Tracking your time at work

When your income revolves around selling your time, it’s quite important to accurately track your time.

In the past, I was terrible at tracking my time at work. I hate to think how many billable hours I’ve probably squandered over the years by not charging clients for the work that I’ve done.

I’m surprised you’ve got this far into this post to be honest, talking about tracking your time isn’t the most interesting of topics to pick but I guess this post is more for me and my work mates rather than anyone else.

Since March 2019, I decided this would change and I’ve been meticulously tracking my time with a macOS app called Tyme 2. It’s a simple app that allows you to categorise your time into projects and tasks and allows you to look back and visualise what you’ve done. It also has an iOS (iPhone and iPad) and watchOS app so you can even track your time when you’re out and about at meetings for example.

Initial setup

Initially, when setting the app up, I used Genius Division’s internal job codes but quickly realised that this wouldn’t give me a real insight to the kind of work I did. The way Tyme works, you have to setup a new project to house a task so if I’d done work for Client X I would have to create a project called Client X and then a task such as design or development within that project. This was tedious as sometimes I could work on 10 or so different client projects some days. We have to track our time separately in the studio using our account system anyway so I’d always be able to see how long I’d spent on a certain project.

What I was really interested in, was the project work that I couldn’t really track such as admin, new business and research but also how long I’d spent on activities such as design and development as a whole. With this in mind, I scrapped the data I had and started again. I just tracked it without really reviewing it or any further analysis until now.

Findings

After months of data collection, I can see how much time I spend on certain aspects at Genius Division. I spend just over a quarter of my time on web development. This could be building web pages, optimising them or implementing new features into websites. The next largest part is design which I spend  a quarter of my time on. I spend the remaining part of my time on meetings, new business, admin and support for clients who host their websites with us.

 

Activity Time %
Web Development 27%
Design 25%
Admin 17%
Meetings 12%
New Business 12%
Support 7%

 

If you thought that starting your own business would mean that you get to do a lot of what you love, which in my case was designing and building websites, then it does, but there’s also the same amount of work to do again in new business, admin and meetings. From my crude analysis, I can see that for every hour I spend designing or developing, I have to spend another hour performing admin and winning new business. The challenge from this is that I cannot bill clients for work on admin, new business or meetings so I have to figure out a way to make those tasks more efficient so I can spend more time doing the things I love (and the ones I also get paid for!)

It’s been an interesting study and one I plan to keep up so I can track it over time to see if things change.