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Why Time Tracking Is Paramount in a Project Management Setting

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This Post Originally Appeared on www.project-management.com

Effective time management is crucial for successful project completion, but it also plays a major role in daily task distribution. Knowing how to organize and efficiently spend time on daily tasks can significantly boost efficiency and productivity, not to mention how it helps managers with planning. It enables you to distribute the workload evenly, and set more realistic goals.

Of course, these were just some vague benefits of quality time tracking, and in order to make a more compelling case, we will explore this topic even further. In the following article we are going to provide examples of why time tracking is paramount in a project management setting, and how it enables improved work performance.

Why is it important

One of the major obstacles from achieving ideal efficiency are “time wasters.” These are, in fact, really common occurrences, and we tend to waste our time on a daily basis. There is not a single person out there who hasn’t thought “Well, there goes an hour I am never getting back.” However, time waste is less likely to occur when you are running on a tight schedule and when you know that time is a commodity you cannot afford.

Unfortunately, cramming up the time sheet so that everything seems urgent is going to create a really stressful environment, so this is definitely not a solution. Basically, it is why, as a skill, time management is important, as it allows you to create solutions that won’t be stressful for the employees, yet at the same time, mitigate the unproductive behavior.

Effective time management

A study from Stanford has revealed that people who put in more working hours a week do not actually get more work done. Good time management implies that time is spent effectively, and here are some ways how you can do this.

Avoid distractions – It is true that we heavily rely on internet to do our job, but most of the tasks do not require employees to constantly check their emails, or social networks, and to watch funny gifs or videos. In other words, if your team needs to use certain online platforms they should have access to them, but other websites that are distracting should be blocked.

List of priorities – To-do lists are a very good way of presenting the importance of certain tasks. By using a project management software you can create to-do lists with detailed instructions as well as with designated deadlines. However, in order to truly be good at this and design good deadlines for the project, you need to view time management as energy management.

Using the Pareto principle or the Eisenhower method, you can construct a time sheet that will fully utilize the energy of your workforce. The idea is that 20% of our time or energy can amount to 80% of our work, or in other words you should prioritize 20% of tasks that can yield 80% of results.

Estimating time accurately – Using project management tools you can also track time that it takes for project completion. You should include all the constraints, as well as other factors that either hinder or improve the efficiency of people assigned to the project, in order to get accurate measurements. This way you can devise deadlines, and organize a plan that won’t overburden your workers, and yet will still motivate them to finish everything on time.    

It impacts work satisfaction

Time management experts are capable of creating a work schedule that will allow projects to be finished on time, while not inducing too much stress in your workforce. Basically, you allow your team to be satisfied with their job, and to get the best results possible with minimal investment.

This will also allow for a smooth progression curve, as it will give you more flexibility when you need to ask employees to put in the extra work, or to improve the quality of their work. Once they get used to the pace, it will not present an obstacle when they need to say “I can do more and I can do better.”

By overburdening your schedule, your workforce will feel like they can barely keep up and that they are not living up to your expectations.

Better oversight for tackling future projects

Finally, with good time management skills you mitigate the possibility of missing deadlines or taking on projects you cannot deliver. One of the major reasons for project failure is the inability to grasp the project scope, or the occurrence of scope creep.

Good managers know how to avoid this through time management, as they can plan ahead a lot better. Also, the plan should be devised in a way that leaves room for the unexpected issues that could present a hindrance, so a deadline should never be set with the assumption that everything will go as planned.

To sum up, time management skills will directly impact multiple elements of your work. First it enables you to keep team motivated, less stressed out, and to maximize their efficiency. It also enables you to have a more positive and ever-growing success rate, considering how it mitigates the possibility of not delivering your projects on time.

Lastly, you get to set more realistic goals for your company, as you won’t create a negative and stressful environment by making your employees race against the clock.

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