Do you really know how you are using every minute of your day? All 1,440 minutes of it? Many people I talk to, get to the end of the day and realize that they got much less done than they wanted to. Then they go around complaining to everyone that they don’t have enough time in their day! We tend to get boggled down by all the little thing in our life and forget to focus on the bigger things that give us juice and are considered productive.

Have you ever decided to do something that you thought would only take a short time (like checking your email, checking the sports score, checking your Facebook feed, ect) and then got distracted to find out that several hours went by?

Once we start to do something, we tend to build momentum. This can be a good thing with some things, but not as positive with things that are unproductive. To help figure out how to better manage your time, you must first figure out where it is going. There are a variety of methods to do this and I’m going to focus on a few of them here:

        1. Use a software to track your time-there is a lot of software out there that will track everything you do on your computer and will analyze the data in a nice graph by different categories (programs used, time on websites, ect). I have found this to be helpful because then you are able to see where your time is going. You might find out that you are checking your social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace 20 times a day each and not consciously realize it. There are a variety of free software tools you can find to do this job.

        2. Print out a Daily/Weekly Calendar-write down everything that you are doing hour by hour no matter what it is. This might seem time consuming at first, but you will really see where your time goes. Remember to be honest!

        3. Make a list of everything-get out a sheet of paper and everytime you do something, write it down. Use a small notebook that can fit in your pocket if you want to. Be sure to include most EVERYTHING you do. Your list may look something like this:

6-wake up/shower

6:30-eat breakfast

7-check email

7:20-check websites

7:40-drive to work

8-arrive at work

8:10-get coffee

9-meetings

11:30-talk to coworker

12-lunch

1-work on project

3-meetings

5-leave work

5:30-get home from work

6-exercise

6:50-make dinner/eat

7:45-check email/websites

8:15-read a book

9:00-watch TV

10:30-check email

11-go to sleep

Once you look at where all of your time is going, you can then start to determine where you can be more productive and waste less time.

Remember: It is perfectly alright to have downtime where you are unproductive. Just remember that you want to make sure you are getting the important things done in your life that will make you fulfilled.

You may be surprised how many things you do that you don’t even realize are a waste of time. You may find that you waste too much time doing something, which will lead to figuring out a better solution. Go out and make this activity fun and even challenge your friends to do the activity with you for a week.

 

One Response to Tracking Your Time to Be More Productive

  1. [...] 6. Track your time-Carry a list around for several days and write down EVERYTHING you do on it. This includes sleeping, eating, driving, exercising, taking a 10 minute break, checking Facebook, and everything else in between. If your honest, you will be surprised just how much time you waste every single day. Take this list and go over it to see what you can cut back and where you can free up more time for the things that really matter in your life. (EDIT: See new post here about Tracking Your Time to Be More Productive) [...]

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