People often say that there isn’t enough time in the day, and even if you try hard, it can feel like the minutes pass you by. Everyone has the same 24 hours, which is good news. But how well you manage your time (or how badly you don’t) does affect how much of that limited time you actually spend on your goals and priorities.
If you find that you get to the end of the day, week, or month without doing the things you had planned or without making time for the habits that are important to you, read on. A calendar time audit is a process of keeping track of where you spend your time and figuring out how you can better use your hours to focus on what’s most important. An audit shows you in numbers where your time is helping you reach your most important goals and where it might be going to waste.
There are only so many hours in a day, but regularly checking your calendar can help you make the most of the time you do have by showing you where your minutes go.
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Why should you audit your calendar?
The problem with unstructured time management is that it wastes time and causes more stress, even if you are motivated, have a list of things to do, and are “busy.”
Research on productivity shows that most professionals need to rethink how they schedule their time, and auditing your calendar regularly is a good way to make sure you make the most of your time. 59% of Americans said it’s very hard for them to balance their work and personal lives. This isn’t surprising, since the average person has these problems with time management:
- Only 2.24 hours/day of productive task work
- Wastes 40% of their workday due to a lack of organization
- Has at least 150 different tasks at a time
- Underestimates how long a task will take by 50%
- Never actually completes 41% of their to-do tasks
- Gets interrupted every 3 minutes and 5 seconds
You might be wasting time every day by switching between tasks, checking your email often, and getting sidetracked by unexpected calls, among other things. Auditing your calendar can help you see where your time goes and help you create a better way to plan your time so you can get more done and stick to your priorities.
Here are the best things about an audit of your calendar:
- Get rid of useless meetings.
- Fewer daily distractions are better.
- Make time for your work that needs your full attention
- Improve accountability on an individual and team level and protect time for your own goals.
- Better plan your workweek
Using these benefits in your own life can make you more productive and help you find a better balance between work and life. However, you will need to take a hard look at your schedule and priorities. You might be surprised to find that you’re not as on time as you think.
How to use calendar audit to evaluate your team, step-by-step:
Some businesses that charge by the hour have no choice but to keep track of time. There’s no other way to get paid for the work done and get paid the right amount.
But auditing time is helpful for measuring and analyzing productivity in general.
- You know exactly how long a task or service will take;
- You can see what works and what doesn’t in the team’s current schedule;
- It gives you an idea of how your business is being affected by your workload;
- You can figure out where you’re wasting time (and money).
Follow these easy steps to carry out a calendar audit on your team!
- Explain the “why”
- Onboard the team on the process
- Set goals
- Let the team track
Step 1: Explain the “why”
It’s important for your team to know why you’re judging how they use their time. If you don’t, it will just feel like a bother. The last thing you want is for people to fill up their timesheets with meaningless entries just because they have to.
You should also evaluate yourself. Every good leader knows how important it is to lead by example. Not only that, but the team’s and business’s evaluations can’t be finished without you.
Step 2: Onboard the team
The team will need some time to figure out how to use the new tool, so give them that time. Tackle is great because it has a lot of helpful guides and posts about how to use it to track time every day.
Also, make some rules and good habits and explain them. (For example, it might be helpful to make notes every time an entry was made for a more thorough evaluation.)
Step 3: Set goals
For any evaluation, it’s important to set goals. Whether you’re judging yourself or your team, it doesn’t matter.
Make sure to write everything down so you can compare the results later.
Step 4: It’s time to track
After the goals and setup have been laid out, it’s time for you and your team to track your time.
Consistency will be the key: tracking time every day will ensure you’ll have enough data to then carry out all the analysis you need.
Don’t forget to also think about when your team is on the field, in meetings, or switching between multiple projects. Make it easier for them to track time by activating the integrations with the tools they use, and recommending they use Tackle to keep track of their time spent.
Step 5: Monitor
Here comes the task of management that everybody hates: keeping tabs on the employees.
Obviously, keeping a close eye on your team all the time would be a) a huge waste of your time and b) a huge downer for the morale of the team.
Use technology to help you. Set up Tackle to send you regular reports and weekly summaries of your team’s work right to your email. This will let you keep an eye on the process without stopping or upsetting the rhythm of your team.
You can also see where teams’ time has been going and if they are sticking to their budgets by looking at project status views.
Step 6: Run some reports
Here is where you can dig deep into the data.
As you and your team track your time, it is immediately put into the right project, team member, group, and phase in Tackle.
All of this information can be seen in one of the many reports in the section called “Reports.”
In Tackle, you can run the following reports:
- Clients Report
- Billable hours Report
- Tag Report
- Tag list Report
- Custom Report, and many more
Whichever report you choose, you should also know that you can schedule reports so that they run automatically, at the frequency you decide. This will save you a lot of time and also help you keep up with your reporting on regular basis.
Step 7: The final evaluation
When the auditing process is over, you can look at all the information you collected to figure out how productive and effective your team is.
Were the aims reached? How long did it take them? What tasks and projects usually took the most time? Is your team too busy?
All of these things and more will become clear to you after the time audit.
You’ve arrived this far. Great!
But simply checking the boxes of your goals and counting hours will do nothing for team productivity.
Find out where the work can improve and strengthen what is already working.
If you have explained the importance of good time management for employees and colleagues alike, all of you should benefit from the time audit you carried out.
New to time tracking? Start improving your team’s productivity: schedule a demo with Tackle and take Tackle for a free test drive. Click here.