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The Tech behind Time Tracking

The obsolete method of time tracking.
The obsolete method of time tracking.
David Haydon

Time and tools. It seems ever since the creation of the sundial, hourglass and water clock humans have tried to quantify and measure their productivity. These days employees and companies rely more on software than watches, but the problem remains: how do you maximize the utility of that device?

The one thing most people have to ask (but rarely do) when trying to use tools to organize themselves is “will this help me do work, or help me pretend to do work?” It’s the classic tool vs. toy debate.

Timesheets did the most to end this problem. You can’t really distract yourself with a timesheet. The issue with them however, was that they took up valuable worktime just to quantify said worktime.

Modern time tracking software is a step up from paper Timesheets and archaic Excel-based programs of yesteryear. Anyone who has worked in an office environment since the 1990's can attest to the productivity issues present when filling out and processing old versions: The repetition. The monotony of quantifying your workweek. The endless loss of productivity through transcription error.

Although modern time management software is meant to optimize payroll processing, identify costs and shorten the time it takes to clock in and out of work, there still exists the possibility of simple human error. In theory, if you can measure that a certain project or action typically takes a week to complete, you can then work to shorten that time frame. However, being able to chart the data, and being able to infer or adjust workflow in order to obtain results, takes trial and error.

One of the biggest issues with time-tracking software is the learning curve. Some training and familiarity is still required when using the software. The companies that vend time-management software typically tend to give out tutorials as a result.

GHG Corporation, one such company, gives an annual conference that involves guest speakers, training and updates to their current software. This year, their conference will be held at a resort in Galveston, Tx on April 23.

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