I Tracked How I Spent my Time for a Week, and Why You Should Too

I was in my office when my colleague visited me. We had a conversation on events that transpired when the resort we’re working with decided to close due to the pandemic.

He said that for the past 3 months, he didn’t have any money in his pocket. He has an impressive credential, he has been in the industry for decades, he has tons of connections, he has a start up business and he also has will to prosper. I told him that if I have his skills, experience and network, I might have already conquered the world.

When he left, I reflected. I wondered what went wrong? What was lacking? Am I also in this kind of situation?

I am a sucker for self development. I set goals for my self, I like learning new things, and I expose myself to self development contents. Yet somehow, like my colleague, sometimes, I feel frustrated that I’m not progressing.

I decided to track my time spending habits. I have my routines and schedules alright, however, I have not taken time to see whether they are aligned with my goals.

I did this for a week, and I decided not to download any app. Instead, I wrote everything down on notes app on my phone.

I determined categories on how I wanted to spend my time:

  • Devotion (i.e. practicing faith)
  • Relationship (i.e. socialising)
  • Self care (i.e. working out, pampering self)
  • Self development (i.e. journalling, meditation)
  • Professional development (i.e. trainings, classes)
  • Work (day job)
  • Business (side hustles)
  • Blog (i.e. maintaining blog and social media platforms)
  • Maintenance (i.e. chores)
  • Play (i.e. unwinding, watching videos, scrolling down on social media)

I’ve also determined my time allocation. Ideally it looks like this:

  • Devotion – 5%
  • Relationship – 10%
  • Self Care – 5%
  • Self development – 5%
  • Professional development – 5%
  • Work – 48%
  • Business – 8.5%
  • Blog – 8.5%
  • Maintenance – 3%
  • Play – 2%

After a week of time tracking, this is my result:

  • Devotion – 5%
  • Relationship – 6%
  • Self Care – 5%
  • Self development – 3%
  • Professional development – 4%
  • Work – 42%
  • Business – 5%
  • Blog – 2%
  • Maintenance – 7%
  • Play – 11%

It turns out that I’ve been spending a lot of time performing tasks under maintenance and play categories.

Under maintenance, I spent a lot of time doing my laundry. I stay in a hotel room so I don’t own a washing machine. Before COVID-19, someone’s doing my laundry. Now, I prefer doing it myself. Looking at things, I have to reconsider my options.

I’ve also been stressed lately with work, resulting to lot of play time.

I’ve always wanted my blog to grow. But how will it grow when I spend only 2% of my time on it? Same goes with Relationships, Self development and Professional development categories?

It was clear to me that my ways has to change. I am now working towards following my ideal time allocation. I’m looking at also combining two tasks at a time like than scrolling down on social media (play) to unwind, I’d read books (self-development) instead. Or, instead of watching a movie (play), I’d watch informative content (professional development) instead.

Through this experiment, I have learned to:

1. Be more mindful on how I spend my time.

I initially thought I was spending my time wisely as I try to follow my routines on a regular. It turns out, a lot of time was allotted to activities that are less important to me. I have to work on things out and get back on track, if I wish to achieve my goals on projected time.

2. Prioritize.

Time is gold. There’s only 24 in a day. If I really want to achieve something, I have to ensure I spend more time doing or perfecting it.

3. Ditch multi-tasking

I’ve noticed that I take a lot of time finishing a task if I multi-task. Aside that, multi-tasking made it difficult for me to log my activities accurately. As the week progress, I find myself focusing on accomplishing single task at a time.

This had been insightful. Should you do it too? Yes, I highly recommend.

We tend to always complain that we do not have enough time. After this, you’ll have a better understanding on what’s eating your time up and allows you to realign your activities with your goals.

To summarize :

I have decided to track my time in a week.

To do this you have to:

1. Set your “time” categories and allot values for each.

2. Identify the tools you’ll need to track your time.

3. Track your time spending as accurately as possible for a more reliable results.

4. Analyze your data.

I have learned to:

1. Be more mindful on how I spend my time.

2. Prioritize.

3. Ditch multi-tasking

Should you do it too? Yes, I highly recommend.

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