Time tracking - what it is & how can it benefit your productivity?
The complete guide to saving your time
Many people turn to time tracking when they feel they could be managing their personal and professional life better. But is time tracking something you need as well? Ask yourself these questions:
Do you often find yourself using the phrase “there's just not enough time” or “why aren't there 25 hours in a day”?
Do you daydream about turning back time in order to add some extra hours to your week to finish chores, do more work or pursuit personal goals?
If the answer is yes, time tracking is just the solution for you.
While it does not offer to build your own personal time machine (let's leave that for Elon Musk), using time tracking tools is definitely one of the key strategies to regain control of your time.
So - what is time tracking, how could it benefit your daily life and how to start using time tracking tools?
Let's get to the bottom of this.
What is time tracking?
Time tracking is the process of monitoring and documenting the amount of time spent on activities, tasks, and other projects throughout the day or any other specified period of time. In a business environment, time tracking is a simple method of observing how time is spent and for calculating payments.
Time tracking is also the key to understanding how you spend your personal time, how productive and efficient you are on a day-to-day basis, which tasks take up most of your time and which, on the other hand, require more attention.
So, how do you start using time tracking tools?
Opposite to what you may have thought, there's no need to count every minute and prepare tedious spreadsheets and charts to compare how much time you've spent on activities throughout the day.
What you'll need is a good time tracking software which will do all that for you.
What is a time tracking software?
Time tracking software is a tool used on your computer and/or smartphone to record time dedicated to tasks or projects. The software is used in many industries to capture time spent on assigned tasks, as well as by freelancers, hourly workers, and professionals who bill their customers by the hour.
But more importantly - time tracking software can also keep track of your personal time, increase productivity and release you from the clutches of unimportant habits.
It helps you to organize your daily workflow in a more efficient way by identifying how much time is spent on personal activities such as working, reading, browsing social media, reading email etc.
The harsh truth is - you might not even realize how much precious time you're losing on tasks that don't even matter. Just take a look at the data.
Research shows that the average person will spend nearly 2 hours a day on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and the like, making it more than 5 years of our life spent scrolling the social media.
In comparison, we will spend only one year and three months over a lifetime socializing with friends and family in real life. Now how about setting some priorities?
By using the right time tracking tools, you can finally stop wasting time and improve your personal effectiveness in order to take advantage of each day to the fullest.
Still looking for other time tracking benefits? There are plenty:
1. Improve time management skills
Good time management is all about decision making and choosing to spend time on activities that matter. It's very easy to plan too much for your plate and in the end - not finish half of the projects you've started.
By tracking time, you'll learn to estimate with increased precision how much time you need to accomplish the important tasks and how much time you have left for leisure. You'll be able to plan your schedule ahead and make sure every piece included in the puzzle is realistic.
2. Boost your focus
Focusing on multiple tasks at the same time is not a good idea, period. And science confirms it. A study found that only 2.5% of people are able to multitask effectively, proving that people are wired to be mono-taskers.
When you're time tracking, you become aware that your time is being logged and that each minute needs to be assigned to a specific task. If you're multitasking, you won't be able to log your time accurately.
So instead of trying to juggle responding to emails, cooking your dinner and seeing what your friends have been up to on Instagram, stick to a single activity at a time and focus on completing it. In the long run, you'll won't be tempted to multi-task and instead will grow your ability to focus on the task at hand.
3. Reduce stress
Planning your day with care and tracking time as you go along helps you regain control of your schedule. And knowing you're in control of your time reduces the amount of unhealthy stress.
Bear in mind that finding time for rest and personal life is as important as scheduling time for work. Tracking your time will allow you to find these nooks of time off, and you'll be able to perform better and more profitably.
4. Find the key to your productivity
Some people wear their lucky pair of socks to feel like they can conquer the world. Others need just the right temperature in the room to operate properly. What makes you productive?
Time tracking in different environments and various settings can help you find the optimal conditions to maximize your productivity level.
For example, this freelance writer worked from home, the office and coffee shops logging time with the DeskTime time tracking and productivity app only to find out that for her, coffee shops were best for boosting creativity, while the home office was the most productive.
Or this entrepreneur discovered that yoga balls, while not the most productive, significantly boosted her efficiency.
Now you need to ask - what makes you productive?
Time tracking with DeskTime will not only help you find the answer but also get you on track to accomplishing personal and professional goals.
Follow this step-by-step guide to start time tracking with DeskTime - one of the leading time tracking apps used by over 100k people:
Launch the time tracking app
To launch the time tracking app, look into the Applications folder (if you're using Mac) or under Programs (if you're a Windows user). Sign into the app.
Let DeskTime track your time and check back later to change the productivity status of the sites and applications you've been using.