How To Track Time To Become More Productive
Start to track time today with the right tools to measure your productivity level as-is and start improving it.
Let’s continue with the series about how to become more productive. Today, we’ll look into time-tracking as a tool to achieve more.
It’s not the first time I touch the subject, though.
By keeping your schedule in sight, you can find time to:
But it doesn’t work only in your private life.
Whether you are an entrepreneur or work for someone else, you can also start to track time to become more productive.
Why is it necessary to track time?
If you’re a freelancer, you know the importance of time-tracking very well.
Virtual Assistances, for instance, generally bill per hour. So not only they must be able to provide feedback to their clients about how they used their time, but they also need to make sure they don’t end up working for free.
However, if you earn a fixed salary at the end of the month or you’re your own boss, time is still money in the business world.
And just like money, you don’t want to waste it.
You want to use your minutes mindfully to avoid misspending them or burning yourself out.
My favorite tools to track time
I use different tools to track time depending on my goal and availability.
Here’s my top 5 favorite ones.
One of these tools is RescueTime.
It’s an app you install on your computer and let it do the work for you.
Yes, it is this simple.
If you find it difficult to manually input your hours, RescueTime is the app for you.
All you have to do is install it and edit the settings.
For more options, I recommend its paid version. However, it does have a free alternative that works as fine.
If you have an iPhone, I highly recommend Atracker.
Even if you opt for RescueTime on your desktop, you may need to be more specific about your time tracking.
For example, there’s a huge difference if I’m on Instagram:
- Just browsing my feed.
- Interacting with my followers.
- Sharing a post for the IBA.
The first one is fun. The second is part of my work. The third is one of my responsibilities as a member of the IBA Board of Directors.
While one is not productive, the other 2 are highly productive to me. Therefore, to track time on a deeper level, I use Atracker.
If you use a paper planner or a bullet journal, you may want to track time on it, as well.
I use an Erin Condren Hourly Life Planner for that.
Most of my work is indeed online, but not everything.
I have calls and appointments I don’t want to use Atracker for, but yet, I don’t lose sight of the time spent with them either.
Maybe I was less productive on a day because I spent more time on the phone with my mom than planned or received an unexpected call. But since I write down everything, they didn’t get lost.
If you’re brand new to time tracking, have no clue where to start or don’t know which tool to use, I created a time-tracking sheet for you.
You can download it for FREE here.
With this sheet, you can not only track time on a daily basis, but it contains a guide for your weekly review as well.
Tracking time is a very important step in productivity, however, it doesn’t end here.
Unless you analyze the data collected and start working on it, you can’t become more productive.
If you’re already a member of my Tribe, you can access this sheet in my library.
Finally, I also created a Google Sheet for a monthly review of your progress.
Weekly reviews are ideal to spot issues soon so that you can work on them without delay.
When you take a look back at the month as a whole, though, you can evaluate the big picture.
It gives you an idea of your energy levels throughout the period, helping you plan your projects more mindfully.
You can get the Google Sheet here. You’ll be prompted to save a copy of it on your Google Drive.
Further instructions on how to use it are available on the sheet itself.
What you can achieve if you track time
To be able to solve your productivity block, you must be able to know what it is.
If you don’t tell the doctor what you’re feeling, they can’t prescribe you the required treatment to heal you.
Among other signs, you aren’t productive when, on a regular basis, you:
- Leave tasks undone at the end of the day.
- Cannot keep up with your responsibilities.
- Deliver your work late and miss deadlines.
- Feel frustrated and overwhelmed by your to-do list.
You feel stressed and maybe hopeless, but it doesn’t help you become more productive. The solution is working on what is causing to produce under the expectations.
One of the ways to find out what your main issue is by tracking time.
To be able to start managing your schedule, you’ll have to measure it.
Test the tools I mentioned above and pick the one(s) you prefer.
You may find it cumbersome in the beginning until you make it a habit.
Don’t sweat if you forget to long something in the beginning. Just make sure you do it as soon as possible.
Keep the process simple and automate as much as you can (if that’s your thing, of course).
Ideally, time tracking has to become second nature to you.
You don’t have less hours in your day than those who live the lifestyle of your dreams. You’re just not mindfully using your time.
And if you’re consider yourself quite organized, but still struggle here and there to get all your tasks done without having long days, time tracking is also the answer for you.
Unless your to-do lists aren’t realistic, you’re wasting time somewhere and need to figure out where.
Start to track time today and take a step towards a more productive lifestyle.
Read the other posts in this series:
Disclosure: Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” It means if you click on the link and subscribe or purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Thank you, in advance for your support!
Originally published at Debbie Rodrigues.