Time Management Tip: Take Note of Your Time

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Do you wonder how you spend your time during a normal day?Image of different time notes

Are you looking to a better manage your schedule and calendar?

Today’s post urges you to literally take note of your time to help you better manage your time.

Here’s some information to get you started and to help interpret your findings:

Preparing to Take Note of Your Time

Select a day to time.

This should be a normal day that is par for the course. There shouldn’t be anything too unusual about this day as you are trying to gauge how you spend your time on a typical day.

Figure out how you are going to take notes.

You can track your time using paper and a pen or you can opt to use free time tracking software available online (do a search in your favorite web browser). Whichever method you choose, make sure you are comfortable using the tools at hand.

Make a list of tasks.

To make things a bit easier on yourself, you can create a list of tasks that you’ll track throughout the day. You might include eating, sleeping, bathing, dressing, exercising, working, talking on the phone, texting, using social media, emailing. Otherwise, you can just plan to track your tasks and actions throughout the day as you perform them.

Have a clock or timer handy.

Be sure to have a clock or timer handy to track your progress.

Taking Time Notes

Set your clock or timer to go off every hour.

At the top of every hour take a few moments to mark down how you spent the past hour. If you are traveling or don’t have access to a clock or timer throughout the day, you can track your time for the past couple of hours whenever you’ve finished eating a meal.

Take notes of tasks and actions performed.

Don’t worry about getting into the nitty-gritty details of your day, instead take a general sweep. General estimates are fine for the purposes of this exercise. Mark down the tasks and actions you completed as well as how long they took. You might write: 7:00am-8:00am work out at the gym, 8:00am-8:30am shower and breakfast, 8:30am-9:00am drive to work, 9:00am-10:00am conference call, and so on.

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Interpret Your Findings

Take a general review.

Take a look at your notes at the end of the day. How did you do? Where did you spent the most time/least time? Are you surprised at how you spent time during your day? If not, why not?

Look for patterns & trouble spots.

Did your tasks or actions fall into a particular pattern in how you spent your time? For example, after meals did you do some work for a while and then find yourself hopping on your favorite social media site and then going back to work again? What other information can you gather from your day? Which tasks or actions seem to have taken up more time than expected?

Use your notes to help better manage your time.

Out of all the notes you took during the day, which tasks or actions seem to stand out as sore thumbs? What potential steps can you take to reduce the time spent on a task or action? You could learn how to work more efficiently on certain tasks, reduce, limit or completely cut out tasks or actions, hire someone to take care of a task or errand for you, or practice being aware of the passage of time.

Now to you…Have you ever taken note of how you spend time in a typical day? What did you find? Do you think you’ll try taking time notes in the near future? Need help interpreting your results? Leave a comment below and join in the conversation!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.