Three Reasons Why Tracking Your Time Will Make You Stand Out at Work
Tracking your time at work has numerous benefits. Here are three:
Tracking Your Time Creates Effectiveness
Peter Drucker, in his classic text, The Effective Executive, writes an entire chapter entitled, "Know Thy Time". He writes:
"Effective executives, in my observation, do not start with their tasks. They start with their time. And they do not start out with planning. They start by finding out out where their time actually goes."
Time, like money, benefits from being accurately tracked.
Tracking Your Time Creates Accountability
There's a well-known phenomenon in psychology called the Hawthorne Effect, which states that a participant will change their behavior if they know they're being observed. Tracking your time helps foster an atmosphere of accountability (even if that accountability starts and ends with your own spreadsheet) that promotes greater efficiency in your work.
Tracking Your Time Creates Clarity
I've been tracking my time as a consultant for years, for both internal and external projects, as a way to bill clients and create more accurate estimates for project work. One wrinkle I've added recently is to include the type of work I'm doing. I'm especially interested in the time I spend in meetings versus "head down" type work. So I track it. And at the end of the week or month, I can run a simple pivot table to tell me the percentage of my time spent in each work modality. That clarity helps me face reality and make the necessary changes to improve.
I encourage you to take a few days and track what you do in 15 minute increments. I've built a spreadsheet to aid me in my work, but a pen and paper will suffice as well. The key is to start, and to not let perfect be the enemy of good enough.
The gains you'll receive in effectiveness, accountability, and clarity are worth the cost of tracking your time.
At Trellis Group, we believe chaos is the enemy of business. It's our mission to partner with business owners and their teams to develop the managerial practices and processes to crush chaos. If you feel overwhelmed and need a proven system to focus on the next best thing, we can help. Companies who work with us see revenues go up, anxiety go down, and work becomes a force multiplier for good in the lives of your people. Reach out to discover how the Trellis Group can help you crush chaos.