How many times did you reached 6pm and wondered where all the time went?
About a year ago, I’ve started experimenting with software tools to measure my time. The idea was simple. I needed to know where did my time go. On what projects did I spent the most time, and if possible, identify where it’s been wasted.
Then, learn from it, and be more efficient.
Time management tool I chose
I’ve tried multiple tools. Here is a quick list of the main ones I tried:
- Rescue Time
- and few others…
All of them sort of did the job, but only one really stood out for me: Toggl.
What I like about it is the Toggle allows me to setup multiple workspaces for each of my companies/main projects – including one for “personal tasks”. I can easily add people to these workspaces. And in each workspace I can create tasks, associate them to our clients (useful for billing work) and organize each tasks to be part of projects within these workspaces.
It’s not perfect, but close enough.
Becoming mindful of time
Time is something we waste. There is no doubt about that. But time is finite. With both health and nutrition, time is a key component of our lives – and we should make sure to spend it on things that are worth it.
For the first 10 months, I’ve used time tracking essentially for work tasks. I’ve learned a lot from it. For example, at our agency EPEAK Studio, we are now able to audit the time spent on some client projects. We can answer the question: are we quoting our customers right? We can match the time spent across the whole company, and see if it matches proportionally to the returns we were getting.
Important notion here, “returns” – because it’s not just about money to make things worth it.
Unforeseen effects of tracking time
One of the unforeseen consequences of tracking my time was the reduction in procrastination. Yes, I’m talking about reducing my time spent on social media.
Having to be mindful about my time helped me to reduce my social media consumption. The simple fact of having to initiate a timer for a “Facebook scrolling” task immediately stops you right there. It’s quite effective.
Nobody want’s to have a 8h time-log on Facebook at the end of the week.
Another unforeseen effect of tracking my time was the realization that an effective day at work is not about clocking-in 8 hours of work. A productive day looks actually more like 6 hours. The rest of the time is made up of these switching moments between tasks, tea breaks, etc. And I can tell you, most days where I clocked-in 8 hours of work, these days were truly exhausting. Not recommended.
And you? Do you track your time?