If you are in the industry of selling time, such as most professional service agencies, then you know the importance of time tracking.

At Bam Creative, we have a culture of transparency; and time tracking is no different. Everyone from the Managing Director to the production assistants track their time in our custom-built project management system, and we can all reviewwhat was done by whom.

Time tracking isn't the most fun thing to do and in many cases may seem tedious and unnecessary, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Time tracking is an important task for freelancers and office environments alike, and has numerous benefits to both personal productivity and workplace efficiency.

Time tracking is often used for administrative or accounting reasons, such as accurately and efficiently managing payroll, billing and invoicing clients with proof of actioned work, and managing project aspects such as schedules and deadlines, but there are many personal benefits of monitoring and tracking how you spend your time.

Positives of time tracking include:

  • Project clarity, having definite milestones and a designated time to complete them by allows projects to be divided into manageable chunks
  • Improves your ability to estimate how long a task should take
  • Allows you to prioritise your tasks
  • Minimises procrastination
  • Increases your productivity and allows you to review your performance
  • Proof of work for clients and employers alike
  • Allows you to recognise inefficient practices and can lead you to improve your work methods.

The issue a lot of people have with inputting time sheets is the lack of knowledge as to why this data is important. It's important to have a reason for collecting time sheet data, and letting others know how they are contributing.

It's all well and good to simply collect the time sheet and file them away, but by doing that, an extremely valuable resource is being wasted. The best way to improve is to look at and build upon the past. By having access to time tracking data you can see what works and what doesn't and apply that knowledge to future tasks. Keeping time sheets is a great way to improve workplace efficiency.

There are a number of time tracking tools available, such as:

  • Invoicera: Tracks time, expenses, and sends professional invoices. Free plan available.
  • Toggl: Simple Time tracking at the click of a button. Free plan or $5 monthly, for web, android or apple devices.
  • RescueTime: Tracks time spent on applications and websites, and gives daily reports on where you spent you time. Free plan or $9 per month.
  • Eternity: Time log app for Apple Devices. Free or $7.99 for full app
  • My Minutes: Personal time tracker app for Iphone. Free app.
  • Hubstaff: Time tracking software with screenshots and activity levels. Free plan, $5 per month for individual plan or $15 per month with team of 3.
  • Tsheets: Time tracking mobile app with GPS location tracking and alerts. Available for android and apple, free trial or from $5 per month plans.

Each tool above has features for time management and tracking as well as many other project management tools.

When the only negative of time tracking among a plethora of benefits, is that it's a little bit tedious to do, it's quite difficult to argue against it. It's time to start recognising the value of your time and start actively monitoring what you spend your time on. It may be the last thing you want to do, but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

How do you track your time?