Project and Task Tracking: A New Set of Tools to Monitor Project Teams with Kickidler →

Time Audit: Time Management in the Workplace

Time Audit: Time Management in the Workplace

In this article, you’ll find out how to conduct an effective time audit to gain insights into employees’ time management habits and identify areas for improvement.

Time management at work can be a difficult skill to master, no matter what job you have. We’re quite certain there have been times when you looked at the clock at the end of a workday and wondered in surprise where your time went. It’s rather common to feel like there’s simply not enough time in a workday to cross off every little task on your to-do list or that any semblance of control of your time is slipping away from you.

Time is a non-renewable resource, and it’s incredibly important to monitor how we’re managing it. If you’re seeking to get a handle on how you spend your workday and figure out how much of your time is likely getting wasted on unnecessary tasks, consider performing a time audit to uncover ways you could become more productive. 

Time Audit, and Reasons to Perform It

The problem with time management at work tends to lie in the gap between the way we think we spend our time and how we actually spend it. In its essence, a time audit is a comprehensive deep dive into how you’re really spending your time

You can carry out this type of audit by tracking your every activity throughout the day at work for a certain period of time. And then, once you see the trends in how you spend the majority of each day, you’ll find out exactly what you do in a day, how long certain tasks take, what your biggest bottlenecks in terms of time are and where you tend to get distracted. 

Time audits offer measurable and quantifiable data to form realistic productivity goals, optimize your schedule, remove low-value behaviors and tasks from your workday, and better reach your goals, both professionally and personally.

Benefits of a Time Audit

The benefits of a time audit can go a long way and include the following:

  • Reaching high-priority goals and targets. Goals could get left unfulfilled due to unrealistic or poor time allocation. An honest and unbiased outline of what you actually spend time doing instead of what you think you do will help you allocate time more in line with those goals and targets that you want to achieve.
  • Boosting productivity. Once you carry out a time audit, it will become easier for you to see your workday’s major “time wasters”. It could actually be rather terrifying how much time is wasted on irrelevant websites or social media feeds once you start tracking your time habits. Then it’s up to you to either change those behaviors of yours or better allocate your time to more productive tasks. 
  • Minimizing daily distractions. It’s hard to argue with the fact that constant minor interruptions are productivity killers. A time audit will help you see exactly how often you get distracted by shallow work tasks and block certain dedicated time for those routines so they don’t pull your focus during productive work sessions.
  • Planning a more efficient workweek. Knowing what your time is being spent on allows you to better organize your schedule so that you tackle the most important tasks first, maximize your productivity and reduce overall stress.
  • Improving your work-life balance. Keeping up with your wellbeing at work requires boundaries. Auditing your time helps you identify whether work is bleeding into your personal affairs too much. A well-done time audit can also aid you in dedicating more time for yourself so that you stay healthy and happy.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Do a Time Audit

To perform a successful time audit, you should be aware of the following five basic steps:

    Step 1: Determine Your Goals

A time audit will be of no use unless you know what you want your ideal day to look like and what your goals are. That’s why you need to clearly define what your goals for better time management are. Knowing what you want to achieve with a time audit will help you measure how successful you actually are. 

Setting goals that are realistic and attainable is key for a time audit to be successful. Instead of dreaming how all the distractions will magically be eradicated opt for goals like reducing the amount of time you spend on seemingly miniscule yet unproductive activities. 

    Step 2: Track Your Time Accurately

During a time audit you want to get an accurate record of where every minute of your worktime is going, and the record needs to be free from guesstimates, bias, and manual errors.

Sure, you can do this step manually, but we as humans aren’t designed to rigidly track everything we do on a daily basis. We display unintentional bias in the things we report, we miss and forget activities, and we simply can’t estimate time passing without constantly checking it, which can become tiring and annoying rather quickly. And since time audit relies heavily on data that is reliable and accurate, going the manual route might not be your best option.

The good news is, you can actually record all the time data you need automatically. A comprehensive time tracking software like Kickidler offers incredible accuracy with minimal manual effort, since it records everything you do at work on your PC. This way you can see exactly how much time you spend on certain tasks, projects or admin work, down to every app and website you use.

With less manual labor involved, you’ll actually have more mental space to focus on the work tasks that actually matter.

    Step 3: Analyze the Gathered Data

Now that you have an overview of what a typical day looks like for you, the next step is to look for patterns, such as identifying your peak productive hours and biggest time sucks. Some points to notice when analyzing your data include the instances when your time intentions and actual allocation get misaligned as well as the distractions that get in the way of you attending to priority tasks.

