Juggling with two balls is a skill. With three, it becomes a feat.
But Alex Barron – the title holder of the Guinness World Record for the most balls juggled – did it with 11 balls, managing a total of 23 consecutive catches. Impressive, right?
If you’re a teacher or you work in education admin, you can probably relate to such a feat. Every day as a teacher is a tremendous juggle – but instead of beanie balls or bowling pins, you’re juggling classroom hours, lesson tasks, meetings, deadlines, and more.
While teaching is bound to be a little chaotic at the best of times, there are ways to tame the mayhem. Time tracking goes a long way in not only identifying your biggest time sinks but also refining your schedule to be as efficient and organized as possible.
Let’s cut the chaos and see what time tracking can do for our admirable education workers.
Technology in the academic sector
You may think of technology as an enemy that steals away precious learning moments, but when used properly, it can be a powerful ally for teachers and admin staff.
That's where time tracking comes in – and software developers have now created solutions specifically tailored for the educational sector.
To give you a brief background, time tracking is a method of measuring how much time an individual or team spends on certain tasks. It's not only useful for managing workloads and staying organized but also for accurately billing clients in the case of freelance work.
Let's first explore how time tracking can aid in time management for educators.
How to streamline teaching and admin processes with time tracking
With over 85 million teachers all over the world, the education sector is expected to experience significant growth in the coming years. The demand for teachers is high and the supply is gradually catching up.
Yet, even with this potential for expansion, educational institutions still struggle to keep up with growing demands and challenges. For instance, a K-12 school may often deal with budget cuts and a lack of qualified staff while meeting increased expectations from parents and students alike.
What does this add up to? Typically, chaos. A short-staffed school experiences more disorganization, and there’s constant time pressure (not to mention the limited resources).
Meet time tracking software – a tool meant to assist educators in better resource management, time management, and efficiency. By removing the need for manual tracking, they save time, energy, and resources.
Here are steps the teachers and educational institutions can take to utilize time trackers for better time management:
1. Take note of existing academe processes
Before diving into any type of time tracking solution, it's important to understand existing processes. This includes the way teachers go about their daily tasks, as well as any existing systems such as lesson plans or project management tools.
Which ones can be automated? How can I prepare for unexpected tasks that may incur billable hours? Such questions help you identify the processes that exist, how you can allocate resources to them, and how they can be categorized.
Once the current processes are noted, it's easier to identify which types of tasks are to be tracked. For easier implementation, you can use your own subject coding system or incorporate new categories, such as “teacher-student interaction” or “administrative tasks.”
These can be translated into specific coded categories, which the admin staff can input into the time tracking software for better accuracy.
2. Start tracking time spent on tasks
Time tracking software can help teachers track the hours they spend on various tasks. Navigating through a list of activities and tasks can be overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, you'll find that tracking time spent on each job is a breeze.
The good news is that users can easily access time tracking platforms via browsers and mobile apps, making the process much easier.
For example, if a teacher is assigned to prepare lessons for English class every day from 9:00 am to 10:30 am, they can easily input this information into the software by pressing a few buttons.
This will help in creating an accurate record of how much time is spent on each task and the total hours worked for the day or week, as well as staying organized and efficient.
Integrations within apps and tools
What's worse than manual time tracking? Transferring each set of data from one platform to another.
This is even worse when educators and admin staff have multiple tools and apps to manage. To make things easier, you can integrate time trackers with existing systems such as attendance software or project management tools.
This way, educators don't have to manually input data into the system – they just need to update their tasks in one platform, and the time tracker will automatically sync up with them.
3. Utilize reports and analytics
To maximize the use of time trackers, it's important to take advantage of the analytics and reports that they provide. These are great for visualizing data in order to compare how much time is spent on different tasks or goals.
Analyzing these reports can also help teachers understand their work habits better and see where improvements can be made. Should a teacher notice that they spend more than two hours preparing lessons every day, they may be able to streamline their workflow by cutting out unnecessary steps or delegating some of the tasks to other staff members.
The job of the institution here is to analyze employee productivity and find out solutions to improve it further and lessen employee stress.
4. Set reminders and alerts
One of the greatest features of time tracking software is its ability to set reminders and alerts. This can help teachers stay on top of their tasks and manage their time more efficiently.
Admin staff can set up automated reminders to notify teachers when a certain task is due, or if they have exceeded the allotted time for a specific job. Additionally, they can also be alerted when tasks are completed on time or ahead of schedule.
5. Enjoy the ease of payroll automation
School administrators now don't have to worry about payroll and attendance management. Time tracking software makes it easy to organize and automate payroll processes since the data is already stored in the system.
Once teachers enter their hours worked, admins can easily generate reports that show how much each employee has earned for a certain period of time.
Implementing the same software in class
Teachers can also use time tracking software in the classroom. To do so, schools and universities can take advantage of software that allows unlimited users and let students track time as well.
This makes it easy to keep track of how much students are studying and allows instructors to assign tasks with deadlines. Educators can easily stay on top of student progress and ensure that all assignments are completed in a timely manner.
For scenarios in which they need to review high-track students and low-ability students, teachers can easily pull out reports from the system to determine how each student is progressing. Doing so helps them identify areas where they should be focusing their attention and resources for better learning outcomes.
What should compose your time tracking experience?
The key to the successful implementation of a time tracking system is finding one that suits your individual needs. Before you invest in any solution, make sure that it can provide the features and flexibility necessary for your institution’s success.
You should look for solutions that are user-friendly, have robust reporting capabilities, allow for efficient data entry and retrieval, offer multiple integration options with existing systems, and provide cost-effective pricing plans. Also, ensure that the software provider offers comprehensive customer support services so you can get assistance at any time during setup or use of the tool.
After listing down your options, it’s important to do a test run of the system. Take advantage of free trials, which most platforms offer – this will give you a better idea of how the solution works and whether or not it meets your expectations.
Manage your valuable time with Harvest
Harvest is our user-friendly and seamless time tracking solution with plenty of benefits for educational institutions. It’s an easy-to-use monitoring tool that allows instructors and admins to accurately track and manage time.
Detailed reports? No problem. Our platform helps you do reporting and analytics in real-time, so you can make better decisions and achieve higher efficiency sooner.
It also features a dashboard that gives an overview of each user’s daily activities, as well as integration options with popular payment systems like PayPal and Stripe.
Join thousands of businesses (including schools) that are already leveraging the power of Harvest’s time tracking technology to simplify their processes, save money and resources, and increase productivity.
Start by signing up and get your free trial today.