View Full Version : Time Logging
12-09-2006, 12:49 PM
Does anyone have any thoughts on time logging - tracking your time as a means of increasing where it goes and indirectly personal productivity?
12-09-2006, 02:30 PM
Does anyone have any thoughts on time logging - tracking your time as a means of increasing where it goes and indirectly personal productivity?This is one of those things that is common in many time management books. They start by establishing some benchmarks in order to diagnose where current problems might be. Allen's book doesn't do this, which I think is either brilliant or cheating. Brilliant, because it fits into his view that the methods have mostly universal appeal (given his broad definition of "work"), and cheating because he might just be plain skipping an important step.
In the Mission Control workshop I took (more about it here (http://ideamatt.blogspot.com/2006/07/gtd-ers-perspective-on-mission.html)) there was a significant time analysis they participants to do for the week prior to the class. I find these exercises to be rather unpleasant, but potentially useful. In my case I wasn't surprised: I waste some time on the web, along with other "down" time.
I guess it comes down to why you think it might be useful to you. Do you think you need a detailed look at your time usage? It *can* uncover patterns, so it might be worth it for you. You could always try it, then give up if it's too much work...
Just my 2c. Good question.
12-09-2006, 05:31 PM
If "time logging" helps you understand how you spend your time it's worth while (presuming that you intend to do something with the information gathered). The issues I see;
1] Choosing a suitable time period (i.e. 15 min, 30 min etc).
2] Actually sticking to the log once you start.
3] Logging your personal time, along with your professional time.
Finally, there are many professions were time logging for billing purposes is the order of the day.
12-10-2006, 07:51 AM
I log my time for a few days at a time, about once a year. It's helped me to realize how much time I spend goofing off, the time I spend actually relaxing and recharing, and the time I spend working.
Come to think of it, it's mostly helped me realize the ways in which I'm being unproductive. Really big time-wasters (surfing the web, usually, for me) become blindingly obvious.
12-10-2006, 01:33 PM
I have found this a useful exercise from time to time. I used David Seah's Emergent task timer. He originally designed a paper version but then developed a flash version which you can copy to your PC. It works well.
12-10-2006, 02:31 PM
Thanks for the helpful input. I log my time for about a week once every 2-3 months when I feel as if my focus is lagging. I get a burst of productivity almost every time.
I'd like to try it for a month to see if the benefits are sustainable. It takes a real commitment to keep at it if you're not in a profession where you have to bill or otherwise account for your time.
12-10-2006, 03:02 PM
If you want a quick and easy way to log your time, try this:
I bill my time, so I log everything. This little tool made it so much easier to log time during the day.
12-10-2006, 04:48 PM
Define carefully the purposes for which you will use the process and/or outcome of time logging. Some people use time logging to help stay on task. Others need to be able to search readily and add up what they spent on a certain activity. Others may be need precision to becuase they want to try to cut down on how long things take. For example, I found it faster to iron shirts than to have them done by about 3 minutes. No biggy but I was paying about $20.00 a week for that lose of 3 minutes.
12-10-2006, 09:42 PM
I have just downloaded the 3 day trial version of Quanto by Natara. Ay first glance it looks like you have to always be accounting for your time in one category or another, that is there is no "off button", instead you switch categories.
12-11-2006, 07:13 AM
I started tracking my time for each NA in order to use the "balance" feature of Life Balance software, a pie chart showing time spent in each category, analogous to budget pie charts for personal finances. I do not log every minute of the day; rather, I note the time it takes to complete each NA on my lists. The first, most important benefit was that I gained a clear idea of how much time it takes me to complete actions and projects. The second benefit was that I learned how much time I "should" spend in certain focus areas each week in order to keep my longer-term goals on track.
I do not try to identify "time wasters." I don't really care how much time I spend surfing the web, watching TV, or chatting with friends, as long as I do accomplish the important actions and projects I have identified for the day or week.