Tracking time properly is crucial to project management. You need to know how much time you spend on tasks so that you can properly plan it the next time around. It will also help you avoid scope creep or unnecessary waste of time. If you don’t have a proper system in place you might be wasting both your time as well as the time and resources of your organization or client.
There is another reason to track your time. The business world is currently obsessed with productivity. While at an organizational level, leaders want to ensure that their teams are making the best possible use of time, at the individual time, hustle culture has put the spotlight on productivity.
But no productivity hack or app can help you if you don’t diagnose the most basic issue of how you spend your time. To make it easy for you, here are four ways in which you can track your time for maximum productivity.
- Stick to one task
There is no bigger myth in the modern workplace than multitasking. Unfortunately, most of these workplaces are designed to encourage people to focus on multiple tasks at the same time. The highly digitalized environments we work in are filled with distractions that ruin our productivity.
When you focus on a single task and track your time, you will get a more accurate view of how much time is needed for that task. If you switch between multiple tasks, even something as innocent as checking your email or making a call, you’re spreading your attention across various tasks. That cognitive effort disturbs your concentration and prolongs the time you would need to meaningfully finish any task.
Single-tasking is the way to increase productivity. Why? Because if you’re someone who likes doing multiple things at once or bounces from task to task, you’re likely not getting an accurate track of your time. Without realizing it, you will also be wasting precious time. The solution is to stick to a single task at a time when tracking your time.
- Use a time tracking tool
If you try to track your time manually, whether by noting the amount of time you take to finish tasks on a paper or document, a couple of things are bound to happen. Although you would be genuinely committed to it, you might lose interest after a while. This defeats the purpose.
Secondly, in all likelihood, you won’t be accurate about how you spend your time. Without technology to find out how much time you invest in tasks, you will be making assumptions. This leads to erroneous reporting and incorrect conclusions.
Tools like Heycollab make it easy to track and document your time. Using tools like this ensures automated tracking so that you don’t have to take any action. It also makes sure that there will be no user error. A tool like Heycollab also allows you to manage projects at the same time.
- Prioritize your tasks
If every job is a priority, no job will ever get done efficiently on time. One of the most effective ways to track your time and significantly improve your productivity is by prioritizing your tasks. The key to this is by making a list of your tasks for a particular day and week.
When keeping track of your time, it’s often helpful to prioritize the biggest items first. Knowing how long those take you and how much time you have left in your workday or week can help you rearrange your to-do list or priorities accordingly.
Prioritizing tasks will also help you figure out if you are spending enough time on the big picture tasks. This will help you cut down on the time on routine and administrative chores and invest more of your time on tasks that can move the needle.
- Consider tracking time outside of work
Looking for other ways to be more productive in your life in general? Wondering how to track your time at work is only half the job. If the objective is to improve your productivity in all spheres, you will have to look beyond project management.
Tracking the time that it takes you to do simple, everyday tasks like cleaning and laundry can help you better understand your overall productivity and how much time things usually take. Having a grasp on this can help you be more productive overall.
A time audit isn’t something that will help you with project management. It also has immense consequences for your personal life. In a world where there is increasing awareness of work-life balance, tracking time will help you live a more fulfilling life.