If you’re not tracking time on your projects, you’re missing out on one of the most useful tools in business management. Here’s how to use the time tracking tools in Teamwork Projects to improve time management and reduce friction in workflows.
For a lot of teams, time tracking is an essential part of the daily routine. Time estimates are just as important as the description or due date on a task, and no task begins until you press play on the timer, but why?
If you aren’t already tracking time on your projects, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities to improve time management — and increase profits.There are many proven benefits to documenting and measuring hours worked. So let’s take a look at why time tracking and the desktop timer app in Teamwork Projects are some of the most popular features with our customers.
Anything that can be measured can be improved
Tracking time spent on tasks isn’t about monitoring every minute of your day, it’s about tracking how much time you spend working on specific areas. Learning how you spend your time is a real eye-opener, generating a gold mine of data that helps increase your team’s productivity.
Once time has been logged, you can see exactly which tasks and clients require the most resources or deliver the best ROI. If you haven’t already tried it, let’s get started uncovering how you can identify bottlenecks in your workflow, keep your team focused, and instantly increase your outputs.
Start tracking time on tasks
To start tracking your time, hover over the 🕘 icon on your task and hit Start Timer. This sets the timer into action on the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. Need to take a break? Simply hit the pause button and resume the timer when you’re ready to dive back into the task.
Finished for the day but not finished with the task? Hit Pause and Log to mark your time against the task, check the billable box or add a quick description if needed, and hit Save Time Log. To manually log time, select Log More Time from the clock icon. Click into the task for an overview of the time you’ve logged.
“If you can’t measure your performance, you can’t improve. Teamwork Projects has given us the tools to analyze and innovate in ways we weren’t able to see before.” Traffic Jam Media on time tracking
Use real data for better time estimates
We’ve all been forced into a situation where the deadline was too tight, and everyone had to pump in extra hours to get the project over the line. This happens all too often because people underestimate the amount of time a project will take to complete.
These exhausting work marathons will dramatically decrease when you can build informed estimates using data your team has on hand. Armed with an accurate set of time estimates from similar projects, you can confidently and precisely budget time for future projects.
Estimated time on a task
Create a task, click on the 🕘 icon and add your estimate. If your task is already created, hover to the right-hand side of the task and click on the ➕ icon. Click to add your time estimate.
Log time on the task
Once you’ve completed the task and tracked the time, select Time from the top menu of the project to see an overview of your logged time. In the time section, you can see the overview of all time logged on a project. Sort by who logged the time, date, task or task list.
Using filters you can sort information according to your preferences: by date, person, tags, billable and non-billable work, added to an invoice or not. You also have the option to personalize the report by removing and adding columns. Save your preferences as a custom filter so you can have the view you need in an instant.
“With Teamwork Projects, Traffic Jam Media now has a better handle on their project estimates and budgeting process, all because of the precise time tracking tools. In the earliest stages with a client, they have the confidence of knowing that their cost forecasts are accurate based on analysis of past projects.” Traffic Jam Media on time tracking
Release bottlenecks to prevent profit loss
More accurate estimates help you to identify any bottlenecks in your workflow. If you’ve estimated a task will take 5 hours to complete, and 2 days later it’s still not over the line, it’s evident there’s an issue that needs to be resolved. Generate reports on time logs to pinpoint exactly where projects are running over. Being able to identify any hurdles early on in a project will prevent any further loss of profit or time.
Generate time report on a project
In your project, go to the Time tab to get an overview of all time logged on a specific project. On the left-hand panel you will see a full breakdown of all time on the project, including estimated, billable, non-billable, and overall. At a glance you can see whether the project is running over or under estimated time. Use filters for a more detailed breakdown of time and estimates.
“We knew we needed per-task and per-project time reporting when we found out that one of our team members spent five days on a project that should have taken four hours.” Traffic Jam Media on time tracking
Accurate billing means increased profits
For agencies, tracking time is one of the single most important activities the team can do. If you’re not billing against tracked time, you are losing money. In order for agencies to be profitable, 60% of their time needs to be billable. That leaves about twenty hours a week for employees to do important tasks that don’t generate income, like making phone calls, checking emails, or attending meetings.
The reality is that most agencies struggle to get their billable ratio over 40% because their time is frequently eroded by ad hoc “this will just take a minute” jobs for clients. Tracking time accurately helps everyone understand where all the time is going so they have better control of their days. As your team gets smarter about their time utilization, clients will notice that results are delivered on time and within budget, while your team will be happy because they are not losing any hard-earned revenue.
Adding time to an invoice
Now that you’ve tracked your time, it’s time get paid. Select the Billing tab in your project. Select Add Invoice. Any logged time on a project will be available in the unbilled section. Simply drag your time entry and drop it onto your open invoice to add your billable time. Click into your invoice and select to export to one of our integrations or PDF, HTML, or Excel format.
Make sure your team isn’t snowed under
For many teams, working on multiple projects is the norm. When all members of a team work across many different projects, it can become very difficult to see if someone is overworked or doesn’t have enough to do. For some team members, work may be piling up, and others might only have a few small tasks on each project.
That’s where the workload report comes in. Workload allows you to compare totals of estimated time against logged time on all tasks assigned to a person across all projects. This snapshot of assignments on every project shows you exactly how responsibilities are distributed.
See your team’s workload across all projects and companies
Select Everything in the top menu and select the Workload tab. Sort your site-wide workload by User, Company or Project. Dig deeper by using the filters. For example, you can filter by a specific user in a specific timeframe, search by keyword, and then save the filter to share with your team. All of the data you collect can be turned into a PDF for a future report.
“The time tracking tools have definitely refined our understanding of internal time commitments and how we can effectively respond to them. Before Teamwork, important work just fell between the cracks, and we couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t getting done.” Traffic Jam Media on time tracking
Work Smarter, Increase Productivity and Increase Profitability
Time tracking is made a whole lot easier with our desktop timer app. This app will be your go-to tool for tracking any task, from a specific item on Teamwork Projects (which can be synched automatically) or answering email. Keep it open on your desktop for a fast and accessible way to track your tasks.
Create recurring tasks for daily admin duties like checking emails, instant messages, client calls, or meetings, and start timing these tasks. You’ll be surprised how much time is taken up by these seemingly quick jobs. By allocating and tracking time for these tasks, you’ll work through them quickly and be able to focus on the bigger picture.
“Teamwork.com has without a doubt helped us increase revenue by saving time. Wasting 10 minutes searching for an email may not seem like much, but when it happens to each person several times a day over 20 days in a month, that’s a huge loss. With Teamwork Projects, our time isn’t evaporating anymore on little distractions like that. We know exactly what we’re billing for.” Beanstalk Internet Marketing on time tracking
The benefits of tracking time in Teamwork Projects are huge, from a more focused team to increased profitability. If you don’t know where your time goes each day, then you’ll never know what needs to be adjusted so you can be more productive.
Experiment with time tracking for one working day using either our free Timer App or the in-app task tracking features outlined above. You’ll be amazed at how much time you can recapture simply by becoming more aware of precisely how it’s used each day.