Whether you charge by the hour or by the project, do you ever lose track of time? Monitoring where time goes can be the difference between you being overstretched and you running a profitable business with stress levels under control. After reading this blog post by Inc, I decided to explore the key benefits of time tracking.
Identify Time Efficiencies
In addition to creating timing categories relating to billable client work, it’s hugely beneficial to log non-billable items to gain an overall picture of where time is being spent. These might include:
- New business research/correspondence/meetings
- Social media – scheduling
- Social media – social/interacting
It will often be more time efficient to batch similar pending items together, rather than deal with items piecemeal and flitting between tasks. Take a look at tasks that are neither urgent nor important and see if they could take place at a certain time of the week or month to promote time saving.
We all must keep on social media for business, but how much time is being spent on scheduling quality content and building an online community versus being sucked into that social media vortex and the mindless scrolling through useless content? By accurately tracking how much time is spent on those areas, it’s far easier to identify (and reduce) unnecessary time sucks.
Your capacity to take on additional work can only be calculated when all time is logged.
Total office hours minus total hours worked (billable and non-billable) = capacity
If the figure shows you’re working over capacity, then stress levels are likely to be high and a contingency plan might need to come into place sooner rather than later. That could be declining additional work, hiring another team member or outsourcing tasks to a freelancer.
Whereas if you’re nearing capacity, it might be a good time to revisit your business plan and think about expanding the team before you reach your limit.
All this data then feeds into the marketing strategy as it’ll be clearer to see how many billable hours need to be filled and also highlights whether the existing marketing approach will need to be altered.
Keep on Track
Setting a clear intention and having a time limit in your mind will undoubtedly reduce distractions.
By clicking an electronic timer on and seeing the time tick by, you are likely to feel more focussed on the task at hand and therefore be way more productive.
Not only can time tracking help with monitoring billable hours and the capacity to take on additional work, tracking non-revenue generating items such as social media management, business accounting and the like can help identify efficiencies and increase productivity.
In addition to good old pen and paper, there are heaps of web and app timing options available including freebie versions such as Toggl (which I’ve used myself) to those which integrate with project management and accounting systems, therefore saving extra time and money.
If you are nearing capacity and recognise the need to start outsourcing the administrative side of your business, I offer a free consultation and would love to hear from you.