People depend on you, at work, at home and in your friendships. You’re always counted on to deliver something of value to your relationships. How you deliver comes down to the habits that you have -both good and bad. Getting into a good habit is sometimes just as hard as getting out of a bad one.
One of your many responsibilities at work may be to enter your working time on a timesheet. This work is likely billable. So, getting your time entered and then submitted in a consistent matter is a big deal. The very survival of the company you work for comes down to how well you track your time. While entering time on a timesheet may be a bothersome chore, it is a necessary evil.
Why not make time entry a good habit, so at the very least you don’t have to think about it as much.
Getting into the habit of entering time will make work-life easier
Before we get into some tips on how you can enter your time, let’s take a look at how habits are constructed. Good or bad, habits work the same. They come down to three primary functions:
The Trigger: Something reminds you to take action. The trigger can come in the form of a notification, a visual cue or even an emotion.
The Action: Destructive or constructive, this is where the magic happens. It’s the desired steps moving towards the result.
The Reward: Once the hard work is done, it’s time to reap the benefit. It’s the dopamine hit your brain gets after you have accomplished the action. It sets the memory for the next trigger.
Once all three are completed and the memory is set, a habit loop is created. So that the next time we are triggered, we do the action, and we get rewarded. The next time we’re triggered, the cycle repeats.
Because timekeeping is vital to your company’s success, you should make an effort to creating a timekeeping habit loop. Create a trigger by using notification reminders on your computer or your phone. Embrace the reward of knowing that by entering your time regularly, your habit will not only give you a sense of accomplishment, but it will make the person responsible for billing clients’ work that much easier.
What reward is there to entering time?
I get it, sometimes the reward of entering time in a timesheet is rather weak as compared to the tediousness of the task. But as Sam Lavoie, a developer with Dovico points out. He sees the end of day Friday timekeeping as a way to reflect on the work he had accomplished during the week.
I prefer submitting time on a Friday afternoon since it’s a nice conclusion when looking back at the week’s worth of work. Going through my notes and standup summaries and entering time on my timesheet makes me feel like I accomplished a bit more than I remember, leaving for the weekend on a positive note.Sam Lavoie – Software Developer at Dovico
Begin the habit by starting small
If timesheets are a necessity in your office, and you struggle with creating a habit of entering them. Commit yourself to do it every workday for 30 days. As Matt Cutts, an engineer at Google, explains in his 2011 TED talk titled: “Try something new for 30 days”, you can do anything for 30 days. It all comes down to doing small incremental changes.
A small incremental change you could try is to keep it simple by entering only your time daily. Then, on Friday afternoon, you could fill in any necessary descriptions or necessary fields related to your time before you submit your timesheet. It creates less work every day, and on Friday you don’t have to remember the exact hourly amounts from the past week.
Clear the clutter and reap the reward
Another small change is to write down daily the task, time and date on a Post-It note. Attach these notes to your screen or desk. Then on Friday afternoon, enter that time to your timesheet and submit. Not only are you capturing your time daily, but you are also littering your desk with triggers to submit your time at the end of the week.
Just think about how clean your desk will look after you throw away all those Post-It notes after entering and submitting your time. That could be a reward in itself!
We’re all masters of habit
Every day we do things habitually, our brains are hardwired to make everything from breathing to walking a habit. All of these habits are what make us the complex creatures that we are.
In the scheme of your life, creating a new habit to enter time on your timesheet is quite small but you can do it! All you have to do is get moving by creating a trigger, entering your time and feeling the reward.
You are dependable. You are habitual. And at work, you have to enter your time on a timesheet. Commit the next 30 days to start the timekeeping habit, and you will become someone at work who can deliver.
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