One of the most effective ways to control personal time is to track every minute spent for every daily activities. All you need is to mark in your personal organizer what you do during the day, keep personal time tracking with indicating the start and finish of any business.
If you can't figure out where your time is going for and why the evening came before you had time to do at least half of the planned work, then this method will provide you with invaluable help.
The benefits of personal time tracking: identifying the "eaters" of your time
The creator of working time accounting, which is a modern system of time management, is the Soviet philosopher, entomologist and biologist Alexander lyubishchev. He was very clearly aware of the value of every hour of his life and treated time as something material. According to the timekeeping system, he kept a constant, clear and honest tracking of all his time, which led him to the fact that he did not have any moments of “burning” his time and spent it only on valuable activities for himself.
A person who doesn't think about accounting of personal time perform all activities relaxed, and doesn't realize how many minutes or hours spend on them. A person who creates a system for organizing his actions sets time limits for themselves and is able to do other things besides the planned ones.
Controlling personal time tracking helps you to achieve the following goals:
- to improve productivity — if you identify the factors that "eat" your minutes, you can get rid of them by performing only really important tasks;
- to allocate hours for self-development — if all the main activities fit into the allotted 8 hours of working time, you can devote the rest of the evening to yourself and your hobby;
- to become more organized and disciplined;
- to work remotely at home — by controlling your daily routine, you can work remotely as effective as in the office;
- to get a good motivation — the very understanding of tracking every minute of your life and work, makes you feel better about performing your duties and manage the allotted time;
- to prevent time theft — frequent coffee breaks, distractions on phone calls not on business — all this can be shifted to the period when the main scope of tasks will be solved;
- achieving of your goals — every minute will be spent usefully, which means that the result will be achieved faster;
- improvement of emotional state — you will get rid of chronic fatigue, you could plan not only the work but also the rest;
- there is a clear trajectory of your growth — you always have a plan of action;
- control of your life, the feeling of inner freedom that comes from the fact that a person takes responsibility for his life.
All this can be achieved if you get rid of the "time eaters". What is included in this concept:
- uncontrolled viewing of movies and TV series;
- sitting on the Internet, especially in social networks;
- reading entertainment;
- computer game;
- phone chatter about anything;
- empty dreams and fantasies.
After a thorough analysis of your everyday life, it becomes clear where your time goes.
Creating the desired time proportions
Start planning your personal time by creating a plan for its proper allocation. To do this, you need to schematically represent your current activity for further analysis of the results. The best solution in this case is to create a diagram. Excel or Word can help you do this.
You will need a computer, a selected program, and a compiled list of daily tasks. The chart for the week is based on the following diagram:
- 8 columns are created, where the first column represents the time, and the next columns represent each day of the week.
- Enter the name of each column.
- Starts every day of the week with a rise.
- The last — is sleep.
- Then in rows write the main tasks that are performed systematically throughout the day.
- Include the breaks for food and rest.
- When the chart is built, you can start filling it out by the spent time.
During the week, everything that happens during the day must be recorded, literally every hour and every minute. It requires to mark the number of minutes or hours spent on all activities, i.e. to set the time of start and end. Or just use the app for automatic time tracking, which will calculate the amount of time for each category of cases.
If several different were combined into one during the day, this fact should also be noted in the chart. For example, a trip with your family to the theater, when the time to relax with your husband (wife) and children is accompanied by spiritual development.
A week after conducting such an experiment, you need to analyze the current schedule and make a diagram. For clarity, you need to color each segment in a separate color. For example, green color indicates time for family, red — spent on work, yellow — on self-development, and so on. After counting the number of hours that are devoted to performing the main work activity, household chores, implementing personal goals — it's worth to ask yourself if you are satisfied with this situation? As the result you will identify for what you useless spend a lot of free time — for rest in front of TV, online games, thoughts about pipe dreams, talks on the phone, laziness. Or you will realise that professional activity takes much more time than another parts of your life, although they are equally important. You will be able to adjust your personal time allocation plan to achieve your personal desires, values, and goals.
Selecting a program for time tracking
Many programs have been created to track working hours, as well as to monitor personal productivity or team performance, analyze the profitability of projects, and manage your own life. Let's look at some of them:
Personal time tracking during the week
Besides of working for the designated goals, everyone has a number of secondary tasks. They may not be related to any given landmarks, but they are also important for life. This group includes: commute, shopping for food and basic necessities, clothing, taking nap during the day, meals, etc. As a result, it come out that these cases in total take most of the time per day. Also, the difficulty of keeping track of your hours is to be able to recognize time traps and to cope with them. Andre Kukla wrote about mental time traps and divided them into the following categories:
- amplification — when a person performs more than necessary;
- reversion — the next task is performed very slowly because the previous one was failed;
- fixing — detecting some signal to action when a person waits until the last moment for this particular setting to start working;
- perseverance — repeated performance of the same task over and over again;
- advance — an attempt to achieve the result by excessive effort, when at a lower energy cost, you can get the same effect, but a little later;
- resistance — an attempt to change the course of events or change the state of things, knowing that this is impossible;
- procrastination — constantly postponement of things that should be done anyway;
- splitting — trying to focus on multiple tasks at once;
- acceleration — method for rapidly increasing the speed of work;
- adjustment — implementation cases under the influence of impulses;
- formulation — the workflow becomes too emotional and the thought of it prevented to concentrate.
Time traps can be:
- Controlled — meals, getting ready for work.
- Uncontrolled — delay due to traffic jams, flooding of the apartment by neighbors from above.
- Unpredictable — road accidents, meeting delays.
- Predicted — determine delays in advance.
- Individual — constant repeating of the same thing, slow working speed.
To get rid of time eaters is quite real. You just need to learn how to set priorities, as well as cultivate a sense of the time. Nothing else will help you, but the right motivation. It can be a high salary, an attempt to reach a professional level, personal growth, and more.
Draw conclusions between the desired and actual use of time
Many people make a plan, deciding to organize their personal and professional lives, and try to follow it every day. But often such an experiment fails. The thing is that you need to start not with planning, but from tracking of all of your time. It's not wise to make a plan if you don't define the time spent on the most usual everyday activities, such as cleaning, eating, talking on the phone with a loved one, or buying products in the supermarket. It seems that all these small things don't take so much time, but 10 minutes for one, half an hour for another, and another 20 minutes for the third, and as a result, the time goes nowhere.
For the personal time tracking program to be effective, you need to look at things realistically, don't set the bar very high. When making a plan for a week, you should not add thousands of things, no matter how much you would like to do this. They simply won't be completed because of the lack of hours in the day.
You should always start with simple tasks, gradually moving to more complex ones. Step by step, each week will become more productive and easier. The main thing is not to allow yourself to give up at the beginning of the path.
How to motivate yourself to be more effective?
Using online programs for personal work time tracking will be more interesting in game mode. For analysis to be not only exciting, but also accompanied by a sincere desire, it's important to be able to set the right mood for future long-term work. The following steps will allow you to recharge with useful energy:
- to study the biography of successful and rich people who have achieved high results and merits in the field in which you work;
- making a detailed plan of your endeavours and future success;
- making a visualization picture with plans, desires, and dreams. In this case, it's not harmful to dream!
- to create yourself a reward for done work — a trip with friends, going to the movies, buying things, visiting SPA treatments;
- to declare your goals — you need to understand what position you want, what salary will suit you, and so on.
Only after few days of your time tracking, you can create a general picture of the relation of all activities and put them into different categories. Then you need to make the final results of the time resources spending and draw conclusions about how many hours you have given to useful things, and how much were wasted. We are sure that with this method and a useful time tracker, you will definitely achieve the desired effect.