It’s been a fast-paced season here at Vibrant Content with several new projects on the go. One thing I’ve found helpful during the blitz is time tracking. In Shave 10 Hours Off Your Work Week, Michael Hyatt observes how we take precautions to stop people from robbing our possessions – but regularly and willingly let ourselves be robbed of time. Time tracking has been a good way to keep the pickpockets away. My wife suggested I start tracking my time in late 2014 and I’ve basically annotated my work day in 15 minute increments ever since.
Two years in, here’s what I’ve learned:
- Time tracking helps me know when to quit. It guards against overwork. When I’ve reached a weekly target, it gives me permission to knock off early and romp around with the kids.
- It demystifies the “what did I do today” feeling (that regularly comes around 5:00 pm) with a more concrete record of accomplishments.
- It’s really helped me assess how long a new web or graphic design project will take. My estimates are much more bang on than two years ago.
- It helps minimize distraction during the work day – all those diversions add up on the chart.
Time tracking isn’t for everyone. But I’ve found it surprisingly liberating. If this is the sort of discipline you need, I’m happy to share my home-brew Excel sheets or an online service like Toggl could help. Freelance blogger Lewis Parrot has also written an in-depth review of Toggl that you may find helpful.