Time tracking can be a great help, no matter what we are doing. Whether we want to improve our productivity at work, or we simply want to learn a little more about what we do through out the day, let alone what our kids are doing, the principles are still the same. However, unless we know what we are doing, the prospect of keeping track of your time can be a little over whelming.
- Paper. One of the simplest ways to track your time throughout the day is to simply write it down. Whenever you begin a new project, or go out to eat, or simply anything at all, write down what it is that you are doing, and when you started it. When you are finished with that particular item, write down the end time. A great tool for doing this on paper is to use a regular paper ledger, similar to what you use to keep track of finances. Write down the start time and end times in different colored inks so that you will know which is which with a quick glance.
- Software. There are numerous different types of software that you can purchase that will keep track of your time throughout the day. While these are a great tool, unless you are doing a lot of work on your computer, there is really no need to get one of these. If you happen to work in an industry where you bill your clients for your time, then this is a vital necessity simply because this will allow you to break down what you have done, how much time it took, and so on for each of your clients, and give them an extremely accurate bill.
- Categories. Whenever you begin tracking your time, you should always create categories for your time. For example, one of the categories you could list would be Entertainment (for when you are doing things for your own entertainment); Eat (for when you are eating); Phone Calls—Business, and Phone Calls—Personal (to help you know which phone calls where which).
- Review. Once you have begun tracking your time, you need to periodically review what you are doing. On average this should be done no more than once a week (if you are really wanting to keep track of your time), and certainly no less than once a month. This will allow you to see exactly what you have been spending your time on, as well as see what can be a distraction from your work.