I’ve worked in IT for 20+ years. I’ve worked at large enterprise systems integrators, small IT support companies, and run my own consulting group. I’ve run teams of 5 and teams of 50. No matter the place, no matter who I talk to in the industry, one of the most common issues people struggle with is time management and timesheet entry.
What strategies have people found successful in getting people to enter their time be accountable to this responsibility? Also, how do you manage your workload so that you don’t feel overwhelmed?
Here are a few I've found successful.
1. Explain why it’s necessary
It’s amazing how much a little bit of education can change someone’s feeling about having to do something. When onboarding someone, explain to them, “We need you to enter your time. Without your time entry, we can’t create invoices for the clients, which means we don’t get paid. So it’s pretty important. This is why I’ll be persistent about you getting your time entered.” Even if you don’t need the time entry for invoices, just substitute the WHY on the time entry, explain how it fits in the company process. If people realize it’s not time entry for time entries sake they may put up less of a fight.
2. Make it easy
The more cumbersome the time entry is, the less likely people will be compliant with the process. This kind of true of anything, but if time entry is important to your business, you need to spend the time to remove the fat/overhead from the process.
One of the major reasons people get overwhelmed is a lack of focus. There is only one thing you can do at a time. (check the research multitasking doesn’t work) Focusing on what is important. Making small gains feeds momentum. Anytime someone showed up to my office overwhelmed I loved working with them to write out on the whiteboard all the things they felt they needed to do. We would discuss urgency and importance of each. Stack rank the top three things and send them on their way. “Focus on these three first. If you need more help come back and see me after.” Usually, they just needed perspective to break out of the overwhelmed state. They rarely came back soon for help with the next three things.
4. Train them
What makes humans amazing is our ability to contemplate and influence the future. We are terrible at influencing the past, but we sure do spend a lot of time on the past. Switch your thinking and focus on the future. Train yourself and your staff on how you want things to be done in the future, then give them feedback to ensure they follow their training. Forget about what people have or have not done. Focus on what you want them to do. Train them, support them, and coach them.
I’m passionate about helping MSP techs gets more done with less stress and a sense of greater control, so I built the MSP Productivity Accelerator Course. It teaches you techniques of the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology and how to manage your workload in the Connectwise. I did this type of training in person a lot and people always found it helpful. If you want yourself and your team to be better at managing your time and staying on top of the work in your PSA check it out.