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Done well, time tracking provides powerful insights on how you run your business. Done automatically, you can free space for work that helps you run it better. Companies who value accuracy and efficiency are increasingly recognizing that the best time tracking apps are automatic. Here’s how these apps work and why they’re a cut above the rest.
What are automatic time tracking apps?
In a sentence, automatic time tracking apps seek to automate every aspect of traditional manual time tracking. The most advanced track everything you work on automatically and create accurate time sheets for you. You don’t have to start a timer or take notes – every detail is captured for you, so you can focus on your actual work without worrying about time tracking.
Automatic time tracking apps are a direct response to the startling inaccuracies of manual methods. Tracking every detail of your day accurately requires a huge amount of cognitive effort, which is almost impossible when you’re concentrating on a task. Instead, people often forget to stop timers and reconstruct their day from memory, ushering a huge amount of human error and guesstimation into their time logs.
It hardly needs to be said, but manual time tracking is also pretty annoying. It constantly interrupts your focus and requires constant input, quickly becoming a significant daily time drain. By adding a low-value, repetitive task into your day, you also have less space to perform the high-value deep work that boosts profits and employee satisfaction.
How do they work?
While it might sound sci-fi, automatic time tracking is actually extremely accessible and easy to use. In short, here’s how it works:
1. Enable tracking: download your automatic time tracking app of choice and turn on tracking when you’re ready to work.
2. Focus on your work: in the background, your automatic tracking app will record the time you spend in different work tools, websites, meetings, emails and GPS locations to a private timeline. You can take a look at this at any time.
3. Review your draft timesheet: your app looks at your tracked activity and uses AI to draft timesheet entries for each one. Nothing goes public until you say so – just review its drafts and approve them to log them to your public timesheet.
4. Analyze your performance: your AI can select the correct project different activities belong to, but you can also set intelligent tags to help break down exactly where you spend your time.
And that’s really it! No timers, no interruptions – get fully accurate time sheets with minimal effort.
What are the benefits?
Accurate time sheets
Compared to traditional manual methods, there is a much smaller margin for error. Since every aspect of your work day is meticulously recorded for you, you are less likely to misrepresent your time. Commonly overlooked billable details – like out-of-hours emails, travel, overrunning meetings and conferences – make it to your timesheet, ensuring you actually bill for all of your work.
Removes low-value admin
You hire people for their skills; not to track their time. By automating time tracking and timesheet creation, you are removing a perennial unproductive task that distracts employees and their managers from actual meaningful work.
Non-intrusive time tracking
High-input manual time tracking constantly interrupts your day, requiring you to manage timers and take notes. With automatic time tracking apps, you can be fully present in your flow. Dip into the app to review your activity or approve draft time sheets whenever it suits you. The whole idea is to spend as little time in the app as possible.
By expediting the whole timesheet creation process, automatic time tracking apps limit invoicing delays at the end of the month. You only need to spend a few minutes reviewing draft timesheet entries, so late time sheets become less of a bottleneck when it comes to actually getting paid.
Learn how you work
Automatic time tracking apps essentially hold a mirror up to the way you work, highlighting inefficiencies and distractions. You can see exactly how much time you spend individual tasks and project workflows, as well as the meetings, conversations and work apps that sink most of your time. Essential for making better project estimates and checking your own productive behaviors.