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Hours Don’t Lie: Why Time Tracking Means Getting Things Done

Ágúst Einarsson - Managing Director of TM Software

In case you missed it, here's the awesome editorial from Ágúst Einarsson, our Managing Director here at TM Software, which was included in the last issue of The Tempo Times:

Have you ever listened to David Bowie’s song “Changes” and wondered how the 1971 classic applies today? Time may change me / But I can’t trace time. In all likelihood, this song was probably not written about time tracking software, but it does say something about human behavior: What kinds of things do we have control over? What sorts of behavior can we change? Although we may not be able to go back in time, we can change the way that we spend it going forward.

As the saying goes, the first step towards change is awareness. Are you aware of how much time you spend on various activities throughout your day? How many hours did you spend at work yesterday? How much of that time was spent retracing your steps or answering a client’s question regarding an invoice? How much of that time was totally unproductive? And then, last week? Hours add up quickly, and at a certain point, it becomes nearly impossible to keep track of them all in our head. The best way to gain awareness — the first step towards change — is to find an objective system of measurement that cuts through the power of human rationalization. After all, perception and reality are often two different things.

When you track your time, you get a healthy dose of the unfettered truth. Then, you can start spending time on what’s most important.

For most of us, time tracking is more about making every hour count than it is about counting every hour. That is, time tracking is not just about awareness: it’s about change. Perhaps this is the crux of why time tracking means getting things done: hours don’t lie. When you realize how you spend your time, it makes clear where your priorities are -- or ought to be -- and it shows you how you might make your time better match your priorities.

This is what we’ve aimed at doing with Tempo: helping our customers to not only easily and objectively track their time and productivity, but to figure out how they might best change their behavior to meet their goals. Since the beginning, we’ve approached our product with the single most goal in mind: to make Tempo the best time tracking solution available. To that end, we’ve focused on creating a product that is simple and intuitive without sacrificing functionality. We’ve dedicated ourselves to the challenge of creating a complete solution for JIRA that is so well integrated, users feel like they’re using a single, streamlined product. And, I think that we’ve not only reached that challenge, but have exceeded it.

One of the greatest aspects of using Tempo is its ability to save companies both time and money by enabling accurate time tracking for billing purposes, project management, resource planning, and task oversight. And, just as importantly, our product is flexible, so it doesn’t impede the ability to carry out tasks, but only enhances it.

In the last year, Tempo has grown more than 500%, and we expect to grow an additional 300% this year. We’ve released a new version, on average, every six weeks, and we continue to plan for future additions. We’re finding ways to develop innovative functionality in our labs, and we’re always working on something that we think will make our customers work more efficiently. And, we pride ourselves in the close relationships we’ve nurtured with our clients, incorporating their feedback into each new release with the goal of continually improving their user experiences.

We’ve already partnered with 43 Atlassian experts, and continue to establish new relationships. Our product is now available in nine local languages, and is used throughout the world, from Vietnam to Pakistan. We see new user licenses coming in from new cities and countries from all over, and it’s truly exciting for us to witness. Tempo’s steady success from a homegrown solution to the driver of a successful, sustainable business, along with the continual positive feedback from our customers, gives us confidence when recommending our product to new users. Our customers have saved money not only through our reasonable license pricing, but through improved efficiency and waste reduction. At every turn, Tempo is making time manageable and work behavior effectual!

In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell argues that it takes 10,000 hours of pursuing something to become truly excellent at it. That’s a lot of time, right? That’s eight hours per day every day for 1,250 days -- nearly three-and-a-half years! I think one of the largest obstacles to reaching our goals is finding enough time to adequately dedicate to them. Effective time tracking enables you to allocate your time wisely to achieve those goals. After all, hours don’t lie.

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