Time management is one of the most essential skills in recent times, especially for remote workers, since they are out of direct management sights.
It’s important to have a good grasp on temporal requirements in relation to the assigned workload - both beforehand, in the planning phase, and while working on tasks. In this sense, time tracking is the basis for successful project management, business process optimization, and, ultimately, accurate billing practices.
However, not all people are blessed with mad time management skills - they just cannot do it right and their work suffers for it.
These are the negative effects of improper time management:
- Missed deadlines
- Unsatisfactory quality of work
- Undesirable reputation
- Inability to get adequate financial compensation
- Unbalance between work and private life
- Higher stress levels
- Greater chance of burnout.
On the other hand, upon finding the best time tracking (free) software, it’s noticeable that there is an improvement in all of these areas. Hence, better time management results in:
- Better workload management
- Improved work quality
- Higher productivity levels
- Less work-related stress
- Better balance between work and private life, etc.
Therefore, it’s imperative to perfect your time management skills, and here are five tips on how to do it right.
TIP #1: Devise a Schedule and Stick to It
If your team is working from the office, then creating a schedule and making employees stick to it is much easier than tracking remote workers.
However, the global pandemic has made all companies go remote - fully or partially, temporarily or permanently, more or less successfully. Hence, the need for employees to organize their working time more effectively and proactively has arisen out of nowhere.
Even though remote work allows for plenty of flexibility in terms of when people work and in what way, there are still goals to be achieved, and that cannot be done by slacking.
While employees now have the option of sleeping in for another hour or start working in the afternoon if need be, most companies still demand an eight-hour working day - and ensure it via time tracking.
The difference is that now it’s up to the workers to arrange their working hours in such a way that allows for most productivity. This is where creating a working schedule - and sticking to it - is essential.
Make sure to divide your day and workload in the most similar way as possible to the one from the office.
For example, read and answer emails from 8 to 9 AM, work on projects from 9 AM to noon, prepare for meetings from 12 to 1 PM, have meetings from 1 to 3 PM, etc.
This kind of time tracking allows for a better overview of your duties and assignments, which also facilitates their appropriate prioritization.
TIP #2: Use To-Do Lists
Making lists is a good way to get a good handle on the tasks in front of you. While the old-school way is to do it on paper, modern project management tools are a good replacement - especially if your work includes using a computer or a similar personal device.
With tools like Jira, Asana, Trello, and plenty of others, not only is management able to assign tasks, monitor progress, and process time to task completion, but the employees also have a means of cooperation and coordination with other team members.
However, tools like Insightful - online time tracking software with built-in project management feature - not only measure the time needed to complete tasks, but also give the full overview of all employees’ to-do lists.
With timely notifications and other interactive features, people are hard-pressed to miss a deadline because they forgot a certain task or project is due today. In that sense, modern project management tools provide a solid foundation for developing better time management skills.
TIP #3: Divide Projects Into Tasks, and Tasks Into Subtasks
There is no item on an employee’s plate that isn't small enough to be a part of a bigger project and big enough to be split into smaller assignments.
Another good time tracking tactic is to consider all tasks as pieces of a larger picture but still divide them into smaller units whenever possible.
It’s particularly important for team projects to be aware of your individual responsibilities within the group and how your professional behavior influences others. When you know that others are dependent on your speed and quality of work, you will be careful not to create bottlenecks in the process.
Any responsible employee will not only be precise when determining the due date, but also be punctual in reaching said date because they know that other team members will resume working on the project after them. Moreover, they will endeavor not to make material errors that will require reworking.
In this sense, utilizing time tracking software will help you keep track of the time spent on the project and facilitate honoring the deadlines.
On the other hand, by breaking individual tasks into smaller units, not only is it easier on the employee to keep up with the workload but boost morale and productivity, since every completed subtask brings the entire project one step closer to the finish line.
Moreover, it’s much easier for the management to keep track of who is doing what in the team and what possible issues might be that may prevent the project to be finished on time.
TIP #4: Set Clear Expectations
In order for a work time tracker to be effective, all expectations from employees must be set in such a way that they are clear, precise, and equipped with appropriate results.
However, this may be the hardest part of the process, as it’s a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, the bar mustn’t be set too high - regardless of whether it’s done by management or employees themselves.
To achieve effectiveness at work, employees and their managers should be aware of their limitations and translate that knowledge into adequate workload management.
On the other hand, managers mustn’t disregard the quality with which tasks have been completed for the sake of getting quick results. Time tracking in this regard has a completely different component to it.
It’s up to managers to make it perfectly clear that working on a task twice is a waste of time and company resources which is why it’s important to achieve the desired result quality the first time round - even at the expense of being only a bit slower.
In any case, managers must also clearly communicate the consequences of employees behaving either way, not only during the performance review week, but at all times. In this sense, having access to objective information gathered by time tracking and invoicing software should ensure fair treatment of all employees according to their professional behavior - getting a raise or a pay cut.
TIP #5: Use Software to Track Employees’ Working Time
Tracking working time is a good way for employees to see how much time a certain task requires, and while it does give insight into how productive they are to their employers, it’s also important for them to use the insight to boost productivity and possibly other aspects of work.
In order for the company to be able to utilize its resources in the best possible way, it must plan future strategies very precisely, and that often includes knowing how much time completing an activity requires. Hence the justification for the implementation of time tracking software.
Its role lies in providing accurate information that is usable in future project planning and proper execution, process management, operation scaling, as well as professional employee growth.
Tools like Insightful can be a valuable addition to company resources and contribute to achieving goals on all levels - company, team, and individual.
In this sense, it’s no surprise that Insightful’s time tracking feature not only affects time management, but boosts employee productivity and work efficiency, and as such is indispensable for all modern companies determined to grow.
This article was originally written on August 21st, 2019 by Aleksa Misic. It was updated on July 14th, 2020 by Aleksandra Djordjevic.