Time. It’s the only thing that we all have the same amount of each and every singe day. We all wish that we had more of it. It would be great to have an extra hour or two when we are completely rushed off our feet wouldn’t it? Unfortunately it’s not that easy.
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I’ve written a blog post already about how you can use time blocking to plan a productive day – Time Blocking: Plan a Productive Day. However if you don’t know how your time is currently being spent then it might be difficult to for you to block off periods of the day.
I first started to get into tracking my time when I read Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. She shows that with a little prioritizing, you can find the time to sleep, exercise and do the things that you love without sacrificing quality time with family or friends. You know what? She’s right! Since reading the book I have learnt to have a new perspective on how to think about time and my priorities.
BENEFITS OF TRACKING YOUR TIME
Tracking your time can help you to learn about where your time is currently being spent. It can help to establish what you need to improve on and what time you are most productive during the date. A couple of things I have learnt are the following:
- My evening routine could be improved. By time I’ve finished work, cooked and walked the dog I’m ready to settle down for the night. But I could actually spend just one extra hour a night to do something productive.
- I should spend less time planning and more time doing.
- I’m more productive in the morning but to take advantage of this I need to get up earlier!
HOW TO TRACK YOUR TIME
1. Download your time tracking tool.
You can use the free time tracking printable below. If you prefer to track your time on a phone app then Toggl is a great app.
Add 6 categories of your choice in the boxes provided so that you can easily see how you are spending most of your time per day. Use a different colour for each category. Example – red = work, yellow = transport, blue = studying, etc.
2. Track your time in 30 minute intervals.
Do this for a week (including Saturday and Sundays) so that you have an overview of the week. Track literally everything as often as you remember – sleep, work, travel, entertainment, etc.
2. Review your day each evening.
Use the second part of the printable to review your day each evening. Count each unit of 30 mins per category and tally up the results in the 3rd column. The overall results at the end of the week should provide you with an insight into how you spending most of your time.
Once the week is over, you should have a general idea of where the majority of your time is spent and where you need to improve. If you find that your energy slopes in the afternoon then you might want to spend this time doing easy and quick tasks instead.
Now that you know how you want to spend your time, take a look at the Time Blocking: Plan a Productive Day blog post to put your time blocking into action!
Do you have another way that you track your time? Share your ideas in the comments!