So You Tracked Your Time. Now What?
After a week of logging all of your activities, you will have an overview of what you did with your precious time. Knowing how to use this information (apart from reporting to your boss) to get better at what you do is not as simple as time tracking can be. As I’ve said in previous articles, time is your most valuable resource, and it’s important to pay attention to how you spend it. Here’s how to use time tracking to make the most out of your workweek.
Become conscious of your time
It all starts with mindset of being conscious of the value of your time and where it is going. It’s very easy to get caught up in your daily activities without realizing how frequently you’re doing something and how long it takes you. By taking a step back and looking at where your time is going, you realize time is a scarce resource. With this in mind, you’ll make conscious and informed choices on what you’re going to spend time on.
Become an expert on your own time
Tracking your time allows you to map how fast you really complete certain tasks. Knowing how long a specific task takes you on average makes it easier to plan activities as accurately as possible. Planning is the foundation of productivity, so having a solid base of information for planning is something that will help you accomplish more.
Most people have a time during the day in which they are most productive. To maximize your benefit from this peak productivity time, it is important to approach it with a game plan: Finding, utilizing and protecting it. Tracking your time and activities makes it a lot easier to find this productivity peak: All you have to do is look at the log of how you have spent your time at what points during the day and find the timeslot in which you accomplished most.
Find things you should up- or downscale
When you have an accurate overview of what you’re spending your time on, it is possible to evaluate what you’re doing too much and too little of. Maybe you spend too much time on a client that is not very profitable for you. Maybe you spend too little time expanding your network. Accurate information allows you to compare your time-spending goals (maximum of 4 hours per week on client X, for example) to reality and adjust your habits accordingly.
All in all, using the information obtained from tracking time is great for the improvement of your planning and subsequently, your productivity. Do you have another good way of using data from time tracking to get better? Let us know!
In the near future I will write an article on how managers can use their team’s tracked time to improve performance.
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