Time Tracking As A Habit
Shit, I forgot to start my timer running again! Here are some tips for making time tracking an automatic action.
You have had the benefits of time tracking explained, you see why it is a good idea (accurate client billing, easy timesheet submission, better project planning, efficient workforce management, etc etc), you downloaded the free app, you have great intentions, but you are just not 100% committed to it yet and keep forgetting to track your time. The thing is, once you have physical evidence of how time tracking can save you time and help you to be more productive you will track every second without fail and wonder why you didn’t start doing it sooner.
But how do you get to time tracking zen? How does time tracking become a habit that you do without even thinking about it? Here are some handy tips that might help make tracking your time become second nature...
Get yourself ready.
First things first, download the app. Make sure the app icon is easily accessible, put it on your home screen or dock (bit at the bottom) so you can always see it. Decide which other devices you will need to use the time tracking software on - your tablet, desktop computer or laptop and get those set up and ready to go too.
Decide Why?. What are you hoping to gain from tracking your time?
Once you have a clear understanding of why you are doing it you are more likely to commit and will not forget to press start on the tracker. It could be that time tracking was not your idea and that you were told to do it, but if you think about the benefits I’m sure you will find a reason why YOU want to do it. Maybe you want to improve communication and trust with your boss or manager, prove you are working hard and are committed to the business, show how efficiently you use your time and demonstrate that you could effectively work from home.
Set guidelines, set time aside to plan how you will track your time.
Will you stop the timer every time you are interrupted or take a five minuet break or is there an allowance for logging break times? Decide how you are going to log the time, by client name, by project, will you colour code different types of jobs and projects? Before you get started have a clear understanding of what you are going to do, this can and will probably change as you go along and that is fine, your time tracking should adapt and grow with you to suit your needs.
Set a trigger
Studies show it can take 66 days for a new behaviour to become an automatic habit so you will need to find a way to remind yourself to start and stop the timer at first. You could stick a note somewhere in your work station where you will see it often or maybe when you are likely to be changing task and will need to reset the timer. You could pop a different ring or bracelet on your finger or wrist so that every time you see it you are reminded to check your timer. Or maybe you could write a letter ‘T’ on your hand, this might also help you remember. But don’t get too compulsive about it, you can manually edit your records so you can add and remove tasks and time if you need to. Also, since the Alpaka Punch app synchronises with the online view and on your other devices you can always stop the timer using any of them if you forget.
It is a fact that everyone works better when rewarded so set yourself a time tracking goal and reward it once you have met it. It doesn’t have to be a big reward, just something that will motivate you to remember to start and stop your timer. Initially it might be a reward for every time you remember to use the timer and as you get better at doing it you might change the reward to daily and then finally weekly and monthly.
So, what are you waiting for, take these ideas, have a play around with them and find a solution that suits you. Before you know it, you will see lots of benefits to tracking your time and the process will become a very useful habit for you.
If you haven’t already downloaded the Alpaka Punch app here is a speedy link for you...