Time tracking apps have been hailed as a must-have tool for individuals who cannot handle their workload and other responsibilities efficiently on their own. Businesses and freelance professionals use time tracking apps to better monitor their workload and the time spent on each project.
However, many believe that time tracking apps are just giving us a false sense of productivity. So, do time tracking apps improve your productivity or do they simply give you the illusion of one?
Why using time tracking apps might improve productivity
- They give a clear image of how work hours are spent. Is it cat videos or data analysis?
A time tracking app helps provide quantitative reports on productivity. Not to mention the fact that knowing they’re being tracked deters people from engaging with activities they aren’t supposed to.
- They help monitor and adjust work practices so as to boost productivity.
Productivity reports issued by time tracking apps help employees get a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t in terms of time-efficiency. It also might help clarify what kind of productivity pattern might work best for each employee. In fact, these productivity patterns might encourage adjustments at an individual level to boost productivity.
- They help identify common time-wasters.
The expansion and popularity of social and other media take a lot of time and distract employees more than we dare confess. Time tracking apps are a wonderful way to keep track of what time wasters (emailing, meetings, responding to interruptions, social media) your employees are obsessed with.
Why using time tracking apps might be counterproductive
- They are not an actual incentive to be more productive.
People need more tangible and specific motivations to focus on being productive rather than going on a pinning binge at 2pm. Productivity is ultimately about work ethic and persistence, rather than any external, forced factor pushing you to work more diligently.
- They might take up too much time themselves.
Many time-tracking apps are quite complicated, which means that you have to spend too much time on configuring and logging time in them, leaving less time to actually be productive.
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- They may only track quantity, not quality.
Productivity is an elusive concept. It’s definitely quantifiable, but measuring productivity only in work hours doesn’t give us a representative idea of how much work has really been put into a project. You might have worked for 3 hours on a 400-word report, but if half the time you were checking your smartphone, the 3 hours spent probably do not translate into first-class work.
Time tracking apps that are simple to use might provide you with a sense of a productivity pattern. Using these apps might indicate during which hours you’re at your peak and which are the least productive, quality and quantity wise. However, solely relying on time tracking apps is to lose sight of what productivity is truly about: performing at the best of your capacity to produce quality work.
Ultimately, any time tracking app, whether free or paid for, can generally contribute to a productivity increase. In the end, a time tracking app will work if you’re willing to make it work.