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Keeping track of time

For the last few years I've been using a nifty little program called gtimelog to keep track of how much time I am actually working (and in a basic way on what), and how much time I am off work, whether it is for a meal, a personal phone call, random web surfing etc.

One thing I have found is that random non-work distractions can really add up at the end of the day, and they sort of creep up at you: "It's 4pm, wow, did I really only work 1.5 hours so far? I better stay off Wikipedia and Hacker News if I want to get anything done tonight!".

I find keeping track of your time honestly makes it easier to sit down, resist distracting temptations (I.e., it's easier to see how much they really cost) and put in whatever minimum of hours you are committed to working.

Monitoring goals is a bit like flossing. You feel guilty when you go to the dentist and he asks you if you've been flossing. You say no. He says, don't worry, you only have to floss the teeth you intend to keep. Similarly, you only have to monitor goals you intend to reach.

Monitoring how I use my time not only makes it easier for me to set and reach goals, it also makes it easier to feel good about a productive work session at the end of day, when I can see I have met my goal (or exceeded it).

Of course, keeping track of time isn't enough. Working smart (I.e., leverage, efficiency) is just as important if not more important than working a lot. Ultimately, it's not how much you work, but how much you accomplish.

But as a general rule of thumb I have found the following to be true:

productivity = quality of work * quantity of work

Comments

Chris's picture

The true problem is wanting to know EVERYTHING now even if we can't remember it in 24 hours. "What is Bradley Cooper's next film", "how much is a flight to Dubai in January" and "when is Janet Jackon's new album coming out" are all questions that seem to need IMMEDIATE attention, despite not being relevant or of importance to me. I believe the way to avoid time creep is self control :)

Chris's picture

Further to my comment above, and slightly off topic a little maybe, but I find a tool called MyMemorizer insanely useful. I use it to quarantine all my "offline" activity (gigs, travel) and used to even use it for business (as a Sydney based web designer we needed it to schedule clients, before we grew into SalesForce). So there, Mymeomorizer to gain efficiencies, and Google's Block Site if your will power isn't strong enough :) 

Robert's picture

I would recommend you to use Yaware.TimeTracker. I like this app, because it works automatically. I really hate logging time or keep in mind, if I turned the timer on.

VladGets's picture

Yaware.TimeTracker its really good program.

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