If you’ve ever used any of the dozens of methods currently available to track time at your marketing agency, you should know it was a complete waste of time (pun intended). Timesheets, stamps, Excel spreadsheets, plain manual time trackers and ‘fancy’ apps-based manual time trackers; they all fail.
You might be wondering what issue we could possibly have with time tracking. It allows marketers (and people in a wide variety of professions) to keep track of the time they devote to various tasks, clients and projects. This information is extremely useful in analyzing efficiency, planning and allocating resources, and calculating costs. Indeed, as a concept, time tracking is brilliant. Essential, even.
Realistically, however, most time tracking solutions are major time wasters – inaccurate tools to measure what they claim they can. Just what causes our strong aversion to nearly every time tracking tool on the market today? Glad you asked.
Why time tracking is usually nothing more than an empty promise
We’ve given a lot of thought to our stance on (most) time tracking software, and separated it into 3 main pitfalls we refer to as “traps.” These traps are unavoidable and inherent in the way most time tracking tools are built and used. Hopefully, by the time you read what’s behind our logic, you’ll come to the same conclusion we did:
#1 The momentum trap
Time tracking tools demand what is often in short supply when time is of the essence: Attention. Attention is what we simply can’t spare while we’re in our groove juggling tasks, tending to clients and hacking projects. Simply put, our brains are too preoccupied to remember to switch the time tracking device on and off in order to capture an accurate snapshot of our time management and allocation. Ultimately, the momentum trap causes the ‘tracking’ part to never materialize. Conversely, if you avoid the trap and remember to switch time tracking on and off, you’ll be taking yourself out of ‘flow’, abruptly cutting your thought process and repeatedly expending energy on something unrelated to work.
#2 The inaccuracy trap
Unless you are somehow able to muster up the laser focus necessary to consistently switch your manual time tracking solution on and off, your time tracking won’t be accurate. Think about your most recent workday: odds are, there was hardly any consecutive time period above one hour where you engaged in one single task. The result is that manual time tracking can never truly accurately reflect time allocation and management, since it can’t confirm what you are actually doing.
#3 The unnecessary process trap
We believe the effectiveness of anything can be measured – even abstract creative concepts. That said, many agencies divert countless resources into what can only be referred to as “unnecessary processes.” If you take a look at your marketing department or agency, you’ll surely be able to find one or two examples of unnecessary processes that do little to enhance productivity. The reason classic time tracking solutions fall under this category isn’t because they hold no intrinsic value. Rather, the insight they provide is golden. However, the maintenance involved in these time tracking solutions and their dubious accuracy instantly rob them of their value.
Is there any effective way to keep track of time and improve productivity?
At Ignitur, we know that efficiency is both attainable and measurable, but it takes an automatic solution. Our integrated time tracking solution is completely hands-free, and tracks time only when a user is actively engaged in a task or project. Time tracking on Ignitur only needs to be switched on once, by clicking on the record icon in the top right corner, as such:
Ignitur’s time tracking solution switches seamlessly from one project to another. This way, users and supervisors can gain real time insight as to both their time allocation and their work patterns.
See the screenshot below, showing how time tracking is reported:
If you decide to forgo time tracking at any point, you can always click the ‘stop’ icon at the very same spot the ‘record’ icon was:
This level of user friendliness is what was missing from most time tracking solutions. Ignitur not only offers marketers a platform to effectively manage their campaigns, but also provides insights into team productivity. Armed with this valuable information, you can manage your schedules more effectively, experience less waste or distractions, and of course – produce better results.