Adopting time tracking into your agency’s workflow can be a daunting task, especially if you aren’t sure you need to be tracking time in the first place. The team needs to be on board and the benefits need to be clearly communicated. So how do we dip our toes into time tracking without going under in the deep end?
Here are three time tracking exercises your agency can do to see if it makes sense to make the plunge. These exercises are listed in order of the time and effort required, so you can start with a simple effort and work your way through each one.
Track your time on one task
Pick one task that you do often, and will require at least one hour of your time, then track how much time it takes to complete it. You’ll quickly see how much the initial estimate differs from the actual time a task requires.
Use this information to know exactly how long this task will take, and avoid surprises the next time. Repeat this exercise for a few more tasks and you can start piecing together larger estimates with the same accuracy.
Track your time for one day
Want to know exactly where your time is going? And where it isn’t going? Track every task you touch for an entire day. Whether it’s checking email, sketching out some new designs, or meeting with a client, write down how time you spent on each.
At the end of the day you’ll have a snapshot of where your time actually went. Compare it with the work you completed to identify idle distractions, and the activities that took longer than expected. This exercise is helpful for managing your day-to-day expectations.
Track your team’s time on one project
While tracking time on an entire project might seem like a long term commitment, it’s a relatively small investment of time compared to the benefits. The immediate benefit being that your team will have experienced what it’s like to keep track of their time in addition to their daily work.
The other benefit is knowing whether or not the project was profitable. Once you have an accounting of the time tracked on the project, you can calculate the cost of your time and compare that to the original estimate to see if you delivered the project under or over budget.
Ready to jump in?
If you make it through these exercises and decide you want to incorporate time tracking into your agency’s workflow, the next step is to find the right time tracking software. There are many options out there to choose from. Sign up up for a free trial and test it with a few projects to find out if it’s the right fit.