Client Question: For best productivity, shouldn’t we measure all the time actually spent and compare to the time we planned to spend?
Answer: No. It works against you. Try this instead…
As a productivity coach with years of hands-on experience, here’s what I’ve learned about time monitoring and tracking:
Do NOT track and reconcile every minute of work—not with your team, not with yourself.
True, time and money are similar:
- Both get spent by people
- Both need some form of budgeting
But what happens to a company when every dollar is tracked down to the penny, all the time?
What if every expenditure must be approved or justified to a manager? Does productivity improve? No—it almost always gets worse, because morale declines. [Exception: when cash is the key factor for short-term survival, you have to monitor it closely during turnaround.]
The same is true for individuals. The best personal budgets have both fixed and flexible components, for two reasons:
- People have feelings. Good psychology is an essential part of great productivity. Too much constraint kills morale.
- Agility and versatility are essential. You need room to respond intelligently, intuitively, to new opportuntities and threats as they arise.
But you don’t want either of those to get out of control. So how to balance them?
Be as organized as necessary—no more, no less.
DO budget time appropriately and get excellent feedback on its use.
BUT a “natural feedback loop”