Time is the only resource in life that is equal for everyone, and it’s the only element you can’t get more of. So how can you make sure you’re getting the highest return possible on the time you and your teammates spend?
Looking into some simple statistics about how time is spent in the workplace can be shocking. For instance, did you know that employees are, on average, only productive for 2.8 hours a day? Annually, companies spend $37 billion on unproductive meetings. These statistics don’t bode well for your organization.
If you’re looking to pursue new milestones in your company and optimize your success in reaching them, you must measure your time well. We discuss this measurement in our ebook, The Arootah Success Formula.
Properly tracking and measuring time is both your responsibility as a leader and the best way to get the highest possible return on the time you have. Here are six ways to measure your time to get the highest return.
- ROTI (Return on Time Invested)
To begin measuring time, you must first understand what your priorities are. If you know your priorities and their weighted order, you must spend your weighted time there to get the highest return. This is where you will get the highest ROTI (Return on Time Invested).
The formula for ROTI is:
Impact / Resource = Return
In the ROTI formula, impact refers to your progress towards your goal. The greater the impact, the higher this number is. For example, if your goal is money, then the more money you make per hour, the higher the return on your time. Money is the impact, the numerator, and time is the resource, the denominator.
If you are looking at two jobs and one pays you $100 per hour, and the other pays you $1 per hour, all else equal, you would prioritize the $100 per hour job over the $1 per hour job. This is a simple example, but all return formulas operate in this manner.
$100 Impact / 1 hour Resource = Return 100. Of course, this is better than $1 / 1 hour = 1. 100 vs. 1. The formula is as simple as that. Based on ROTI, you should choose the first job.
- Forecast / Actual Time
This is time planned for an actual vs. actual time spent. It indicates whether time estimates are accurate and/or accountable. This is, of course, a budget vs. actual analysis, except that budgets are usually dollar-based measurements. In this case, we are using it for a much more valuable commodity, time.
At Arootah, we measure the time each employee or consultant forecasts spending on an identified priority versus the actual time they spend on it via a time tracking software. This tells us two things. First, it tells us whether the individual spent the time as planned, and second, it tells us whether that time was sufficient to allow the individual to complete the priority. If you aren’t completing your priorities, you should first ask yourself: Did I invest my time in them?
Time is your most valuable resource, and you need to spend it on your highest priorities. If you don’t do that, then, of course, you won’t get anything done. If you spend your budgeted time on your priorities and still don’t get them done, you must ask yourself some other questions. You should begin by asking yourself about your different intrinsic resources, such as energy (did you have enough energy to get it done?), discipline (did you have enough willpower to get it done?), and focus (did you have enough focus to get it done without distractions?).
These intrinsic resources (time, energy, discipline, and focus) are all crucial resources that you must measure in order to manage them. To do so, you must develop and depend on a considerable amount of mindfulness.
- Cycle Time
Cycle time is important for helping you predict the length of certain tasks. If you do a task every day (as if on a cycle), you should understand how much of your time that task requires. This understanding can help you project how long it will take you to complete similar tasks when scheduling time in the future.
- On-Time Completion Rate
Projects Completed on Time vs. All Projects
There are various versions of this. This information helps you determine whether or not you are taking deadlines seriously.
Keeping track of which projects you complete on time is valuable information. If you identify a consistent pattern of missed deadlines, you need to do some further digging to determine any issues with the project at hand. Is time allocation the problem? Are you not assigning adequate resources to the project? Get to the root of the issue to prevent missed deadlines in the future.
This forward-looking measurement helps your team identify, on both a micro and macro level, where they need to spend time to accomplish a goal.
Timelines should be transparent on both the macro and micro scales. Everyone involved in a project should be conscious of the timeline.
Furthermore, employers should make employees aware of the company’s long-term goals, such as their one-year, five-year, and ten-year organizational goals. This awareness gives employees an increased sense of direction and purpose.
- Gantt Chart
A Gantt Chart is a series of horizontal lines that shows the amount of work done or production completed in a certain period of time in relation to the amount of time planned for those periods.
The vertical axis shows tasks performed, and the horizontal access shows time intervals (i.e., months). Gantt charts can also help organizations identify the interdependency of multiple activities (aka the precedence network). Using the chart, you can easily see if one activity is delayed and how it impacts the other activities.
The Bottom Line
Properly tracking and measuring time is both your responsibility as a leader and the best way to get the highest possible return on the time you have.
Time measurement and management may sound like a simple concept, but many organizations overlook its importance. Reassessing how your organization spends time is crucial to maximizing your return on it.
If you’re looking to further optimize your organization for success, download The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula, here.
In what ways do you currently measure time in your organization? Let us know in the comments!