- Scott H Young - https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog -

Where Did Your Day Go?

Ever sit down at the end of the day and wonder where all the time went? Time seemed to whittle away and you don’t feel you’ve accomplished anything meaningful. Chances are you probably don’t even feel like you got a chance to relax or enjoy yourself. Don’t just sit there wondering about where your time is going and find out.

Conducting a timelog is probably one of the best ways to improve your productivity. A timelog is simply a precise record of everything you did in one day. Often I am amazed at where my time is really going. That time you just sat down to watch television for a few minutes turns into an hour. You realize you’ve checked your e-mail and RSS feeds far more than new entries are being added. Don’t just guess at where your time is going, know exactly!

To run your own timelog you will need a few things:

  1. A watch. Use your watch to write down the time, as clocks may vary by a few minutes or so, which will distort your results.
  2. A small pocket notepad and pen. You need to be with your notepad constantly. If you have your timelog on a computer program or on a large sheet of paper you won’t be able to easily carry it around with you to fill in entries.
  3. A spreadsheet program. The timelog I conducted on Saturday had 52 entries in it. Unless you want to manually calculate and sort through those numbers, a spreadsheet program for your computer is necessary. Don’t worry if you don’t have Excel (I don’t either), just google “free spreadsheet program” and you will get some entries for some small but free spreadsheet programs. If you don’t know how to use a spreadsheet program, you might need to manually calculate it, this can make things more tedious but it is still worth it.

Next, run your timelog. Here are some tips:

On the next day, start analyzing your timelog data:

Timelogs may give you some insight into where you are losing time, but I think that doing just one timelog will probably not give sufficient information. Conducting timelogs regularly will likely give you a greater insight into what behaviors were simply uncommon for that day and what behaviors occur consistently. I did a timelog yesterday and I plan to run another one in ten days, they may require a bit of work, but they should ultimately save you time.

Go ahead, try a timelog tomorrow. And whatever you say, don’t tell me that you are too busy! 😉