Thursday 3 February 2022

On the benefits of accounting for the time spent on project tasks

When at trainings I am asked about how you can develop the skill of assessing the complexity of tasks, I talk about 2-3 simple techniques that allow anyone to take the first steps in assessing the complexity of tasks and quickly move into the category of good employees.

Who is a good employee? For me, it's a predictable employee. I promised to do the task today before lunch and did... and at the same time implemented all the requirements for the result of the task.

So the article will talk about one of these techniques - accounting for the time spent.

When I talk about the fact that I have been writing down daily since 2003 where I spent my working time, as a rule, the following questions are asked:

  • What's the point of all this?
  • How much time do you spend writing down how much time you've spent?
  • With what accuracy is time recorded?
  • What software product do you use to account for the time spent?
  • I will answer all these questions consistently.

What's the point of all this?

Let's say you spend most of your time working on projects. At the same time, project managers involve you in assessing the forecast of the complexity of tasks. How do you do that? Most often, you remember a similar task and try to remember how much time you spent on it. But memory fails us... It's almost impossible to remember something you didn't focus on. What if you keep records of the time spent on tasks? You do not need to remember anything - just look into the records and find the right figure.

The second reason is that from time to time I want to understand where my time goes, how much an hour of my work actually costs, how to increase my effectiveness and earn more per unit of time? If there are records of time spent, they can be analyzed and draw some conclusions, and then think over a new strategy to increase your productivity and the cost of your hours.

How much time do you spend writing down how much time you've spent?

I definitely did not measure, but I am sure that no more than 10 minutes a day, while creating from one to ten records on tasks. If there is only one recording, I spend less than one minute on it.

With what accuracy is time recorded?

Here everything is simple - with an accuracy of 10 minutes.

What software product do you use to account for the time spent?

Now I use Easy Projects, because it is an enterprise product for project and task management. I downloaded myself a mobile version of Easy Projects and, when I don't have a laptop at hand, I use it.

And now I will answer the fifth question: how many years have I developed this habit in myself?

In fact, a couple of months lasted and the habit became such that if I did not write down how much time I spent on work tasks, I could not fall asleep :)

By the way, recently I became interested in how well I predict labor costs and how well I know how to keep my word on the promised deadlines. I picked up the statistics for ten years and calculated: the result surprised and pleased me. I fell asleep that day calmly :)

Happy dreams and good luck in forming good habits!

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