Time Auditing: A ‘How To’ For Small Business Owners

What is the most common complaint amongst small business owners in every single industry? Every sector has its own problems, of course, but there is something of a theme for entrepreneurs and business owners of all kinds: there is never enough hours in the day to finish everything.

True as this statement is, it’s not entirely correct. With some sensible planning and a time audit, you can free up several hours of your time every day without too much of a problem. How? Well, that’s what we’re going to start explaining right now – so let’s get started right away.

What Is A Time Audit?

We’ve covered time-saving tips many times before on this blog, but the reality is that many business owners don’t even realize that they have a problem. And there is a huge difference between how you think you spend your time and how you actually spend it – which is where a time audit comes in. This type of review helps you look at your business’s productivity as a whole, and gives you a deep and thorough understanding of where you can make improvements.

A Quick Win

Don’t think that auditing your time has to be a super intense process – it really doesn’t. There is a simple tactic you can use if you want to get started quickly. All you need is a simple timer – whether on your laptop or phone – and set it at intervals of an hour. Make sure that you choose a time that isn’t obvious, however, as people often have lunch or arrange meetings for on the hour or half past.

Tracking Your Movements

As soon as the alarm goes off, start writing down what you are doing right at that moment. Reset your alarm and continue with your task, and continue to do this every hour for a working week. By the end of the five or six days, you will have a pretty accurate idea of what your movements have been, and an overall picture of what you are doing at any given hour of the day.

Analyzing The Data

Now take a look at what you have been spending time on. Ideally, you want to split up the activities you have been doing into three distinct parts: Super important, not crucial, and time wasting. Super important tasks will be business critical activities, while you could place checking emails or spending time waiting on the phone as ‘not very important. Finally, activities like checking your personal social media account or reading non-business websites, are obviously worthless.

Start Getting Ruthless

But other things are worthless and costing you time, such as filing paper when you don’t need to – you could be using paperless, automated business accounting software, for example. Even something like walking to an employee’s desk might be unnecessary if you can contact them by phone or email. The consequences of ‘not doing something’ can be nonexistent, so question everything you do, and you will find that you can free up significant time.


All businesses can make significant time-saving improvements, it’s just a question of knowing where to look. And with a time audit, you will be able to track what you are doing on an hourly basis and take action to eliminate trivial and unimportant tasks from your routine. Let us know how you get on!

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