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Time-Management Audit: A Step-by-Step Guide on Streamlining your Day

Updated: May 29

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☝ Download our free printable Checklist to start your Time-Management Audit Process ☝


It sure feels like days get shorter the more you're hoping to accomplish in a day– In my experience, it feels as if time intentionally speeds up as you get closer to a deadline! If you're struggling to manage your time effectively, a time-management audit might be just what you need. This systematic approach helps you understand how you spend your time, identify wasteful activities, and reallocate your hours to focus on what truly matters.


Follow this step-by-step guide to regain control of your time and boost your productivity!

Step One: Prepare your Audit

Before you dive into the audit itself, set clear goals for what you hope to accomplish.

Are you looking to reduce overtime, increase time spent on specific projects, or balance work and personal life?

Knowing your objectives will most effectively guide your audit process and help you remain focused on what's important.

Step Two: Track Your Time

Commit to a 1-2 Week Observation: The first stage of your audit process, is to collect an accurate and comprehensive data set to effectively summarize your typical activities, making it easier to spot patterns and consider your "hot spots" where review may be necessary.

Suggested Methods: In 2024, we're all pretty comfortable with Spreadsheets and the like– and for those that would rather use a digital tool to record your activities and necessary details, consider looking into tools like Toggl or RescueTime, which both have free trials (30-day and 14-day trials respectively).

And hey, this activity is not gonna count against your time, so if you want to manually punch it into a spreadsheet, there is nothing wrong with a little .xls love!

Step Three: Categorize your Activities

Once you have your data, it's time to categorize each activity.

If you need a little inspiration, here are a few common categories I've used in the past:

  • Work - (Subdivided into project-specific tasks and action-items)

    • Project 1

    • Project 2

    • etc.

  • Commuting

    • To Coffee

    • To Office

    • To Lunch and back

    • To Parent Pick-up

    • etc.

  • Meetings

    • Morning Calls

    • Afternoon Calls

  • Personal Time

    • This very much depends on your goal for this audit

  • Breaks

    • 15 minute breaks and Lunch

  • Unintentional Distractions

    • No judgement here, the first step is identifying what these are

Step Four: Analyze your Data

Review your time logs and calculate how much time you spend in each category collectively.

Visualize the data to make an even more powerful statement.

Ask yourself:

  1. Which activities consume the most time?

  2. Are there any surprises in how your time is distributed?

  3. How does the time spent align with your priorities and goals?

Step Five: Identify Opportunities for Improvement

Look for the drains or inefficiencies that could be eliminated, adjusted, moved, or otherwise streamlined.

There are always going to be demanding and immovable projects and meetings; it's alright to leave some items untouched, but don't be afraid to brainstorm on possible strategies for improvements.


  • Reducing the length and frequency of meetings

    • Create pre-meeting notes and block out time to discuss these items before moving onto the next bulleted item.

    • Ask yourself: Could this meeting be an email? 😉✔

  • Setting specific times to check emails and messages rather than continuously being available to communication.

  • Delegating tasks that do not require your expertise when possible.

  • Review your responsibilities and filter low-priority tasks, making consideration for deadlines and the amount of focus these non-essential tasks may take.

    • Consider blocking out 30 minutes for tasks deemed as low-priority, and prioritize these tasks for the effort required each day or week.

Step Six: Set Realistic Goals

Based on your analysis, set realistic and measurable goals for how you want to reallocate your time.

Don't be afraid to start off conservative with your time each day– there is always room to adjust this according to your personal and professional needs.

Create Actionable Steps for each goal, such as:

  • Blocking out time for high-priority work

  • Scheduling regular breaks to enhance your focus and output

  • Using Technology to automate routine tasks

Step Seven: Go Forth and Conquer!

Implement these changes you've planned and monitor the impact on your productivity and well-being. It's important to be honest with your time and ability in each day, so don't be afraid to adjust as needed to continue improving your efficiency. This Time-Management Guide, just like any audit, is meant to check-in on your process, determining that it is efficient and correctly serving your needs. Remember: as your life and roles change, your process may need a tweak or two– check in quarterly to see where improvements can be made.


Conducting a time-management audit is more than just an exercise; it's a journey towards understanding and optimizing how you spend your hours.

With these steps, you're not just tracking time—you're ensuring that every minute counts towards achieving your personal and professional goals!

The key to successful time management is not about squeezing as many tasks into your day as possible, but rather ensuring your time is spent on activities that align with your goals and bring you peace of mind.

Interested in Streamlining your Payroll?

As a Payroll Company, our favorite time-management suggestion OBVIOUSLY comes from our obsession with improving payroll processes!

Our team thrives in the scariest and most time-consuming payroll scenarios, so much so, that we've developed payroll feature functionality to replace those spreadsheets and manual entry and upload processes that so many have come to expect in payroll management.

If your team is spending an obscene amount of time in your payroll tasks, consider taking a look at our product and outsourcing services, including:

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  • Multi-state, Multi-Country, and Multi-Currency

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  • Expat Payroll Management (Automated Foreign Tax Credit Calculations, Section 911 Withholding Management, Automated Tax Equalization)

  • and so much more...

Using Humanic’s advanced payroll software and comprehensive services helps businesses significantly reduce the time and resources spent on payroll management.

By automating complex tasks, ensuring compliance, and providing dedicated support, Humanic enables businesses to focus on strategic growth and operational efficiency >>


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