This is a decision I came to kicking and screaming. (Ask Angie.) I am not a time-tracking kind of girl. I actually, despite being a “J” on the Myers-Briggs, rebel against many such restraints.
I have been in business since January or so, and tried to track my time, in fits and starts. We signed up for Harvest, then cancelled our account. We tried another service, and my team used it faithfully, while I did not.
My attitude was — I will work to get the job done; I will be more concerned about delivering promised work than tracking time; it’s my company so I don’t really need to know how much time I am working.
However: big problem. How can I judge if my business is profitable if I cannot reliably track expenses, including time? How can I determine the “run rate” of my business if I do not know how much time it takes me to run it? How can I set boundaries effectively between work and business if I am not sure how many hours I am working?
Mid-October, I began faithfully tracking my time — and at the end of November we could more accurately look at our business profitability because we finally had a month’s worth of accurate data. I can see how much time I am working with clients, how much time I am spending in meetings and sales calls, and how much time I am spending on email (verdict: way too much!). I can, with better data, become more effective, focused, and balanced in managing my time.
In case you’re interested, we use Harvest to track our time. One benefit of Harvest is a handy iPhone app, but I more often use the web version. I open my time sheet each day and track my time throughout the day. If I get busy, I recreate my day’s work at the end of the day, using my calendar as a guide.
I may be a reluctant convert to time tracking, but I can say with confidence that I will continue to track my time because it’s the right decision for me and my company.