Try labeling your tasks in order of priority and spot all the time wasters or less valuable work-related activities that are distracting you from more important tasks. You could prioritize your tasks by their deadlines or, for example, by the direct impact they have on your clients, colleagues or the company as a whole. You might even notice that some of your tasks could be delegated entirely, or that mismatched chunks of your time each day are going to a similar task in a confused, chaotic way. 

    Step 4: Create a Time Management Plan

Once you assign priority to all your work tasks, it’s time to think about implementing a time management plan that will help you improve productivity and overall satisfaction with your job. 

Here, after you’ve identified and prioritized your important activities, try and allocate specific blocks of time in your workday schedule for each important task. You could even try and implement any productivity-boosting time management techniques, for example, timeboxing that we’ve covered in another recent article. 

At the same time, it’s important to make sure that you do not overcommit yourself and instead have realistic time frames for each task. A great help with staying organized comes in a form of various time management techniques such as the Pomodoro method or time blocking technique as well as numerous digital tools like calendar apps or task management software.

You should also schedule regular breaks and rest periods throughout your day, since it’s important to recharge and prevent burnout.

    Step 5: Evaluate the Results and Adjust Your Schedule

And finally, when your time audit is complete, you might be surprised with how you’re actually spending your time at work. 

If you notice that a certain category of activities takes up too much time, see if there are ways you can scale back or redistribute that time to better achieve your targets.

Here are two time audit exercises you could try:

  1. Write down all the activities you do during a workday and divide them into two categories, “time wasters” (times when you’re your least productive self, such as scrolling down social media or browsing online shops) and “high priority” (times when you’re concentrated on working towards accomplishing your goals or objectives, such as preparing for team meetings or conducting research).
  2. Do a realistic breakdown of a typical day. Now, consider what a perfect day at work would look like for you. Pinpoint all the differences and similarities between them.

Determine the changes you can make to a typical day to maximize your work hours, spend more time on high priority tasks and make the day look more like the ideal one you have in mind.

Tips for a Successful Time Audit

  • Start by defining clear goals for your time audit
  • Track the way you spend your time throughout the day as accurately as possible
  • Analyze the data you gathered and identify inefficient and time-wasting activities
  • Determine your priority tasks and keep your focus on what’s most important
  • Establish a schedule or routines that maximize your productivity

The key thing you need to keep in mind for your time audit to be successful is the importance of being honest with yourself and the determination to make necessary adjustments to improve your time management skills.

In Lieu of a Conclusion

If you want to optimize your productivity you simply need to be proactive and treat with care your most valuable resource – your time. And just because we can’t slow down the passage of time doesn’t mean we can’t figure out how to use it better. In order to be more productive and efficient at work, we need to know exactly where our working hours are going, and by doing a proper time audit you can work on creating a daily work schedule that suits your needs.

Good luck!

Kickidler Employee Monitoring Software

Alicia Rubens

Content Marketer

More Features of Kickidler

Here are some other interesting articles:

Best Remote Work Productivity Monitoring Tools

30 august 2022

reading time pictogram 5 minutes

8 Best DLP Software - Data Loss Prevention Solutions For 2024

01 january 2024

reading time pictogram 15 minutes

What is UBA and UEBA Software: Introduction to Behavior Analytics

23 january 2024

reading time pictogram 5 minutes

Does Employee Monitoring Boost Productivity or Kill Privacy?

16 december 2019

reading time pictogram 5 minutes

Top Black Friday Deals for Raising Productivity at Workspace

24 november 2022

reading time pictogram 17 minutes

Teramind vs Kickidler. What employee monitoring software fits your needs

05 december 2022

reading time pictogram 5 minutes

Top 10 Best User Activity Monitoring Software: Its Benefits and Available Tools

01 january 2024

reading time pictogram 5 minutes

Top 7 Process Mining Software of 2024

26 march 2024

reading time pictogram 10 minutes

How to Effectively Monitor Sales Team Performance Using CRM and Computer Monitoring Tool

21 april 2021

reading time pictogram 5 minutes

Top 14 Best Time Tracking Software Compared – Productivity in 2024

05 january 2024

reading time pictogram 15 minutes

Employee Surveillance & Bossware – What Exactly Are Employees Okay With?

04 august 2020

reading time pictogram 5 minutes

20 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Workplace Monitoring

09 august 2023

reading time pictogram 10 minutes

Track Website Usage – Why It’s Important to Know What Sites Your Employees Browse

10 february 2020

reading time pictogram 5 minutes

Leaking information to competitors and other sins of employees. How to tackle them with the help of Kickidler program

27 september 2018

reading time pictogram 5 minutes

Most Effective Ways Entrepreneurs Can Leverage Remote Teams

03 november 2022

reading time pictogram 5 minutes