Time Tracking: Have you ever said the following things to yourself?
- I just can’t get anything meaningful done.
- There’s too much stuff on my list.
- I don’t have enough time.
- Where does my time go?
- I didn’t have the time today.
How come we all have the same 168 hours a week, yet some of us get more done than others? I’ve got an exercise that really helped me get some clarity and awareness as to where my time was going every week. This is going to really help you so you are able to design your ideal week to feel more in control and satisfied.
So, what is time tracking?
Keeping a record of what you’re spending your time on so you can review, improve and design your ideal week but to do that you need to at least know where your hours are going as it’s hard to manage anything that you don’t at least measure.
How To Track Your Time
I want you to track your time in a notebook or keep a timesheet or spreadsheet, just record your hours the way you’ll find easier.
Commit to at least 3 days but ideally 7 is best including weekends if you can.
Record everything from waking up to going to sleep.
How will this help?
- This exercise will help you make the most of the time you’ve got.
- Help you get the important stuff done, or help you spend time on things that align with your values, things that are important to you.
- Help you be productive with your time rather than just busy doing stuff!
Pick Your Preferred Approach To Tracking Your Time
There are 2 main approaches you can take for this exercise. The first a detailed approach, this is recommended to get the most accurate data.
You can use a notebook journal or spreadsheet to record your hours but be obsessive and leave no minute unaccounted for.
You can record in 15-, 30- or 60-minute increments to give you an accurate snapshot of your week and you can transfer this to a spreadsheet later if you prefer.
- lunch breaks
- text threads
- an afternoon snack or nap
- a trip the post office
- walking the dog
- absolutely everything
You will be able to see, how frequently you switch tasks, what you bounce between, spot distractions and how much time you spend in different areas of your life.
So, take a notebook or spreadsheet and put the times down the side in 15, 30 or 60 min increments and then run your days along the top and fill it in as you go.
he second option is to roughly estimate how you have spent your time. This option is not ideal as we tend to be wilding wrong when it comes to estimating our time, but this is better than not doing it at all, so stop and take some time to write down what you think you did and how long it took.
See how close you get to the 168 hours. It’s easy to underestimate the time we spend on our phones so you can easily check your phone settings for pick-ups and how much time you spend on each app.
What Next For Time Tracking?
From the information you record, you can understand where your time goes each week and make improvements.
saying yes to something means saying no to something else’.
This is one of my favourite quotes.
This is also known as ‘opportunity cost’. Let me explain.
What else could you be doing with this time? Designing that website, learning a new skill, reading some books, spending time with friends or family.
Makes you really think, doesn’t it? This exercise might be a little bit time consuming in the first instance, but it will be a game changer for you.
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