How to Get More Done by Tracking Your Time
To know how to be more productive, you first need to know exactly how you’re spending your minutes and hours of the day.
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You say you need to get more done or that you don’t have enough time for everything, but when you actually track your time, you realize you’re spending 60 minutes a day on Facebook.
From there, the remedy seems pretty obvious.
Chris Bailey writes on The Productivity Project:
“Without becoming aware of how you currently spend your time, it’s hard to reflect on whether you’re acting in ways that match up with what your values and highest-impact tasks are. Keeping a time log is a great way to find your starting point, your base level.”
There are two basic frameworks for tracking time:
#1 By time of day
When tracking by time of day, you’ll write down your activity for a set chunk of time, say 9-9:15am.
Set a timer for every 15 minutes (at first, at least; it can be longer as you’ve gotten into it), and take a quick second to jot down what you’ve been doing.
#2 By task
With this method, you’ll go about your day and activities as normal, and simply write down what time you change tasks and start something new.
Try both, and see what works for you.
RescueTime works in the background of your computer to track how much time you’re spending on various websites and web-connected apps
Toggl is a basic web-app timer
Good old fashioned pen and paper
168 Hours Timesheet created by Laura Vanderkam for the book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
Even if you don’t continue tracking at all after your two-week experiment is over, you should still conduct a time audit once a year or so, just to see how things have changed and to keep yourself on track (or to re-align if things got off).
Time tracking not only changed how I spent my minutes and hours, but how I look at my life, and my time here on Earth, as a whole.
Make sure you’re spending time on the things that really matter.