The quick version: Tracking your time makes you more efficient and you get more done. Skip to the end to find a downloadable tracker.
Do you find yourself thinking you just don’t have time to do something?
That your to-do list just seems to keep growing as if by magic?
I’m terrible for it. Every so often I’ll have a little meltdown that I have too much to do, no time to do it, and I don’t know where my time goes. That’s the danger zone for me – where does it go?
If you’re studying, working, a small business owner, self-employed, whatever, we’re all subject to it. Pick up your phone and half an hour’s gone on social media as you’re sucked into the Youtube vortex.
I read about time tracking in several places. One is the 100 Day Goals from the Business Bakery blog, and the other is Laura Vanderam’s book “I know how she does it“. Vanderam’s book came at a great time for me; I was mid-meltdown and wondering how I’d ever get anything done beyond the teaching job. I had all these dreams but didn’t seem to have the time.
It’s based on a series of interviews, discussions and studies she’s done with women who’ve tracked their time across several weeks and she discusses the findings – worth a read to see how successful people spend their time!
I don’t do this every day but filling in a tracker for a week or two can be really revealing. Below is an example of one I’ve used recently:
I’ve worked on a different version since then and it’s at the bottom of this post as a download (pro tip – print at 55% for a bullet journal friendly version!)
I’ve found it makes me more efficient (because there’s nothing worse than not being able to write something because you don’t know what you were doing!), It also makes me feel better because I see where my time goes. That gives me back control. I can see that I’m spending time productively, that I am NOT (contrary to what my brain thinks) dossing about on the internet or playing phone games, but that I simply have a lot to do. And armed with information, I can make choices. Like leaving work half an hour later – I get the work done there instead of home but have a shorter commute, which I class as a win. I can see that some weeks are just busy. I can see that when I do admin in the morning I have a less productive afternoon.
Give it a try – I’d love to see some in the comments about how you’ve got on! I’m going to use it for a bit and will report back.