Advice, recommendations and news you can use from the chapter’s seasoned professionals

By Laurel Smith, APR
Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations

Budget advisors recommend tracking your spending to get a handle on your finances. Similarly, tracking your hours at the office can help you do a better job of managing your time.

Most agencies bill for time worked on behalf of clients. Having a system in place to track time, being aware of billable hours and justifying the time spent on specific projects is critical to financial success.

All public relations practitioners – not only those who bill time at agencies – can benefit from tracking their time. Here’s why:

  • Tracking can make you more productive. Seeing how you spend your day can help you focus on what’s important. When you realize it took 45 minutes to scan a newspaper or 30 minutes to finish a phone call, you may reconsider the way you work or appreciate the value of delegation.
  • Tracking can increase your efficiency. Seeing how much time it truly takes to complete a routine task may jolt you into working more quickly or finding a faster way.
  • Tracking increases accountability. It may be valuable to let your supervisor know you spend 25 percent of your time in meetings. When the big boss asks you to coordinate an event, you might choose to share the number of staff hours spent on the last cocktail reception or ribbon cutting.
  • Tracking can increase your sense of accomplishment. It feels a lot like checking things off your to-do list.

The mechanics of time tracking can be as simple as notes jotted on an hourly grid or daily planner or as sophisticated as time-and-billing software. It is the act of tracking that makes you mindful of how you spend your time and what you actually can accomplish during a workday.