Tag Archive: logging time

Productivity Chat

March 17th Chat Highlight

Storified by Sheila Hawkins· Sun, Mar 17 2013 16:03:20

Are you focused for the coming week?

Ready to get focused for the coming week and get to-dos & calendar in order? Now’s the time. #productivitychatSheila Hawkins
If tomorrow’s calendar and to-do list looks like Friday’s (same stuff) it’s time to do something different #productivitychatSheila Hawkins

Name your time wasters

Name your time wasters–big and small. It all adds up. #productivitychatSheila Hawkins
10 minutes here, 20 minutes there… #productivitychatSheila Hawkins
Q1: how much time are you wasting daily and why? #productivitychatSheila Hawkins
The average professional wastes 1.5-2 hours every day just looking for things. 7.5-10 hours each week of precious time #productivitychatSheila Hawkins
What’s your biggest time waster? #productivitychatSheila Hawkins

Something to help you identify your time wasters

Identify your biggest time waster by logging how you spend your time for about a week… #productivitychatSheila Hawkins
Look to see how you’re spending your time to see if you’re focusing on the things that need your attention #productivitychatSheila Hawkins
Use this simple tool to help you log your time and identify your biggest time waster http://ow.ly/j6Hj3 #productivitychatSheila Hawkins

If you caught Part 1 of “Where does Your Time Go?” you got access to the daily time log.  If you downloaded and used it to see where your time was going over period of a week, you’ve got some data that you can use now.

Look at each day’s log and note what you see.  Where is your time really going; are you spending it on what’s important to you?  Are you giving time to the tasks that will help you accomplish your goals? If not, what’s in the way?  Are there any patterns that you notice with regard to the things you’re doing? What kind of interruptions are you faced with and how are you dealing with them?  Do you always stop to accommodate people when they come into your office and if so, look to see how much time you spent during the week that you logged just dealing with interruptions.  That time adds up very quickly.

What happens at particular times of the day?  If you’re not getting the important things done, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions:  What’s keeping you from getting things done and is procrastination at play? Are you making time to plan or is your focus on rushing and putting out fires because of a lack of planning?  What habits are supporting you and which ones are hindering your productivity?  Be completely honest about what you see in the big picture.

You can also create a time map to see how much time you’re spending in each area of your life.  Perhaps you want to see how much of your week is spent on work and how much time you’re actually spending on yourself.  We all know that for the majority of people who don’t really know where their time is going, not much is allotted for “me time”.  So sad, but true.  This might not look so pretty on paper, but it’s so important to know and well worth the time it takes to do it.

What things do you see in your way?  Procrastination, interruptions; maybe it’s a lack of planning.  These are indicators that some new habits should be created.  Look at what you’re procrastinating on and learn why you’re procrastinating; learn how to handle and minimize the interruptions and get into the habit of planning.

Looking at how you’re spending your time will give you a clue as to how you’re relating to time.  Once you know that, you can set the stage for improving that relationship.  If you’re not spending time on the important things, then shift gears and your focus so that your time is spent working on the important things, because after all, if you’re not working on the important things, what’s the point?

Making time to discover where your time is going is an important step toward effective time management and it’s just the beginning.  Remove the unimportant things from your to-do items.  Doing so won’t happen over night, but it is possible.  Next, discover your time management personality and choose a time management tool that fits your personality and use it in your regular planning along with other tools and habits to complete a solid time management system.


As a society, we waste a lot of things including time. Most of the things we waste we have in excess, but not time.  We each get the same amount of time each day and once it’s gone it’s gone for good.

How much of your time are you wasting?  Do you honestly know where your time is going?  Are you wasting the estimated 2 hours of time that most people waste every day?  That 2 hours every day can add up pretty fast.  The truth of the matter is that most people don’t really know where their time is actually going every day.   So, how do you know you’re wasting a significant amount of your precious time?  Here are a few indicators:

  • Messy desk, cluttered work space, things not filed
  • Not being able to find things
  • Missing, being late for or often rescheduling appointments
  • Arriving to meetings unprepared
  • Tired and/or unable to concentrate

If these indicators are present, it’s time to get the clutter off of your desk, file things in an orderly manner and start planning ahead of time.  It’s also time to get a hold on your time.  Start by logging your time each day.  From the beginning of your work day to the end, log how you’re spending your time including the time that you spend on the phone, time online, and everything else that you do during the course of your day.

Do this for about a week then look back at your time log.  What do you see?  You might see that you spent 4 hours on a major project, but you know that 30 minutes of that time was spent looking for something related to it before you could even get started.  Maybe phone calls lasted longer than necessary and instead of it taking 15 minutes to make a couple of quick phone calls, you spent 30 or 45.  Perhaps you jumped into your inbox first thing in the morning (not a good habit by the way) and when you looked up you had spent over an hour and hadn’t gotten anything done.

Look at the things that are sucking up your time and create solutions for them.  That might mean organizing your office space and or files so that you can locate things when you need them or setting a couple of designated times to check your email each day instead of diving in first thing and going back whenever your email notification goes off.  As you look at how you’re spending your time, look to see if things are balanced.  You might see that you’re spending more time on administrative things and not so much time on your marketing.  Once you know where your time is going you know where to start to gain control of it and manage it well.

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