Where does all the time go? Are you having trouble finding time to complete all of your work AND enjoy your favorite leisure activities?
This very simple Time Tracker exercise is an ideal way to:
Understand how all of your time is being spent.
Remove the tasks that are wasting your time.
Ensure that you are completing all of your priorities each week and leading your ideal life.
1. Track your time for 7 straight days.
Keep a running record of how you spend every minute of your day (See example below)
9a-10a - Client Meeting
10a - 1030a - Write Programs
1215-1235p - Walk to lunch
1235-1255p - Eat lunch
6p-715p - Workout
8p - 10p - Watch TV
1015p-6a - Sleep
6-615 - Wake up, take dog out, feed dog
615-630a - Prepare and eat breakfast
630a-7a - Shower, dress for work
7-730a - Walk dog
730a-750a - Commute to work
750a-805a - Walk to get coffee
805a-835a - Check email
835a-850a - Client Phone Call
850a-9a - Facebook
I recommend recording your data on your phone (ideally in Excel) so you that you can easily sort and categorize the time at the end of your tracking period.
2. Categorize Your Entries
List a category for each event listed
Use categories that best match your normal routine (i.e. Study, Email, Scheduling, Commuting, Accounting, Social Media, Watching TV, etc)
Come up with a daily and weekly total of how many minutes you are spending for each category
3. Remove the Waste
Make the tough calls and eliminate the wasted time-sucks that are holding you back.
Sometimes this can be an easy decision like TV and sometimes it may be a tougher one like your commute.
4. Create Multi-tasking Opportunities
Come up with ways to combine categories and ‘get two birds with one stone’. Try some of these ideas:
Podcasts during your commute.
Client calls while walking to coffee.
Walking meetings with your team.
5. Calendar and Schedule Your Top Priorities
To ensure that you are taking care of your most important tasks each week, add them onto your calendar, along with all of your other tasks. A calendar of events will out perform a list of tasks every time.
These priorities should include everything from workouts and meals to down-time and sleep. You must take care of yourself as a first priority.
Say goodbye to, “I don’t think I have the time to do that”,
and say hello to “Let me get that on my calendar.”