Time management tools or time tracking apps are the secret weapons that every freelancer, employee, project manager, or business owner should have if they are looking to manage their time and resources efficiently. While self-discipline is the best time management technique anyone can learn or possess, in this day and age, with the number of distractions around and multitasking to be done, this is easier said than done.
Thanks to technology, a big chunk of this problem can be easily resolved. There are multiple platforms and apps that can help you be more organized, methodical and efficient. And that’s not it. These time management tools come with additional functionalities that can automate complex workflows helping you save both times and money.
Here are some questions that we will be addressing in this article.
- What is time management?
- What are some effective time management strategies?
- How can time tracking tools help in organizing tasks and planning activities?
- What are the best time tracking tools available?
What is time management?
Have you ever missed a project deadline? Are you clueless about the tasks you’ve accomplished in the past few weeks? Do you always feel short of resources and time? Are you ending up with higher operating costs yet slower implementation cycles?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, implementing an effective time management strategy should be one of the first steps to solving this problem. So, what is effective time management?
According to Wikipedia, time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.
The key here is increasing effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. How can one manage their time efficiently to accelerate performance and boost productivity? Read further to find out more about some effective time management strategies. You may read more on why is Time tracking so important in our blog.
What are some effective time management strategies?
We reached out to a few business owners and project managers to find out their secret recipe for a successful business. There were six key elements prevalent across the board. According to all of them, effective time-management can be achieved by following these six strategies.
Six effective time management strategies
- Know what your goals are. Stay on top of everything you need to execute.
- Plan your resources efficiently. Knowing where and how your resources are spending their time will help you delegate better.
- Assess dependencies, risks, and deliverables periodically. Re-evaluate and fix issues as and when you come across them.
- Track the time spent on your core tasks and projects. This will show you how you spend your time daily.
- Automate complex and time-consuming tasks. Use this time to spend on the more important tasks.
- Evaluate the post-project impact and learnings.
Each of the above strategies further includes multiple actionable steps and processes that need to be done or followed religiously to achieve the desired outcome. While the entire process may look complex, it can be easily achieved with the right tools and resources. We have prepared a summary of the tools and techniques that most of the project managers have reported in a short guide, and you can download the guide free here:
Free Guide: 6 Time Management Strategies to Stay on Time and Budget
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How can time-management tools help?
You can define goals, plan resources, assess dependencies, track time, automate processes and evaluate learnings effectively using some powerful project management tools. An easy yet automated time tracker software can help you in many ways to accomplish a project successfully.
Every project must have a well-defined short term and long term goal. Goals help you to focus better and give you a benchmark to compare against as you proceed. It helps you organize your resources and time effectively. While it is important to define and set goals, it is equally important to track the time spent on achieving these goals.
However, how often have you heard your team complain about updating their tasks by the end of the day?
What was it that made you cringe every time you heard the word ‘time-tracker’? While time tracking may be painful, how do you convince your team to start tracking their time?
Here are the top 6 reasons why you need to start tracking your time now.
- Easier payroll processing: You can integrate payroll, invoicing, and billing with the hours tracked and automate the process.
- Make informed business decisions: You can see how much time is invested in each of your projects. As a project owner, this insight is helpful while negotiating terms with a client, or in your appraisal discussions.
- Improve productivity: Does the word ‘too many meetings’ ring a bell? Identify the time spent on non-essential activities.
- Forecast accurately: When you have data on how much time it takes to accomplish a given task, you can use this to predict the time needed for similar projects in the future.
- Allocate and monitor resources: If a project crosses a given deadline, this data can be helpful for a project owner for resource reallocation and as a team member you can use this data to get the additional help you need.
- Smoother workflow: You can get a quick overview of your task list and activities that were already completed for a given day. This gives a sense of accomplishment and also helps you plan better for the next day.
There are hundreds of good time management tools and apps these days that can help you track your time. While some perform the basic function of just time tracking, there are others that are integrated with various other tools like a task management system, lead management system, invoicing software, etc. to improve efficiency.
What are the best time tracking tools available?
Get harvest has time management systems that can be integrated with your existing tools to track time spent on different tasks and activities. You can use start and stop the timer or enter hours directly into timesheets.
Timely is a cool time management app with automatic time tracking, project time management and team-time management features. You can use it to track the amount of time spent on different tasks and to monitor team performance.
Clockify is a free time tracking software that lets you and your team track the hours spent on different tasks and projects.
Toggle comes with basic and advanced time tracking features. The basic feature includes simple time tracking and reporting while the advanced features include time tracking, timesheet automation, and advanced reporting.
Taimer offers an all-in-one solution which includes time tracking along with other project management features. With Taimer, you can track your time for a specific project, sub-project, task, or job type. Taimer’s time tracking module is further integrated with invoicing, so the user can automatically invoice for the work hours spent.
“We used to use many different tools to run our business. Because of that, we couldn’t get a 360°view or generate real-time forecasts on how our business was progressing. Taimer has solved several essential problems related to time management. The system combines resource scheduling and time tracking, into one integrated tool...Taimer is a very good tool. It’s worth it.” Henri Grönlund, CEO Cloud²
If you would like to learn more about how to set SMART goals, time management skills, plan resources, automate complex time-consuming tasks and other time management tips, download our free eGuide on 6 effective time management strategies from here.
We love to hear from you too! Do you find this article useful? What other time tracking tools and techniques have you used if any? And why have you chosen them? If you have any questions, comments, or feedback leave a comment below or get in touch with us. And, let us know which topics you would like us to write about!