Resurgence of the Time Sheet: Why You Should Write Down Your Workday Activities

One day I walked into my boss's office and said, " I think all staff should do a time sheet, including you, from now on." I definitely surprised her but the results of this request certainly got the attention of all of our staff.

I work for an email marketing software and services firm. I am currently wearing my third hat within this firm. We have been under a 'massive spring cleaning' for about six months. We have new staff, new websites and new tasks. I work in the Marketing/Send Service departments where I have specific tasks and responsibilities but often I take on various new tasks. I began to wonder if my productivity was affected by the quantity and variety of tasks I was working on within a single workday. This uncertainty, lead to my request of implementing the use of time sheets to my boss. In past careers, I had experienced the use of time sheets as well as time clocks and I was quick to remember how a sense of efficiency as well as commitment went with this practice.

I printed off a weekly calendar with time slots. Each time I switched between my tasks I documented it. Often I was multitasking ? deleting spam and updating paper work at same time. I was amazed how my little squares for each hour block could not hold my description of tasks being completed. Often lunches were consumed while updating a mailing list or proofreading new copy for our new website. In my job, I am expected to stay on top of market trends and ideas ? but in my Inbox I have a lonely folder of 180 unread newsletters and articles. Why? Our company found the answers in our timesheet and you will too.

After tracking our actions for three weeks within our company, we were beginning to see how unacknowledged work time, with simple documentation of the five minutes here and ten minutes there (in an eight-hour work day you only have 48 instances to have 10 mins) can add up and was affecting productivity as well as our bottom line. Below are the results we found from keeping time sheets.

1) We work too much overtime.

2) Committed staff took on various tasks to get the job done but an individuals' main job was not always the largest percentage of their daily activity. The sub-tasks assigned consumed more than 40% of workday time on average.

3) Customer oriented activities are heavy time consumers in a workday. Good companies survive on their personal contact and relationships with customers but we were not accounting for the time it took to conduct basic courtesy emails and phone calls.

4) Sometimes when an issue occurs within the workplace it requires the abilities of other staff, which then was taking away from their current assigned tasks.

5) Holidays and days off for a staff member lead to responsibilities being spread amongst other staff. A common occurrence though is to put in overtime before time off and then once returned in order to make up for time away from the office to return to your regular pace.

This activity has allowed us to recommend as well as implement some changes within our company, some included: Undertaking a systemized process of reviewing individual tasks and actually reassigned some responsibilities to different staff members. We also recognized that we needed to review the fee structure in certain scenarios to warrant the specialized attention we can provide to our customers.

All employees and boss/owner would benefit from doing a time sheet of tasks, not only to learn more about how you spend your time at work but learn to be accountable to yourself for the variety of tasks and activities that you do in a day.

Julie MacLean is a marketing manager with MailWorkZ. MailWorkZ is an innovative company focused on developing effective emarketing tools. With products like Broadc@st's Email Marketing Software and services like ezTrackZ online ad tracking, and the newest addition, Black List Monitor, thousands of MailWorkZ customers have a suite of products to help increase market share, revenue and profits, as well as improve their customer relationships.

For more information on products or services offered at MailWorkZ, please visit

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