Hands up for overtime 🙌🏼… Nobody? Oh right, that’s because you can’t believe we still have to talk about this.Overtime is either a sign that something is massively wrong, or you just work in the tech industry. It doesn’t matter how often it bugs you, whether you’re a freelance contractor or a salaried employee – everyone should track their overtime so they can address it in the best way. Besides, for employers in Europe, it’s now a legal requirement.
Why tracking overtime is important
You need to represent your overtime if you’re going to do anything about it
Tracking overtime lets you gather together the cold hard facts, which you can then discuss with your manager. It’s particularly useful at development meetings and performance reviews – whether you’re seeking promotion, pushing to hire another employee or just want a more manageable workload.
Tracking overtime helps separate the wheat from the assholes
The way your manager responds to your overtime evidence says a lot about how they actually see your time.
If they can’t reasonably justify the overtime and don’t try to help you manage it, they’re most likely an asshole. Happy employees need wheat.
Overtime tracking identifies recurring problems (which you can then fix)
Do you keep working overtime because you’re constantly interrupted? Do certain meetings always overrun? Has THAT GUY pushed more of his work on you? Maybe that extra work wouldn’t be necessary, had it been caught at planning stage… This kind of causal crap can actually all be fixed. You may even uncover a few inefficient habits of your own to address!
Develop a better understanding of their capacity
Once you know your capacity, you can estimate projects and time-based commitments more accurately.
Entering into agreements you can actually honor is clearly a good idea, and is crucial to building lasting client trust. Reviewing your overtime trends, you may even discover you’ve been selling yourself short and should charge a higher rate for your work.
How to track overtime
Sure, you can do it manually using a DIY Excel sheet, but why would you? The whole point here is protect your personal time. Besides, you’ll probably forget to do it a bunch of times and enter a number which massively undersells what you actually did… and the whole endeavour becomes pointless.
Better to just do it right and use an accurate automatic time tracker whose data you can actually trust.
We’re obviously pretty proud of Timely, which automatically records all the time you spend on work and helps you see exactly where you are against your weekly capacity.
Your employer should want to take your time seriously and make sure you are supported.
There’s a fine line between reasonable, unpredictable overtime and serial abuse of your contractual agreement. By tracking your overtime you have more power to control which side of the line you’re on.