Monday, September 29, 2008

Time Sense: Take Time to Track Time

Ever wondered where does the time go? I think all of us do at one time or other. But if you do it often, it's "Time to Track Time"

1. Track time for at least 2 weeks
  • This is because you might have a bad week, and you want to have an average week
  • Also, when you start out you tend be extra cautious, which does not reflect your real lifestyle
2. Make a note of it everywhere @work, @ office, or in the mall
  • Ofcourse you do not want to be considered weird, so do it discretely: By sending yourself a text message, or jotting down on your notepad (if you are in meeting)
3. Track time in increments: 5 mins, 10 mins or 15 mins increments
  • Each person has different attention span. Some people can focus on one thing for 15 mins, some only for 2 mins. Track accordingly
  • Summarize in terms of "What" you are doing: (talking, dancing, reading) , "Why" you are doing (gossiping, hobby, research)
This is an example of how you can do this from late Prof. Randy Pauch's "Time Management" talk (Nov 2007), with the What and Why columns (activity/function)(The presentation is available @ )

  • Apart from the above columns, also track the names of people involved (spouse, neighbor), and location(house, office).
  • The people and location columns are really vital to know who takes up most of your time.
  • Be as specific as you can of what you are doing

4. At end of 2 weeks, add up and calculate the percentage of hours you spent on things that matter
  • This will tell you where and how you spend majority of your time
  • It might also give more insight into what you like doing most
5. Improve your habits for another 2 weeks
  • If you focus time was only 5 mins, try to increase your focus time from 5 minute intervals to 15 minutes
  • Also try to reduce time waster by atleast 50%, and replace them with good habits: Example if you spend daily 4 hrs on tv, see if you can replace that with exercise and meditation
  • Repeat this till you are satisfied how you spend your time