3 Ways Time Tracking Software Can Help You Take on the Top Time Waster at Work

  • Mar 15,2017
shutterstock_164861015   Allbusiness.com asserts that email is the #1 communication tool in the workplace. It’s also the top time waster, beating out office meetings for the #1 spot. “Email consumes 23% of the average employee’s workday and that average employee checks his or her email 36 times an hour,” according to Forbes contributor David Burkus. Do the math. That’s about 2 hours a day when you add in an extra 16 minutes, the time it takes employees to refocus after dealing with incoming email. Here’s where time tracking software can help. When you can see exactly where your time is going, you can take action to improve. Emptying out your email inbox can make you feel like you’ve accomplished something. But if your job is about something other than deleting emails, time spent in your inbox probably isn’t adding value to the organization.

Take Action Tip #1: Use Online Timesheets with Notes

Find time tracking software that works for you and use it. Time tracking software gives employee and boss alike a clear indication of where time is being spent. Quoting the entrepreneur’s patron saint Peter Drucker, “If you can’t  measure it, you can’t improve it.”

Make Timesheet Activity Notes a Required Field

The information in the activity notes field is the equivalent of a project status update in real time, and without a single email being sent. A recent research study of 12 million timesheets from BigTime, demonstrated that timesheet notes the length of a tweet (yes, 140 characters) can increase realization by $5,000 to $10,000 per employee annually.

Take Action Tip #2:  Align Your Activity With Different Schedule Types

In a recent blog post, BigTime cited a well-known essay written by Paul Graham, about two types of working schedules. There’s the manager’s schedule, a day cut into one-hour intervals with lots of meetings. And there’s the maker’s schedule, often preferred by people who function best with large blocks of uninterrupted time, like programmers and writers. As Graham said, “You can’t write or program well in units of an hour.” It’s important that firm owners and employees alike block out time in their schedules to accomplish different types of work. Manager time is for working in the business, including emails, meetings, staff development, and calls. It’s even more important to block out maker time, sacrosanct time to simply think, to work on your business; considering complex projects, strategy, trends, and opportunities.

Take Action Tip #3: Explore Alternative Communication Channels

Thierry Breton, CEO of the France-based information technology services firm Atos Origin, resolved to put an end to the email pollution that obstructed productivity for over 70,000 employees in more than 40 offices around the world. An internal social network platform gradually replaced email as the primary communications channel, achieving a 60% reduction in email, going from an average of 100 messages per week per employee to less than 40. The social network improved the sharing of knowledge across the enterprise, made it easier to locate subject matter experts, and most importantly, allowed for more efficient collaboration when it comes to project management. Atos employees post in the company’s internal communities almost 300,000 times a month, and those messages are viewed nearly 2 million times per month. Most importantly, all of those views are by choice without disruptive pings to their in boxes.

Try BigTime’s Integration with Slack

It’s easy to bring your firm into the world of 21st-century communication. Try out BigTime’s free integration with Slack, an app that harnesses the power of social for collaboration, group channels for focused conversations. private chat, and file sharing from docs to video, and more. Experience real-time communication, grouped by channels with threads for historical context. Most importantly, the communication going on in your office will take place outside the in-box. To keep up with BigTime’s time billing research studies, subscribe to our blog.   BigTime Software delivers real-time, metrics-driven time tracking, billing and project management for more than 2,000 professional firms, tracking over $2 billion (USD) worth of billable time each year.