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How not to hate time tracking

Stas Kulesh
Stas Kulesh Follow
May 24, 2023 · 5 mins read
How not to hate time tracking
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Time tracking often receives negative criticism as we tend to view it as reducing our output to mere numbers. This leads to the mistaken belief that our value as humans is based on the time logged in our timesheets. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In reality, time tracking can provide us with several benefits, such as helping us gain control over damaging distractions, protecting us from unethical practices in both office and freelance work, and promoting the development of healthier work habits.

Hidden Benefits You’ve Been Overlooking

Time tracking is often seen as a necessary evil in many workplaces. Employees may view it as a tedious task that invades their privacy and hinders their productivity. However, it’s crucial to understand that companies implement time tracking for various reasons that go beyond simply monitoring their workforce. Some of the main reasons why companies utilize it usually include:

Efficient Resource Allocation
By analyzing time data, organizations can identify where employees spend most of their time and ensure optimal utilization of skills and expertise. This empowers companies to streamline workflows, allocate tasks more efficiently, and improve overall productivity.

Accurate Project Planning and Estimation
By understanding the time it takes to complete specific tasks, businesses can set realistic deadlines, allocate resources appropriately, and avoid overburdening employees with unrealistic expectations.

Identifying Time-Wasting Activities
Identifying time-wasting activities allows employees to become more self-aware of their own work habits, allowing them to identify areas where they can improve efficiency. Companies can then provide targeted training or support to help employees optimize their time management skills.

Transparent Communication and Collaboration
This transparency enhances communication and collaboration, as employees can plan meetings, delegate tasks, and coordinate projects more effectively.

Fair Evaluation and Recognition
By having access to data on time spent on specific projects or tasks, companies can provide objective feedback and recognition to employees based on their efforts and achievements. Fair evaluations and recognition boost employee morale and motivation, creating a positive work culture where individuals feel valued and rewarded for their contributions.

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How to embrace the positive perception of time-tracking

Changing your attitude towards time tracking as an employee can be a transformative process that can help you embrace it as a beneficial tool rather than a burdensome task. Here are some steps you can take to change your perspective:

1. Find the right motivation
Think about why time tracking is important to you personally. For example, if you’re aiming for a promotion or want to improve your time management skills, tracking your time can provide valuable insights to help you achieve those goals. By having a clear motivation, you can stay committed and engaged with the process.

Example: Imagine you're a freelance graphic designer and you want to increase your efficiency to take on more projects. Tracking your time can help you identify which tasks consume the most time and find ways to optimize your workflow. Ultimately, this can lead to more clients and higher earnings.

2. Simplify the process
Explore time-tracking tools that integrate seamlessly with the software you already use for your work. For instance, if you primarily use project management software like Trello or Asana, look for a time-tracking tool that can be easily integrated with these platforms. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and makes the process more streamlined.

Example: If you're a writer who uses Google Docs for your work, you can use a time-tracking tool like Toggl Track that offers a Google Chrome extension. With a simple click, you can start and stop the timer without interrupting your writing flow.

3. Make it a habit
Consistency is key when it comes to time tracking. Set a specific time each day or week to update your timesheet and make it a part of your routine. Treat it as a non-negotiable task to ensure you’re consistently capturing accurate data.

Example: As a project manager, you can schedule 10 minutes at the end of each day to review your time-tracking data and update project timelines accordingly. By making it a habit, you ensure that the information is up-to-date and relevant.

4. Make it fun
Inject some excitement into time tracking by turning it into a game. Set goals and challenges for yourself to track your time more efficiently or complete tasks within certain timeframes. Celebrate your achievements when you reach these milestones to keep yourself motivated.

Example: If you're a software developer, challenge yourself to complete coding tasks within specific time limits. Use a time-tracking tool that allows you to set reminders or alerts when you're nearing your target time. Once you meet the challenge, reward yourself with a small treat or take a short break to recharge.

5. Focus on the benefits
Shift your mindset from viewing time tracking as a chore to recognizing the benefits it provides. Remind yourself that it helps you identify areas for improvement, boosts your productivity, and brings you closer to achieving your goals.

Example: If you're an entrepreneur launching a startup, tracking your time can help you analyze how much time you spend on different aspects of your business. This data can guide you in making informed decisions about outsourcing certain tasks or hiring additional team members to optimize your efficiency and focus on high-value activities.

Remember, changing your attitude towards time tracking takes time and effort. It’s a process of shifting your perspective and finding the value within it. By embracing it as a tool for personal and professional growth, you can make the most out of the practice and experience its benefits firsthand.

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Stas Kulesh
Stas Kulesh
Written by Stas Kulesh
Time founder. I blog, play fretless guitar, watch Peep Show and run a digital design/dev shop in Auckland, New Zealand. Parenting too.