Monitor Time on Task for Efficient Time Management


Do you know that time on task has a serious effect on every aspect of your business? If you haven’t been conducting regular time audits and time on task estimations, you’re missing opportunities to hone processes.

Consider how much time and money, wasted project time, lack of resources, meetings, excessive coffee and tea breaks and chit-chat sessions cost your company. All companies should pay attention to to time on task(s).

What is time on task?

According to The Development Academy’s 2021 time management research, employees are only productive for two hours and 23 minutes per day, with the rest of their time spent on job searches, news sites, discussions with co-workers, coffee breaks, instant messaging, making food in the office, snack breaks and calls.

The average full-time employee spends about 12.5% of their average workday on low-impact and non-essential activities.

On an eight-hour work basis, saving an hour a week on average could translate to a 2.5% increase in productive time. This makes the understanding of time on task technique crucial to productivity and profitability.

If you truly want to revamp your organizational culture and enhance efficiency and productivity, begin with a time audit and reduce the amount of time wasted on unnecessary activities.

Benefits of time on task observation

Task observation is vital to monitoring time on a task, which helps to improve performance and achieve goals with fewer resources. Poor task observation on time promotes poor task performance. The byproducts of poor time management invariably include procrastination, lack of focus, missed deadlines, stress, late delivery of group tasks, inefficient flow and low work quality.

According to 2018 research by The Project Management Institute, poor time estimation remains the root cause of failed projects. This implies that if you could keenly observe and manage time on task, you could become a better project manager.

TimeTrack Timesheets offer a simple and cohesive method to track time spent (and time wasted!) across your various projects. With this information, you can get to work on honing processes and improving overall productivity.


TimeTrack Timesheets

How to define time on task at work

Time on task is an observation technique that measures the average time in which you are actively engaged. It’s also a measure of the productive period for acquiring new values, skills, attitudes or knowledge.

Understanding this observation technique will reduce stress and help improve your workflow. Improving productivity is essential in every company and time on task could vary depending on task demand for full resource use or concurrently with other tasks that need maximum performance.


5 ways to calculate time spent on tasks

Start your time on task observation with a time audit for employees.

  1. Work with your calendar and task list. Use your calendar to mark your current priorities, tasks and appointments. Later, block off time with good planning. Maintain a separate list of to-do lists and assign a progress date to each task.
  2. Use the fudge ratio. A fudge ratio is an estimate of how much you overestimate or underestimate the amount of time required for tasks. Calculate this by dividing the number of hours it took you to complete a task by the number of hours you thought it would take. Then multiply this ratio to get a better estimate.
  3. Make sure to overestimate your time requirements. Do this by adding 25–50% to your estimate, this gives you a higher chance of having an accurate estimation of the time you need. Check your schedule to account for things you have already planned.
  4. Use a three-point estimation to calculate the worst-case scenario, best-case scenario and the most realistic scenario. Use these three data points to create the best estimation for time on task.
  5. Ask your colleagues to give you feedback, especially if they have done similar projects.

Tips to complete tasks on time

Bite-sized milestones

Your first step to completing your task on time is to create bite-sized milestones. This is especially true if complex and time-consuming tasks frequently results in procrastination. Break down your ambitious goals into smaller milestones. Mini deadlines will motivate you and keep you actively engaged with the job at hand.

Monitor progress

Tracking your time and the progress of your project helps to keep you motivated and complete tasks on time. With a good tracking attitude, you will meet your deadline in time and gain insight on gaps and weak points in the execution process. This valuable info allows you to devise better means of improving and increasing productivity.

Manage loopholes

Go through every detail before setting your final deadlines. Allocating the incorrect time at the beginning could hamper smooth workflow and prevent your team from executing the project in a cohesive way. A good understanding of the objectives, planning process and resources, especially before fixing your deadlines, increases confidence in the process and imbues employees with enthusiasm. Consider a weekly action plan as part of your time on task strategy.

Encourage positive task behavior

Task behavior is an employee’s response to a task-based environment in the workplace. It describes employee performance and responsiveness to assigned work. Task behavior requires excellent planning and communication skills which are vital for productivity.

Encourage positive task behavior. Assign relevant tasks, monitor the employee’s work, create a predictable workflow and constantly evaluate performances. Remember, poor work costs the company time and money.


Tips to stay on time

Keep distractions at bay

If you want to meet every deadline in any work process, keep distractions at bay. During your productive time, get rid of social media, gossip and long emails. Once you are distracted, bringing back the same level of concentration to the original task is almost impossible.

Prioritize crucial tasks first

Set your deadlines based on the level of urgency and importance. Tackle important tasks first or divide tasks into task categories. Focus on completing an urgent task when it is critical to productivity.

Maintain motivation with a learning culture

Communicate with your team often, keep them engaged with the right strategies, offer sufficient motivation and guide them in preparing the right template for success.

A smart entrepreneur will monitor task behavior and encourage learning to meet specific skill gaps.

Use an efficient time-tracking tool

When time management is optimal, the team feels confident. Everyone knows what they have to do, how to do it and their relevant deadlines. For major projects, look to TimeTrack Project Time Tracking. 

This software makes work processes and projects transparent and practical for all on the team to engage with. The software allows booking of project hours, recording project hours and generating client reports.

Project Time Tracking Overview

Project Time Tracking – TimeTrack


Improving efficiency in work processes requires the correct insight into time on task. Promote positive task behavior, create fitting schedules, communicate changes and prioritize important tasks by employing this strategy.