You might not have given it much thought. Why would you? No one really does. But is the way that you are tracking your time now, really the most efficient and modern? Are you still using an excel spreadsheet to check-in your time, projects, and expenses?
Well, here’s a fresh perspective:
It should be passive
Imagine this scenario: You are a web developer or designer. You wake up, go to work, get your coffee, design or code that android application, or do whatever you need to do without checking in or logging your time until the end of the day. That’s how tracking your time should be: passive. This way you can do all of your active work now. You can focus on what needs to be done instead of wasting time with a stop and go cycle. Other softwares require you to check-in or track your time multiple times per day. That re-focus cycle can make you loose your thought and you’re loosing time. You need that time to do the work that matters.
It should be collaborative
Everyone knowing about what you are up to is a different approach to tracking your time. This is also known as social time tracking. By collaborative, I mean that you can see what a teammate is working on, collaborate with him about a given project, give feedback, or initiate ideas. I like what Sal Partovi of CloudSpokes said, “If you’re not saying, ‘hey, I have an idea to run by you’ to your coworkers every now and then, then what exactly are you doing?” Time tracking isn’t only about collaborating within your agency internally. It is also external. You should be able to collaborate with clients. You see, if there is transparency with the way you track your time, your clients will be able to see what you are doing for their business. They can intervene or see that you are on the right track to completing a project. Transparency is the golden rule, it allows for more trust in your client relationship, and is it’s own type of communication.
It should be useful
Being passive and collaborative is useful. When you track your time, you should also be able to keep track of the other things you did during that time period. I mentioned that other teammates and clients should be able to see the time you tracked, but they should also be able to see the project and activity worked on, for how long, and the billing for the given activity. The first question you should be asking yourself is that is your current time tracking tool passive and collaborative?
These questions might make you rethink what you are using now. I suggest you change time-tracking tools, or come up with your own way to be as passive, collaborative, and communicative as much as possible.