There are two great misconceptions about timetracking:
- First, that timesheets are for lowly employees only, and beneath CEOs or senior managers.
- Second, that timesheets are mostly a compliance monitoring tool and, by nature, a hostile concept.
Both has changed and with process mining no longer being optional to stay competitive, timetracking for CEOs deserves a second look. So, don’t worry about what you must do to complete a timesheet. Ask what an automated timesheet can do for you: Here are our 5 best answers.
We’ve all been there: you shut down the computer, you sigh deeply and you are wondering what exactly happened over the last 12 hours. The day is gone and you feel you accomplished nothing. Worse, you cannot even remember all the little distractions that just kept coming at you and hijacked your day.
Consider this confession from the CEO of a high-flying, Canadian tech startup:
I’m unable to name just 4 projects that I deliberately and significantly contributed to over the last four weeks. I’m just randomly putting out fires and what frustrates me the most is, I can’t improve what I do, or reassign priorities, if I – literally – don’t know what I’ve been doing for weeks on end.
while many senior managers know that feeling, the irony is that hardly any of them tackle this issue as they would any other challenge in their business:
- Recognize there’s a problem
- Collect the data
- Review the data
- Implement necessary measures
What good is our ambition to plan out the day Elon Musk-style in 5 minute-intervals, if we cannot even give a report on yesterday? What value is there in an attempt to schedule out exactly what you want to do, if there is no underlying data that lets you make a qualitative assessment of your efficiency in the first place? And how can you defend anything you do, if all you rely on is your intuition that this or that type of meeting, call or whatever else you’re doing as a CEO is, in fact, the best use of your time for the company?
As managers, we wouldn’t allow that approach in any other context. Only what’s measured gets managed for well. (Automated) timesheets are an obvious solution.
Senior managers, like academics, often object to the idea of timetracking by pointing out that their productivity does not correlate in any way with the time invested in a certain task:
The call was cancelled and I had two unplanned hours by myself, which I basically spent looking out the window. When I was done, it had all come together and I had a crystal-clear picture in my head of how we would roll out the campaign.
Precisely because visionaries, artists and intellectuals often come up with the greatest ideas when they allow their minds to wander, there is a strong argument why CEOs should maximize such time slots. And this can be accomplished, you guessed it, by eliminating inefficiencies in other areas.
What if you didn’t have to hope for the incidental cancellation of a call, but you were able to rely on rock-solid, irrefutable data that lets you take deliberate action? If that sounds attractive, (automated) timetracking might just be the solution for you.
As the CEO, you probably don’t lack ideas for what you could, in theory, delegate to your team. Assign one task to another person and, sure enough, something else will make its way on your desk.
The challenge, then, is to find out the priority in which should delegate your work. Because let’s be clear: even the most-principled delegator can recount stories, where something, somehow made it into her task list, even though it should have been tackled by a member of her team.
The problem lies in our systematic underestimation of the things that reach the CEOs desk, even though they shouldn’t. Again, this is where (automated) activity tracking and process mining helps, because it lets you quantify in very simple ways all the things on which you spend your time. And that’s a solid base for delegation.
The classic understanding of time tracking is that its sole purpose is to prevent employees from wasting their time at the expense of the company. But let’s be clear: any person can just as well waste other people’s And as the CEO, you probably encountered many situations where you terminated a meeting or a call, because it didn’t justify a further investment of your time.
It is obvious, therefore, there’s value not only in tracking what you do, but also who you do it with. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re tracking that information to lay blame on others. But who can deny there’s value in improving our collaboration as a group, by collecting and analyzing data on the ways in which teams form, what they work on and how they do it.
And for the CEO, with whom everyone wants to get facetime, that information is of particular relevance. Manage others better. And as a result, your team will know that you appreciate the time they get with you even more.
CEOs are tough cookies. And while shareholders, boards and managers are becoming increasingly aware that mental health and fitness of the company leaders is both at risk and worth protecting, in practice, it’s as hard for CEOs as for anyone else to maintain healthy routines and find the right balance between work and leisure.
Enter time tracking. Who says we should exploit our activity data solely for the benefit of the company? Solely to improve the bottom line and optimize for “executive time”, so that we can devise that next, grand strategy that will make our shareholders more money?
It is just as legitimate to use process mining to one’s own, personal advantage. Eliminate time-wasting habits, kill inefficiencies in your workday, and get to go home – or to the gym – on your own terms. Increase your productivity by a lot and split the difference between the business and your own health & happiness.
Don’t deprive yourself of mining your own workflows, just because you think that CEOs are above. It’s quite the opposite: hardly any other group can benefit as much, personally, from keeping track of their time.
Wether if it is about lifestyle & health, productivity in general or financial metrics related to the way you spend your time – massive gains can be had, if you engage with your activity data.