The Ultimate Guide To Business Time Tracking
(A podcast snippathon episode)
Hello everybody, and welcome to this Snippathon blog series.
What on Earth is a Snippathon? Well, basically, it’s little snippets of information that I release intermittently regarding different topics, via short, actionable podcasts and blogs that I put out.
And they have been put into a sequence of five pieces of info that will enable you to basically maximise the time that you’ve got left for 2021, and also look at 2022.
This is something that I’m doing with clients at the moment, something that I’m really passionate about, as everyone can get very overwhelmed when asking themselves
“What am I going to do? what do I need to do?”
Why Track Your Time?
And the idea of looking, reviewing and planning can be overwhelming. So I’m going to break it down into five daily tasks for you. Do you need to do them right now? No, not necessarily. If you are somebody who is working up towards Christmas, and this is your super busy time, then concentrate on your sales, go off, make hay while the sun shines.
And in that quiet period come January time, you’ll be in a position where you can action this then. Alternatively, though, if you are in the service sector, if you are finding that people are winding down looking at running projects starting in January, or the conversations around January, then this is your opportunity to make the most of the time you have available now. If people aren’t demanding your services, then they’re not demanding your time, that means you have time to use wisely. So, if you’re taking a holiday – brilliant, take a holiday, but use the rest of the time to maximise this opportunity, this quiet period to get all your ducks in a row (Yeah, I know, I used a corporate phrase there) to enable you to really make the most of 2022.
And if I’m going to use another bit of corporate spiel – hit the ground running.
But basically, these are designed as short, actionable snippets that you can use daily to help you to make changes in your business and get you in a stronger position, both for 2022, and also beforehand and beyond. Some of these things should be activities that we are incorporating into our working life. So without further ado, I am going to get on with today’s snippet.
So NUMBER ONE is time tracking.
What Is Time Tracking?
Before actually I go into time tracking, I do need to talk to you around the structure of these snippets. I’ll talk around the why – why is this happening? Why are we doing this? What value is there in doing this? Then I’m going to talk about that task for the day, the how to – How are you going to do that? What actions do you need to take in order to implement this, and it’d be worthwhile? And then I’m also going to talk about what to do with any output that you create. So without further ado, let’s get cracking.
Why do I think you should do time tracking? Well, to understand where time is going, you need to be honest with yourself, and understand
“What am I doing with my time?”
“Is My Business genuinely taking over my life, Or actually, am I sleeping off?”
“Am I procrastinating?”
“Am I daydreaming?”
“Is my business taking more of my time than it needs to?”
How To Do Time Tracking
So the idea is to be honest with yourself, understand where you are now, what you’re working with currently, and then you can make adjustments, if you want to go to the gym every lunchtime, you can go to the gym every lunchtime, but you just need to factor that in, you either need to factor into a longer working day either side to make up the hours, or accept that the business isn’t going to move forward as quickly as you wanted it to.
Let’s face it, we are not all in this for the money.
Some of you want work-life balance, I went into this because I wanted this. I wanted that flexibility to do both of my roles in life as much as I could. Being a parent and being there for my family, and also having a career and being successful with my business. So it doesn’t have to all be work and no play. But we just need to be realistic over what we’re aiming to achieve in the time we have available. That is why we are time tracking, so that we can understand what we’re working with, what resources we have to work with.
If you look at solicitors, they track every eight minutes. I’m not asking you to allocate every eight minutes of your day to a particular task, but what could be really useful, is to have an alarm every hour and look at what you’ve done in the last hour, write down what you’ve done, and then later you can go back and you can highlight this category.
So you’re literally writing down what you’ve been doing, and then later you can look through it, you can also separate your day. And to be honest, this is what most of my clients do.
How To Time Track With Clients
Whenever I’m onboarding people, I put them through this process. I get them to separate their day into two to three halves, depending on if they work into the evening or not. And if not, then on a regular day, you take the morning – at lunchtime, you take a check on what I’d done during that morning time. And then in the afternoon, just before you finish work, you’d reflect on what you have been doing in the afternoon.
Again, you can categorise it either during that time, or you can just write it down quickly and categorise it later. The reason that you’re categorising is you’re going to see patterns, it’s going to be admin, it’s going to be customer delivery, it’s going to be social media, it’s going to be marketing, it’s going to be sales, it’s going to be accounts. And by going through later, and ideally using highlighters (because who doesn’t love a good highlighting session?), We can go through and highlight which ones are which. What fits into the admin category, what fits into the sales category? This is what it’s all around, understanding where you are spending your time, and where you really need to.
In our agency we use Everhour for time tracking
You can access it here
Implementing Time Tracking In Your Business
So what do you do with this information? We’re going to use it to figure out your working pattern, we’re going to help you in day to day activity. It’s also going to help you to debunk all those myths you might have around working too hard or not working enough. Actually, people I’ve worked with who, when they’ve done this, they’ve thought “Actually you know what I am putting in some ridiculous hours here, I should be being paid more”, particularly when you start looking at customer delivery, and then how much a customer is paying you. But that is a totally different blog and definitely not a snippet.
Also distributing roles or tasks, or figuring out where you need support. I’ve got clients who are in a position where they’re looking at taking on staff. That is a scary scenario, because you’ve got that commitment. It’s actually understanding that regularly you have a shopping list of requirements that is needed from this support.
Whereas actually, you don’t want a specialist, you don’t want to hire somebody who’s actually costing more per hour than you are earning yourself. Sometimes you have to do that. But actually, if you’d freed yourself up taking you out of the admin, taking you out of the accounting stuff, and got somebody else into that role, then that would mean that actually you’re freed up then to do this more specialist stuff that makes you you, makes your business what it is.
So that is how you are going to use this information. Note it down – if it provides you with some major revelations – amazing, but we’re going to use the vast majority of it for the time blocking. I hope you’ve enjoyed this.
Now go away and take action!
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