To get the most out of a day’s work, workers and businesses must use time management tools. A lot of firm owners wish they had more time to be more productive, but that’s the wrong way to look at it. Every person has the same amount of time every day, but how they manage their time makes the difference.
This is easy to track on the level of one person or a small team, but as teams and firms scale in size, the difficulties of time management also grow. Firms need to know which workers aren’t pulling their weight and which clients and tasks are more trouble than they’re worth. Time management solves this problem.
There are a ton of different time management programs you can use to manage time in your firm, including Jetpack Workflow. Instead of recommending specific tools, we’ll talk about the different aspects of time management you’ll want in a time management toolset.
1. Due Date Tracking
The first task for any time management tracking is to have a place where all tasks can stay along with their due dates. This is the core skeleton of any workday. If you miss the client deadline or a tax filing deadline, your firm will be in trouble. No firm enjoys client relationship recovery after blowing a deadline.
Therefore, you need some kind of project management software that can track all the tasks, their due dates, and which teams and individuals own each task. This is the minimum feature set, but there are other features that can help:
- Control over who can create, assign, or alter tasks
- Document management
- Ability to integrate with other tools (e.g. QBO)
One of the core ideas in personal time management is creating a structure where you can move things out of your head and put them down on paper or in a computer so you don’t have to think about it. The famous Getting Things Done system is built around this idea. The less you have to carry in your brain, the more you’ll be able to focus on productive tasks.
2. Time Tracking
The next level of time management is tracking how long different tasks take for your team. Some people will be faster at a task than others. Some clients will take up more time than others. The time to complete a task is one of the major variables for measuring its profitability.
Either your project management software needs to have time tracking built into the tasks, or you should have a separate time management application that connects with that software to do this (e.g. Toggl).
Pro Tip: Jetpack Workflow has time tracking for billable and non-billable hours baked into the system.
What can be measured can be managed, so you need to have a way to measure time. Once you have that data, it’s much easier to decide whether you need to revise your due dates, raise your rates, or shuffle employees to different clients. It will also help you identify clients that need to be dropped because they’re taking up too much time.
A time management system is also crucial for building efficient workflows. Once you start to track the time it takes your employees to get work done, you’ll discover that some are faster than others at different tasks. Talk to each team member to ask about how they’re managing their time, then you can standardize this insight into a workflow to raise the overall level of efficiency in your company.
Time tracking software often includes reporting features so managers can create reports for their own use and prove to clients how many billable hours their jobs are taking. It’s much easier to push back against a client who says you charge too much if you have the data to back it up!
Once you have all of your tasks down and some time data, you’ll also see which tasks are suitable targets for automation. Perhaps you’ll see that you’re spending too much time trying to track down clients for information. Pushing down the number of non-billable hours is always a good thing, and tools for time management can help with that.
There are all kinds of automation tools. Cloud-based accounting systems, email autoresponders, chatbot schedulers, and a host of other products can reduce these tedious tasks. The world is booming with automation tools, but knowing which tasks are suitable for automation will help you decide which ones are best for your firm’s needs.
Another way to find out which tasks you can automate is to ask your team which tasks they find the most tedious or annoying. Smoothing out their pain points will raise morale and productivity.
Project management, time tracking, and automation are the three pillars of time management software. Jetpack Workflow has many time management features built into its system. Save time for your firm by starting a 14-day free trial of Jetpack Workflow today!