“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” –Peter Drucker
2021 is just around the corner, and we couldn't be more excited to leave 2020 in the dust. With every new year comes a new batch of classic resolutions. We know the list well: eat healthier, exercise more, be more productive, and so on.
With so much to do and only one year to do it, how can you stay on top of things without continually saying, "where did the time go?"
Our advice to stay organized? Use a tool that helps you measure how and where your minutes go throughout the day. With a little help, you'll identify the activities that are misusing or wasting your time. Here are some tips on how to get organized and track your time to improve productivity in 2021:
First, time tracking can like X-ray vision for your projects. It lets you know if you're making money on the work you're doing or burning through cash.
"Of the various tracking apps I've tried, Harvest is my favourite," said Ryan Sweny, BitBakery's Director of Application Development. "
It is straightforward to use for the most common use cases and has little time-saving features like 'copy from yesterday' that I appreciate. It also has some more advanced features like project estimates, budgets, and invoices that can help keep things organized and provide insight to how the project is going."
Adding to the simplicity, you can use Harvest right from your browser with the Harvest Chrome Extension or even integrate it into your Google calendar. Asana, Basecamp, GitHub, Slack, and Jira are some of the many other integrations available for streamlining your workflow, and the mobile app gives you access to core features so you can still track time while away from your workstation. If you're looking for an easy way to track your time, check out Harvest to see how it could transform your productivity.
The tried and true notebook
Sometimes, no digital application can beat a good old-fashioned pen and paper. For our Head of Marketing, Alex Kinsella, this is precisely the case. "My calendar is my main way of blocking time to work on projects, but for day to day tracking, I put everything in my journal using the Bullet Journal system," said Kinsella. "It helps me track what I'm doing, what's coming up this week, next week, next month and beyond. It's one of the few things I've tried that has remained constant. It's been four years now and I can't keep organized without the process."
Are you looking for an excellent notebook for yourself or someone on your list? Check out the great selection from Phidon Pens in Cambridge. They even carry Elmire, Ontario made MacLellan notebooks.
The tomato timer
On track with old-fashioned strategies, consider trying the classic tomato timer, otherwise known as "The Pomodoro Technique." Invented in the early 1990s by developer, entrepreneur, and author Francesco Cirillo, he named the system "Pomodoro" after the tomato-shaped timer he used to track his work as a university student.
The methodology is simple: When faced with any large task or series of tasks, break the work down into short, timed intervals — called "Pomodoros" —that are spaced out by short breaks. These sessions train your brain to focus for short periods and help you stay on top of deadlines, and can even help improve your attention span and concentration.
This technique is excellent for creatives as you work in short sprints, making sure you're consistently productive. You also get to take regular breaks that bolster your motivation and keep you inspired.
Are you getting organized as a team? We recommend using Jira, a popular and powerful development tool mainly used for shipping software. Now, every software development team has a unique process, so Jira has endless options to customize your workflow to best plan, track, and release great software.
Customize your workflow by integrating Confluence for knowledge management, Bitbucket for development workflow, and hundreds of other developer tools for continuous integration and deployment. You can even streamline your work with automation!
Have a little one that has the potential to be the next project manager prodigy? Check out Jira Jr., the project management and issue tracking system made just for kids. Track chores, lego projects, and more to help your kid set good time-management habits young.
Who knows? Someday they could graduate to Jira to create user stories, plan sprints, distribute tasks, prioritize work, and even release software– all before their first day of high school.
Similar to Jira, Asana organizes work, so teams are clear about what to do, why it matters, and how to get it done. Perfect for teams, Asana sets up lists, timelines, and boards in a highly visual way that makes it easy to capture a project's scope at just one glance.
Lists make it easy to organize and assign tasks. Timelines help manage dependent, overlapping, and unscheduled tasks, and boards define each stage of work to see what's important and where things are getting stuck. From creative production and product development to making IT requests — Asana could be a great fit for your team.
There are only 24 hours in a day...
After a year of time being an illusion, we think it's time (no pun intended) to take back control. These tools could be one of the most important things to help you tackle your New Year's resolutions this year, as they can help you make more intelligent decisions about how to run projects, schedule your team, and even how you spend your day.
Want more food for thought? Check out local tech entrepreneur Mike Kirkup's TEDx talk on the impact of time for more great insights on how to make the most of your 24 hours in a day.