Timer/Clock to Track Time Rather than Filling in a Timesheet
Manually filling in a timesheet is an exercise which can be somewhat problematic. For one, it’s much easier to make mistakes and accidentally skew your data the wrong way, which has potential ramifications on the value of your timekeeping reports in your decision making. Another issue is that it takes time to manually fill out a timesheet, when much of the reason you want to track time in the first place is to save time, not spend more of it on unessential work! The best time tracking providers will leave you with the option of manually editing a time entry for the occasion where you forget to stop or start your timer.
Don’t Time Track Every Single Part of an Activity
Finding the right balance of exactly how specific an entry should be when you log your time is important. Do you need to have an individual entry for every email you send? The better option is likely to be recording a single entry for the time you spend sending email, or processing payroll, or whatever the general task may be. Being too specific can result in making to many time entries and create an unnecessary clutter, making it harder for you to process your billing and get the best value out of your data reporting. Exactly how much you encompass into an individual time entry will depend on the nature of your business – if you bill by fifteen-minute lots, for example, you might want to record your entries in intervals of fifteen to make your billing process simple.
Track Time for Non-Billable Activities Too
Time tracking is important for billing by time allotments, but it’s also a tool which can help you to have better time management and can allow you to make your workflow more efficient. Because of this, you want to track all of your work time, not just the billable time. Doing so will let you see whether you are spending too much time on a given non-billable task and help you make time management decisions based on a comprehensive timesheet minute breakdown of your various tasks so that you can be more efficient over your workday, and implement processes with your team which will reduce wasted time.
Create a Hierarchy for Clients, Projects, and Tasks to Gain the Best Insights
Getting the best value out of your time tracking requires organising that tracking data according to relevant categories. For a start, it’s worthwhile knowing which client you are spending time on, both for understanding the value of each of your clients to your business and for the purpose of making your billing process easier and more comprehensive. Beyond that, you want to gain an understanding of what aspects of your business are taking up the most of your work time, as well as which are the most profitable. This means you’ll want to record the more specific tasks and projects you are working on for a given client, breaking up that data to figure out which clients are getting time dedicated to which tasks. This hierarchy of categorisation is what will let you make well informed decisions when it comes to your workflow and calculating the labour costs of a given service.
Estimate Time When You’ve Forgotten to Track Your Time
Having an estimate of time you’ve spent on something is better than having no record at all! If you make sure you can account for all of the hours you’ve worked in a given day you absolutely should do so. Making an estimate after the fact might leave you with the odd time entry which is a few minutes off from how much time you really spent, but as long as you don’t make it a habit of guessing your time expenditure after the fact, the odd estimated entry will be fine. If you can account for every other task of that day, your estimates can be very accurate. The situation you want to avoid is one where you haven’t recorded time entries for work done at the beginning of the week by the time you reach the end of that week. The later you leave making your estimates, the less accurate they will be!
Create Time Estimates for How Long a Given Task Should Take
After you’ve built up some time tracking data, you’ll start to gain an understanding of the general time amounts a given task takes to complete. This will allow you to better estimate the time you’ll need to devote to getting a given amount of work complete, and allow you to set targets forgetting your work complete and being as efficient with your time as possible.