The Magic of Time Tracking When Resources Are Limited

By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
May 3 2023 read

Knowledge Exchange is a weekly series of educational articles that we encourage you to share and discuss with your colleagues and network. This month, we’re offering advice for making the most of limited human capital.

If your team has been shrinking lately, you may feel pressured knowing your resources are stretched thin. You need tools to help you problem-solve and unlock quick fixes. Good data can be just the thing, and there’s one failproof way to get it: with consistent and detailed time tracking. 

Time logs are not just a tool for completing payroll — they can tell you a lot more than how long your team members have worked. You might be able to leverage time-tracking data you already have. Here’s what that data needs to look like to be most useful to you in a lean period.

Why You Need Granular Time Tracking — And How To Achieve It

Time tracking may have been frustrating or of limited use to you in the past if you were trying to use outdated, paper-based or manual timesheets. And even if you know you can use Accelo for time tracking, you may not have fully implemented its capabilities yet. Here’s how and why to make the shift.

To get the most from time tracking, you need to solve the three biggest problems businesses face in trying to get a good read on how employees spend their time. Most time logs are incomplete, inaccurate and too broad.

Addressing these pain points can help you make up for limited resources and — bonus! — make your employees less distracted. Let’s discuss how.

Challenges 1 and 2: Incompleteness and inaccuracy

The first two issues are common because of normal human oversight. If you’ve ever tried to log every minute of your time, you know how hard it can be to remember to note what you’re doing, much less do so in detail. Especially if your employees are taking on more work to make up for resource limitations, they may get to the end of the day and simply forget every little thing they’ve done. This isn’t good for them or you, as it makes time logs unreliable and almost futile.

Challenge 3: Lack of specificity

Broad time logs can give you a sense of what’s going on, but they won’t help you pinpoint the inefficiencies that could hold your team and business back. Plus, how much of the time that isn’t being accounted for is billable? If your team is in transition or you’ve experienced high turnover lately, you need to know more than general trends about large blocks of time. Otherwise, your decisions about how to reallocate resources will be more based in hope than data. 

Solution: Automated and integrated time tracking

All three of these challenges can be addressed by moving from manual to automated time-tracking methods. Tracking your team’s time in the moment as they complete work makes the resulting time logs more complete, accurate and granular, giving you the power to recover billable time and even identify bottlenecks. Furthermore, having time attached to tasks, projects, retainers and more can make billing a breeze.

Believe it or not, committing to a better time-tracking approach can even help you address the universal problem today’s workers contend with: non-stop distractions. Inc. reports that only 12.4% of workers contribute more than six hours per day to tasks, and just 53.3% of that time is productive. Like many bad habits, a lack of focus is something we can correct once we become aware of it. Reliable data about time tells the real story about how people spend their days, and they may be surprised.

You may already be familiar with Accelo’s built-in timers and auto-generated reports, but have you seen what they’ve helped service businesses accomplish? Read TradiePad’s story to see how automated time tracking can improve visibility, prevent scope creep and — in this case — increase productivity by 30%.  


Need help getting up and running with time tracking in Accelo?
Don’t forget: We built our Expert Services program to help you customize the platform to your needs.


The Value of Precise Time Data for a Lean Team

There are abundant operational advantages to investing in time tracking. For a lean team, these are even more beneficial.

Successfully implementing accurate and detailed time tracking now can:

  • Give you the evidence you need to justify raising your rates, relieving some of the financial pressure you may be experiencing.
  • Make your employees more aware of how they use their time and more likely to increase individual productivity.
  • Help your leadership see disparities between estimated and actual time for tasks — and where new positions or processes are most needed.
  • Reduce the stress surrounding time logs, helping to prevent burnout and keep your employees motivated and engaged. 

Getting time tracking right can feel like you’ve suddenly discovered a magical element that makes running and growing a business so much easier.

The Lean Team Strategy: A Guide to Thriving for Under-Resourced Service Businesses - Download Now

Think your colleagues would find this article valuable? Head over to LinkedIn to share and discuss how you’re responding to resource limitations.

Want to see how accurate time data can help your team do more with less? Sign up for a free trial or schedule a demo.


About the Author


Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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