Tracking Your Time
It’s obvious to say but you can’t change what you do with your time if you don’t know where time goes at the moment.
The simplest way to track your time is to use a simple graph.
I use a spreadsheet which is broken down into days and I record 7 days on one sheet.
It looks something like this (check out the template that follows);
Measuring any less than 30 minutes is too time consuming.
Measure the time you get up until you go to bed – this may be 6-10 or 7-11, it’s whatever works for you.
Save the form to your desktop and click into it several times a day to update what you have been doing.
At the end of each month total up your hours and see how you have been spending your time.
You may be thinking this is a bit of a low tech approach and that there are lots of apps and programs out there that can help you with this. There are and I have tried plenty of them. The problem is that it often takes time to record what you are doing – you have to select the type of work you are doing from a menu. This gives you a global idea of what you have been doing but not the specific detail that you get by noting it down every 30 minutes. To get that level of detail in every app I have tried means entering information takes a long time to help.
Rescuetime (A very useful app!)
Here’s one app that I found incredibly useful. If you spend lots of time working on line then it’s very difficult to break down what you do online into lots of detail. Rescuetime helps you understand what you do when you are online. It looks at how much time you spend in email, social media and the programs on your computer. It’s fantastic program for understanding more about your online habits. The other great thing about Rescuetime is that you can then use it to help change your online habits. If for example you decided that social media was a distraction and you wanted to limit your time on social media to say 30 minutes a day, you can set up Rescuetime and it will give you an alarm when you are approaching your limit. It’s a very easy way to change your habits.
Rescuetime has a free option and a very reasonable paid option. I used this for a year and then no longer needed it.
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Actionable Tips for you:
Pick a week and track all your time for that week using the template.
Review your activity at the end of this week and see if how you spent your time is how you thought you spent your time.