Every other week – at least – somebody tells me that they “tried working at home once but it was too distracting.” I smile, nod my head, and usually reply something along the lines of, “Yes, it can be tough!”
What I don’t usually disclose is that VERY early on in our business I had the same issue. Very quickly I realized I needed to implement a time tracking system to hold myself accountable.
At first my time tracking was purely client tasks. I’m embarrassed to admit that I used a notebook and wrote every task I worked on and for how long. Within a month I took my tracking to spreadsheet form and developed a pretty polished system of tracking my time – and income.
Recently I have also begun tracking the time spent on internal tasks. Why? Productivity.
I would like to make more and work less. Sounds like a dream, yea?
I’ve been reading “Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less” by Sam Carpenter, and I’ve realized that I (and MANY other small business owners) need to implement systems into our businesses that allow us to make more money – even when we’re not in the office.
Why should you care about this book – or about time tracking?
How about this: 12 years before the 4th publication of this book, Sam Carpenter was working 20 hours per day, sleeping in his office, and performing many of the internal tasks (for the business he OWNED) himself. Was he the only employee? NO! He had a decent sized staff. Unfortunately, they were constantly winging it.
Faced with an upcoming payroll that he knew he wouldn’t be able to cover, Carpenter knew something had to change.
And change he did. He began implementing systems and processes for EVERY aspect/portion of his business, and in the 12 years since, his work week has reduced itself (to TWO hours a WEEK!) while he has become a millionaire.
So again, why should you care?
Unless you are time tracking the various tasks you perform within your business, you will not have a clue where to start when developing your own systems.
Getting back to time tracking for my own efficiency, there were weeks when the amount(s) I was invoicing were extremely low. Yes, I was using Elance’s Tracker and Freshbooks’ timer, however because we don’t bill in blocks of time there was a LOT of lost time. The calls to my out-of-state family, the mid-day jaunts to the grocery store, time spent on Facebook – they all added up! I needed to be held accountable for the time I was/wasn’t working, and keeping track in a spreadsheet was the way to do it.
Today I’m also keeping track of the time I spend working INSIDE my business. By this I mean working on our Infusionsoft campaigns, social media marketing (including this blog article), bookkeeping and interviews. We are looking to expand our team, and knowing where I am spending time will help me figure out who we need to hire first.
I want to be a small business owner who works 2 hours a week and makes millions. What about you?
If you’re like me, I have a tool to help you: OUR time tracking spreadsheet. To request your FREE copy of this Excel spreadsheet, please click HERE. In addition, if you need any help figuring out the Excel formulas used in the spreadsheet, please contact me.
Best wishes as you move forward with your time tracking!
With your success in mind,
Kim Sutton is the Managing Partner and Chief Everything Officer of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios. She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture.
An avid reader and passionate learner, Kim is constantly researching, studying and developing business improvement strategies. When it comes to client work, Kim especially enjoys helping her clients develop innovative marketing strategies and sales funnels, particularly when they are using Infusionsoft to automate all the heavy lifting. To find out how you can further develop your company’s marketing and automation strategies schedule a 1-hour Business Boost Strategy Session by clicking here.
In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband, Dave (her business partner), and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting, writing and playing video games.
Get a copy of Kim’s FREE guide, “10 Top Tools for Small Businesses” by clicking here.