Time Tracking for Creative Teams: 5 Tips for Success
Having a team of creative people is amazing. They will always come up with the most unexpected and astonishing solutions to problems. Besides, their talents make a valuable contribution to the growth of your business.
However, where there are creative people, there’s always creative chaos. When caught up in the process of creating, such people have trouble tracking time. As a result, they can be late with projects and often miss deadlines, which can have serious consequences.
That’s why if you want your team to be both creative and productive, it’s essential to help them effectively track time. And here are a few suggestions, how to do that successfully.
1. Make Time Management a Habit From Day One
Time tracking starts from getting your entire team on board. It is crucial to communicate the importance of time management from the beginning, right after hiring each team member.
Dedicating your staff to time management from their first day also positively affects their job satisfaction and motivation. A survey of 40 school teachers has reported that 88% of them performed their duties more efficiently thanks to pre-planning and scheduling.
What should you do to make time tracking a habit from day one?
These recommendations might help:
- create a comprehensive guide on how to track time at work
- encourage your creative team to report on their performance
- create a daily schedule for your team
It’s also a great idea to communicate your company’s commitment to time management on the recruitment stage. This way, you’ll only attract candidates who share your respect for deadlines and time tracking.
2. Talk with Each Team Member about Their Time Tracking Needs
The trick with teaching your creative team time management is not to force it onto them. Surely, you will introduce them to some time-tracking rules from the beginning, but it’s better to give them space and time to learn.
While they get better at time tracking, you need to show your support for their efforts. You can invite each team member to discuss their time tracking needs and let them voice their concerns. General time tracking rules are good, but they might not work for everyone. You don’t want to strip your creative employees of their freedom – it’s what powers their creativity.
3. Outline Projects with Deadlines in Mind
To help your creative employees get better at time tracking, you should also reconsider how you plan your projects. The problem with many teams is that they focus on the end goal and overlook the importance of deadlines. But for the project’s success, both factors are crucial.
So, try to plan your projects with deadlines in mind and create a more detailed project schedule. Here are some recommendations:
- Start with project goals. Break down your entire project into meaningful objectives and assign them to your team members.
- Set the final deadline. Determine the date/time when the final result of the project should be delivered. Discuss with your team if the delay is allowed and how much extra time they have in case of an emergency.
- Create the project timeline. Create a separate deadline for each project objective and get your team on board.
If you have to manage several projects at once, prioritize those that are more urgent. It’s also important to communicate with your team throughout the project. They should have every opportunity to discuss deadlines with you and get help if needed. After all, project deadlines often get skipped because of poor communication.
4. Provide Education and Training
If you want your creative team to learn how to manage time properly, education is always the best option. They should have access to various resources for time tracking to get the necessary skills and understand the importance of time management.
First, regular talks with your team members that we mentioned earlier can help set their minds on improving their time tracking skills. You can also help them find the necessary tools and techniques that would work for them.
Next, provide your team with the necessary resources for additional reading. You can send these resources via a Slack chat or as a weekly newsletter. It’s also a great idea to encourage your team to share the resources on time tracking they find inspiration.
Lastly, organize corporate training. Invite a time management coach who would give a lecture on the importance of scheduling and share valuable time tracking strategies. You can also set up a workshop during which your team will be able to practice their knowledge.
During the pandemic, you can also purchase your team an online course on time management. This way, they can acquire this important skill at their own pace and from the comfort of their own homes.
5. Introduce Time Tracking Tools
Time tracking only gets effective when you have the tools for it. Your creative team can be the best at time management, but if they have to do a lot of tasks that could be automated, they lose the time they could spend on something else.
That’s why, if you want your team members to get better at time management, you should supply them with different tools that would help them plan their day. This toolkit can include the following solutions:
- project management software
- task management tools
- collaboration tools
- mind maps
- trackers and calendars
Ask your team which tools they would like to have to manage their time better. Analyze the tasks they do daily and select those that can be simplified. After all, time management is about working smart, not hard.
Flowlu lets you track time per each task, set custom hourly rate and bill customers based on time spent.
It can be pretty tough for a creative team to learn time tracking, and you should allow them to do that at their own pace. Meanwhile, make sure they have all the tools and resources needed to improve their time management skills.
If you’re in a hurry, here’s the recap of what we’ve touched upon in this article:
- make time management a habit from day one
- help each member find the best way to learn time management
- outline projects with deadlines in mind
- provide education and training opportunities
- ensure your team has access to time-saving tools
Your main task is to get all the members of your creative team on board about the importance of time tracking. That’s why communication is essential. When each team member understands the impact of deadlines, they will be more committed to improve their time tracking habits and get more efficient with their work.
About the author: Diana Adjadj is a content manager and editor. She is also a freelance time management coach passionate about helping teams become planning gurus. In her spare time, Diana enjoys attending psychology classes and jogging.