I’m not sure if I know anyone that isn’t busy or at least gives the perception that they’re busy. But do we do anything about it?

Before 2018 starts, I challenge everyone to go through a simple exercise — audit how you spend your time.

You don’t need a fancy tool. A post-it or Excel sheet will do. Here’s how it works…

Document Every Hour For a Week

On your sheet of paper or Excel sheet, have a row for every non-sleeping hour of the day. Write down what you did on every line. You don’t need to write a book or anything, but don’t just put “work” for all hours 9-5. Actually list out the type of work you did hour by hour.

If you didn’t work the full hour, document that. There’s no judging here. This log isn’t going to your boss. The most important thing is to be honest. It’s okay to put “30 minutes doing XYZ and 30 minutes on Facebook” if that’s how you spent the hour.

Make sure you do this in real time. Do not wait until the end of the day and try to think back on what you did. You won’t be honest with yourself and that defeats the whole purpose.

Categorize Everything

At the end of the week, put everything into categories and sum up the hours. I bet you’ll be shocked by how much time is being wasted.

Nobody can or should be productive 24/7. We all need some down time. Our minds need an escape. But I still would bet that 99% of you that go through this exercise will realize how much time you’re wasting.

Make a Goal For the Future

With your baseline week completed, you now can create a goal for next week. This whole process is no different than setting a personal budget or eating plan. Countless studies show the benefit of this.

Document your time again the next week and see if you’re getting more productive. Maybe you’ll want to keep doing this week after week. I personally do it for a couple weeks to get in the right habits, but some may want to continue documenting your time.

It’s an easy exercise to do, and I guarantee you’ll get value out of it. The key to getting more time is to first figure out where you’re wasting it.

Leave a Reply