Making the Best Use of Your Time Tracking Data

So you've followed my advice and started tracking the time you spend on your business - but now what?

Of course, for most of us, the main reason for time tracking relates to invoicing and income but guess what? You can use it in your strategic planning as well.

Real Data Makes for Realistic Planning

Each quarter, I block off a morning to review the previous one. No, I'm not answering to shareholders or a board of directors but this is a useful technique to review where I'm at and think about where to go next. (And ok, I wear a lot of hats so technically I am all of the shareholders and the entire board.)

When I can review the real time tracking data in this session it makes all the difference. I can find out where my time is going over a three-month period. You may argue that tracking your time daily allows you to know where your time goes and while I do agree with that, it's certainly worth a further, detailed look as the time accumulates.

So, I can see that this past quarter, most of the time I spent working on the business was spent doing marketing, networking and meeting with new clients. That's very interesting to see because I also grew by client base substantially compared to the previous quarter. It gives me some clues that hmmm, the time is worth it.

Seeing email rate so highly as well keeps me aware that I need to keep that in check. Those who have been a lucky recipient of one of my more-detailed emails will know that there are times when I can leave out some information I'm sure! Social media is important and though I do consider that marketing, I like to split it out as its own category. I'm pleased that training is in the top five as it shows that my curiosity and my intention of continual learning is coming through in my day-to-day work. This shows that my blogging does take time but again, I've been enjoying it and I'm finding it's a way I can share with more people.

The bottom five prove as valuable to see as the top five:

I'm happy to see that my invoicing and expense tracking aren't high on the list. That tells me systems are helping to keep that time down to a minimum. The research would typically be looking into new tools or different platforms and again, sometimes that would line up as learning & training but a bit more specific and purposeful. The website time is making changes and updates so, something that will always be happening but good that it's not taking up too much time. I have only started using a couple new tools this quarter so the setup time is low and I haven't made any major changes to how I manage my projects so haven't had additional time for that.

Next Quarter

I expect to see some differences in the balance for the upcoming quarter for sure. I'll be putting more time towards my Desire Map workshops and probably spending a little less time with networking. I'll keep in mind that I'd like to decrease the time spent on email so that'll be a little challenge for me!

If you still haven't started using a tool for your time tracking, definitely check out Freshbooks and Harvest to see what works for you!

How do you review your quarter? What kind of stats do you look at? Share what works for you in the comments below.