Where is your time going?
This week I have been thinking about time. If you are like me, you never seem to have enough. It can be so easy to get caught up in something and suddenly find you are out of time, where does it all go?
As a Virtual Assistant, I have always been very diligent about tracking my time spent on clients work. I use an Active Collab Timer which allows me to track time against tasks. I have clearly defined tasks set up for each client and I can switch between tasks with a single mouse click. I always know exactly where my client time is being spent. This is essential when you are managing multiple clients across weeks and months.
However, I have been guilty of not tracking the time I spend on my own business; time checking emails, networking, doing social media and even writing this blog. So, this week I have set up timers for work on Coastal VAs and I will be tracking that going forward.
Why is it important?
I have been inspired to track time spent on my business primarily by the work I have been doing for a client.
My client has a full time job and a self employed business. He is working flat out, but was not clear exactly how his time was dividing up. I looked into “time tracking apps” for him, but he found all that too fiddly. Instead, he is simply emailing me a list of what he did when. I am tracking the time for him using and Excel spreadsheet. This is an easy (and free) solution that allows me to set up projects and tasks for him. I can now generate a timesheet and breakdown to give him some insight into where his time goes.
He has found it extremely useful. It has also given him the confidence that he is giving his job the right amount of time (far more than he is contracted too) and should not feel guilty for any time spent on his business. It’s really helping him find balance in his work and to make better decisions.
Are you tracking your time?
There are lots of apps out there for time tracking. There is a good list here:
Which ever tool you use, from pen and paper to fancy app, there are a few rules that will make your time tracking meaningful and effective:
1. Be Honest. Time tracking only works if you are honest with yourself. No one is looking, so be honest and you will gain insights.
2. Set Up Meaningful Categories. Take the time to think about your categories. They can be as broad or detailed as you like. After tracking your time for a while, review your categories to make sure you are getting meaningful data.
3. Be consistent. Sitting down at the end of the day to write up your time is usually fine. However trying to look back to 2 weeks ago will be challenging. Using a timer like mine may be impractical for you, but do record your time regularly, daily if possible.
Tracking your time accurately will help you better understand your business. It can also be the first step in discovering what you want to delegate so you have MORE TIME. If you would like to talk through where your time is going and how Coastal VAs can help, please do email us.