Last month, I experienced an unexpected boost in productivity. As our developers were finishing up the time tracking app, we asked the team to bug-test it. I began tracking my time for all my tasks, and I had some amazing realizations.
Here’s what I learned while tracking my time for a month and why it is now part of my daily routine.
Forced to Focus
It is something about setting a timer that helps you focus on the task at hand. You might just want to beat time or beat your estimate of how long a task will take.
Multiple times I have found myself drifting off task to chase a thought. Only to be caught by a reminder that the clock is ticking. This helps me stay focused and pulls me back to my task. It works even better when you have a time limit. If I have given myself 2 hours to write this post, I know I must stay on task to meet or exceed that time limit. Even though I have no time constraints, I still feel a sense of accomplishment and intrinsic motivation when I complete a task on schedule.
Enjoy the power of compressed timing
Parkinson’s law states that work expands in order to fill the time it takes to complete. This is especially true for offices that employ a “butt-in-the-seat” approach to worker productivity. Many people confuse busy with productive, which leads to wasted time and unproductive work.
However, time constraints can create something magical.
You can accomplish the same amount of work in a shorter time. This is called compressed time and it explains how TreeHouse, an innovative company, can get as much done in a 4-day workweek than those who work a 5-day week. Leadership consultant Peter Bregman wrote in a recent article of the Harvard Business Review that compressed time is “the single most life-changing, business-transforming revelation of my last five years”
Data shows that while constraints are great for creativity, they also have a tangible impact on productivity. Here are some ways you can use a timer in your work to maximize time compression. First, start by estimating how long the task should take. Next time you are faced with a similar task, set a goal of completing it in 60% of the time. You must be committed to achieving this goal without compromising on quality. Watch the time you take to focus and see how it affects your ability to focus.
Find out how long it takes to complete a task.
If you’ve never kept track of your time or asked someone to ask you how long it would take to complete a task, it’s not easy to do so. It will make it easier to plan your day and ensure you are getting your Big Rocks in. This will give you an idea of how much responsibility and work you can take on.
Tracking your own time is something that I believe everyone can benefit from. It may seem like time tracking is something only hourly workers have to do. It might bring back images of a time card and the ability to punch in and out. Many technology workers have to keep track of their time.
The largest use of time tracking is in agencies, where people must track their billable hours. Therefore, the team must be precise in tracking the time they spend on a project. White collar workers in technology are not as likely to track their time, and many feel uncomfortable about it. I can tell you that tracking your time can help you overcome the most common productivity killers.
Time tracking isn’t just for bosses or to calculate billable hours. It’s a great tool to improve your productivity and habits. If you are a TeamGantt User and would like to beta-test our new time tracking feature, please let us know.