If you want to make more time you first have to see where your time is going. If you are a stay at home mom it can be easy to let your time slip away. I have so many goals and projects I want to get done, but it always seems that there is never enough time. We all are given the same amount of time every day, but why is it that some people are crushing their goals, while others are not getting anything done at all? When you know how to manage your time you gain control of what you achieve.
Today I am going to teach you how to track your time so you know exactly where your time is going.
Why Time Tracking is Important:
When you track your time, you’re able to actually see where your day is going and what you’re doing. Go to this post here for a free time tracker printable! For example, if you think you are watching Netflix for only one hour, but then you end up watching it for three hours, then you know that your time isn’t being spent in the way you think it is. Time tracking will help you to:
- See how much time you waste on activities that won’t help you to reach your goals
- Plan for and estimate how long tasks will take to complete
- Improve your efficiency by helping you find ways to work faster
- Reevaluate how your time is spent to so you can focus more of your time on your most important goals
- Improve your work-life balance by revealing how much time is spent in each category of your life
How to Start Tracking Your Time
This first step is the most time consuming one, tracking your current time. To see how you manage your time, you will first need to track your time for about a week or two. You can download this free weekly time tracker printable to help you get started!
Take this printable or a notebook with you everywhere or complete it every time you return to your work area. Every day for at least one week, keep a detailed record, diary, or log, of all your activities. Make it simple, write down your task, then write the time when you began that task. Come back after finishing the task and write down when you finished. Be as detailed as you can, so that you can analyze your activities in depth. If it will help you, get the support of your friends and family, and ask them to remind you to record your activities.
If you want you can also download apps such as Toggl or aTracker. They are both free! I love using toggl because it allows you to write down your “project” or category and also what you were working on. They both have one touch start and stop time tracking. It also provides detailed reports of your time tracked as well. I use a mixture of both written and digital to log my time. It makes is easy since you can manually add time. In aTracker you are able to see your day or week in a calendar format, but they only allow you to track up to 5 categories. This would be great if you always have your phone next to you and don’t want to waste paper or a planner to track your time.
By taking this time to track your time you will notice yourself becoming much more aware of time. You will be making a conscious effort to spend your time more wisely. You will notice where your time is going, what to eliminate and how to better schedule your days.
How to Analyze Your Time
After tracking your time for a week, you will need to analyze these records. The primary aim is to see at a glance where your time is going.
Questions to ask yourself:
– Where am I wasting most of my time?
– Are there tasks which I can delegate or get rid of?
– Is there a lot of time where I am just distracted and not productive at all?
– Am I spending too much time or low-priority tasks?
– Am I wasting too much time on my phone, social media, or tv?
– Am I balancing my time well between work and home and family life?
– Am I taking care of myself?
– Am I keeping in touch with friends and family?
With a clear picture of how you are spending your time, you can then move on to the next step.
Learn Your Time Wasters
Identify the activities, events, and periods of time, that is not contributing to your goals. Reduce or eliminate your time wasters. Stop wasting time and effort on these negative and unproductive activities. Stop saying yes to everything! Do things that will benefit yourself and your goals. For me, I knew I had to stop checking my phone in the mornings. I would spend hours just browsing Pinterest and lose track of time. Luckily I noticed that after the first day because once I became aware, I made a conscious effort to not even pick up my phone at all.
Learn When You’re Most Productive
I noticed that I am much more productive when the kids are asleep or are napping. Also after the house was nice and clean. My kids sleep in until about 8:30 am so I always try to get ready, exercise, journal and get some work done before they are up. But how do I possibly get the important things done during those times, which is only a short time period? How do you know what to prioritize and what to get done first? I batch and time-block my work and time! I’ll share more about that in a future post next week! For now, we are just learning about our time, and how to use it to our advantage.
Start Planning for Everything
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to work all day without stopping. This is truly where I suffer. I am a workaholic. If no one reminds me to stop or distract me from working I can keep working for hours nonstop. That, however, is not a good thing. I always end up getting a cold or forgetting to eat! Overwhelming evidence shows that we need to have breaks and that without them our performance deteriorates dramatically the longer we go without. You should plan to take breaks.
Plan for self-care. After tracking my time for a week, I noticed how little I spent my time doing things to take care of myself. I rarely make time to read my books, journal, take a relaxing bath, get my nails done, or exercise! All of that is essential to a well-balanced life. If I don’t take care of myself first, it can be stressing to take care of the rest of my family. I noticed that when I do make time for myself I am in a much better mood around my family, and can do much more for them.
Start Getting More Things Done
Without any knowledge about managing your time, it is without a doubt that you will not give enough attention to your work and personal development. You will allow others to dictate how you spend your time. & You will not use your time to help you reach your goals.
By following the simple, practical, steps outlined here, you will take control of the time you spend at work and home, and take control of the activities that you carry out. This will help you to have an idea of what your day will look like when you have certain tasks to do and how you can be more productive with other tasks. Once you see where your time is going and become more aware of your time, you will be managing your time much more effectively.
I hope you start tracking your time, this is definitely the first step in learning how to better manage your time!