Distractions and Time Tracking

Do you ever that weird feeling at the end of the day, when you know you were extremely busy, but you can’t point to any one thing you accomplished? Or do you occasionally wonder where all of your time has gone, and what the distractions were that kept you from accomplishing your tasks & goals?

As someone who loves studying productivity and ways to improve myself, those thoughts come up frequently. As in, on a more-than-once-a-week basis. When the thoughts reach a critical peak I generally try to do something about it, and improve my productivity. Sometimes my changes stick; sometimes they don’t.

Enter Time Tracking Link to heading

Something that I read earlier this week triggered me to start thinking about time tracking again. In This 3-Minute Habit Changed My Life by Laura Vanderkam (found via Pocket), the author talks about how she has been logging her weeks in 30 minute increments for the past few years, and some of the thing she’s learned from it (how many hours a year she’s reading, amount of time spent in the car, etc). It sounds interesting, and useful, but also like a LOT of extra work.

Then I remembered Emergent Task Timing by Dave Seah, something I ran across back in (I think) 2013. At the time I was working for a company where it was useful for me to know the approximate number of hours I was working on a project for each of our customers. I started using the ETT, and logging my work day in 15 minute increments. Was it annoying at times? Yes, definitely. But it also let me see the amount of time I was having conversations with coworkers, handling administrative work, and being distracted by the internet, vs how much time I was actually working.

Farewell Time Tracking Link to heading

Unfortunately, when I started at my current position a few years ago, that habit fell by the wayside. And it kind of makes sense that it did: I was no longer doing contract work, but was instead working for only a single company. Keeping extremely close track of my time was no longer overly important (or at least, that’s what I thought). And that brings us to today.

Today’s a Saturday, so while I was planning to do some work, I mostly intended to take time off and relax. Except, I also intended to relax by getting somethings done around the house. I’ve accomplished a few things, but not as much as I wanted to. And so, I’m seriously considering either using the ETT method again, or attempting to use the 30 minute spreadsheet. I would like to have a general idea of where I’m spending my time, and especially my idle time. I haven’t completely made up my mind yet, though when I do, I’m sure I’ll blog about it!

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload (Day 15/100). You can join in yourself by visiting https://100DaysToOffload.com.