As a business owner, have you ever considered setting up a time budget? If you want to gain more time in your day to make your business more productive, you have to be able to set effective schedules that give over specific amounts of time to each task.
But how do you set up a time budget and how can is it beneficial to how a business is run?
In this article, we will look to answer these questions and many more.
What is a time budget?
A time budget is simply a way a business, it’s managers and staff can schedule and manage their time.
Advantages of time budgeting for small and medium-sized businesses
There are many advantages to time budgeting for businesses. These include:
a. Finishing more work on-time
Being unable to finish work on time is common in most organizations. This most often happens due to a failure to estimate the amount of time required to complete the task. However, if the team maintains a balanced time budget, they will find it far easier to complete any task within any deadline.
b. Consistent work quality while avoiding rushing
Almost all of us know the story of the hare and the tortoise. Apart from learning patience and steadiness, the story teaches us that if you can make the best use your time, you can achieve any goal. Time budgeting allows businesses to set realistic time frames that staff can meet without reducing their quality of work.
c. Organize work according to priority level
It can be difficult to figure out which task is important for us at any specific time. With time budgeting you can set more important tasks as higher priority and ‘budget’ more staff time for their completion.
Tips for time budgeting
If you are looking to implement time budgeting for your business, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier to manage:
a. Know your staff’s strengths and weaknesses
Each member of staff will have a different pattern of work. Some will be quick learners while others will have excellent managerial qualities. Some will be fast workers and others will have a more systematic approach to performing a task.
Setting up a time budget will require a good understanding of each staff member and their strengths and weaknesses. Speak to team leaders and discuss the traits of all employees. Organise them into teams that complement each other and can perform a task to a specific level within a specific timescale.
b. Break bigger tasks into smaller segments
In business you can often get big things done a little bit at a time. Trying to budget time for large projects can be impossible but setting up time budgets for smaller tasks is often far easier. Break tasks up into manageable chunks that you can set adequate amounts of time aside for.
c. Keep a record of progress
It can be hard to track progress throughout a busy workday. If you want to get the most from your time budget, you will need to be able to analyse performance. Have a thorough method of recording time management. A good time-tracking software, like the one we provide here at Papershift, can provide valuable real time insights into how time is used in your business and allow you to set up an effective time tracking budget.
d. Analyse previous data
Before setting up a time budget for your business, it’s crucial to observe and have a clear conception of how time is spent on work tasks. You need to figure out which activities needs more time, and which ones need less. Having a time tracking app (like the one we provide (see above)) can be a real time saver and will provide large quantities of real-time data to analyse.
e. Perform a time audit to see how you currently spend your time
If you don’t have a large amount of data to go on, you could set up a working time audit (see our article on working time audits) to record how your business spends its time. Similar to how you would when you are undertaking a financial audit a time audit will force you to look at how every minute of your time is spent.
Steps for setting up a time budget
Here are a few steps you could follow to set up a time budget for your business:
- Categorize business time. Sort your time into different work-based areas and set out how much time you roughly need to spend on each as a percentage of your overall working hours.
- Review the time spent on tasks. Look over where your business is investing time and make notes about where you are satisfied, where you want to see change, and how you want to see the change play out.
- Evaluate time spent on tasks. Think about what matters most for your business. Rank where you are currently investing time from most important to least important. Think, what do you definitely need to complete and what would you not miss if it was taken out of the time allotment?
- Set up your time budgets: Now you have a list of tasks by priority, you need to set up how much time you want to budget for each. Carefully assess staffing levels and attribute resources accordingly
- Restructure the working schedule. Allow the time audit to guide your time budgeting schedule. Make space for the things that matter to the business and are essential for its running. Begin to remove the things that don’t matter.
Time management for any business can be a real chore. Making sure, enough resources are available and enough time has been given to a task is often time-consuming in itself. But with the effective use of time budgeting, it doesn’t have to be insurmountable.
- Clock in and out from browser
- Time tracking via Phone & Tablet app
- View & approve time records online
- Export timesheets to payroll
- View & approve staff vacation requests
- Overview of employee availability & absences