I have a personal hatred for timesheets. I think we all do. I know why they’re important and why we keep them, yet I always find myself putting them off. When I do get around to them, I get so frustrated with the level of detail required. So, here’s an idea: Ditch the timesheet.
But Evan, didn’t you just say they were important?
I did, but let’s think about what’s important. You want to know how much time you spent on which project or client, right? So, how about this? Ditch the timesheet and pick up a ball.
Set up a couple of bins by the door and label each one with the name of the project or client that you’re tracking. Twice a day, at lunchtime and closing, people toss a ball into the bin of the primary project they were working on (they can’t leave until they get it in — let’s improve that hand-eye coordination while we’re at it!) Then just count the balls in each. There’s your timekeeping done.
But what about hourly or minutely (is that a word) timekeeping?
First, read this article by Paul Graham on maker time versus manager time. We shouldn’t be multi-tasking. We should be working in half day blocks at least. Any less and you’ll lose at least 15-25% effectiveness. If it’s an email here or a phone call there, that’s OK. Just ignore capturing that time; it’ll balance out.
This does a couple of things: it gets the timesheet done on time, it forces you to work in half-day blocks, and it’s fun.
What do you think? Let me know below.