I’ve historically been really pessimistic about time tracking. It stems from my background working for agencies, where time was often inflated or adjusted to either make it look like you “did enough work”, or so the client would pay the agency more…
So often, I’ve seen time tracking used as a weapon against employees where if they don’t track X number of hours, they’re accused of not working hard enough. I think this is utter bullshit and removes any meaning or usage from time tracking.
If tracking time isn’t used as a method of reflection, retrospect and improvement (even alongside billing), it’s pointless. An example of what I mean would be tracking time on a front-end build and then using that as the basis of producing a more accurate estimate for future front-end builds.
How does this all relate to me? permalink
Instead of preaching about time tracking, I’ll tell you what I’m doing with it. I’m tracking every minute of work I do in a day. This isn’t because I want to bill by the minute, but instead, I want to see where I’m spending my time with a view to reducing the amount of time I spend doing stuff.
I want to work less and earn more money. That might sound like I want to have my cake and eat it too, but I genuinely thinks that’s possible by making my days more efficient.
I’m producing 2 courses and a very secret product this year, so I want to make the time spent on those as efficient as possible. Time tracking should be especially useful for course production because I’ll have a much better idea of how long things will take once I’ve produced the first one. I also want to make my client work more efficient and I hope that time tracking will help me to get better at sprint planning.
Speaking of efficiency: I’ve already started changing things for work:
Lastly, I’m using good ol’ Harvest to track my time. I’ve used it in various places over the years and think it’s easily the best app for the job.
Hopefully keeping an accurate log of time will help me to make even more positive changes that help me work less and spend more time with my family instead.