Tracking My Time For A Day

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. ― Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect
I have been reading this book called, ‘Compound Effect’ by Darren Hardy. It is an amazing book and I wholeheartedly recommend it. One of the things that he recommends that everyone should do as soon as they can, is track their time. It doesn’t matter what kind of worksheet or excel document you use to track your time.
The important thing is track your time. He recommends to track your time for a week, but as you can seen from the title, I was only able to keep it up for a day.

But even though, I only tracked my time for a day, I gained great insights from it.

Nothing that I didn’t already know, but it solidified it even more for me.

  • Even though I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, I accumulated 2 hours of Facebook time, through all the little snippets throughout the day.
  • I spend way too much time thinking about food, preparing food, and eating food. I don’t know if that is a normal thing for most people, but I seriously need to rethink how much of my energy is spent on food.
  • My time tracked is going to be completely different once I have a job, but it was still nice to see how I spend my sitting around at home days.
  • I spend way too much time driving from place to place, when I do end up going out, but this is something that is unavoidable in the metropolitan city of Toronto.
  • I realized how complicated it is to put a number and value on a lot of things I do throughout the day. I might spend an hour reading an article that I really enjoy, but I cannot say that it really resulted in any fiscal value for me. I might spend an hour watching a TV show while sitting with my siblings – it might be considered a waste of time by most standards, but I consider it valuable time spent with my family.

Just like tracking your expenses makes you reconsider spending something because you don’t want to add it into your book, or tracking your food intake in a diary makes you reconsider every morsel of food you eat, tracking your time can work the same way. It acts as a deterrent when you are about to do something really bad.

Whenever I would think about going on Facebook after tracking my time for that day, I would think about how I could be spending my time otherwise.

I could be learning something new, or spending time with a friend face-to-face.
I also realized that everyone has their own definition of what a time-waster would be. For me, spending 2 hours on driving to yoga and taking a yoga class is not a waste, but time spent well. For someone else, it might seem like a completely waste of time to spend 2 hours on yoga, when they could be lifting weights at home. Time, like money, and religion, is a really personal thing. Not everyone has the same view of what time spent well is. Tracking your time isn’t so that you can follow someone else’s definition of time.
If you believe that the 2 hours you spend on Facebook are a valuable way to spend your time, connecting with friends and your favourite pages, then that is true for you and you should keep on going on that path. Just because a self-help guru like Darren Hardy, condemns all TV watching and social media networks, doesn’t meant that it is true for you and your way of life.
The most important thing that came out of tracking my time is that it made me stop in my tracks, reevaluate what I was about to do, and make smarter decisions on how to spend my time. I know the effects of tracking my time will last a few months, so I will try this exercise again in a few months to keep the learning going. I hope you get a chance to try this out on your own time as well. It is a simple thing to do, but it gives a lot of useful insights.

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7 thoughts on “Tracking My Time For A Day

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Was interesting to read and very true you actually don’t realise how much time you have wasted until you keep a track of it and that’s when you realise the value of time, once it’s gone; it’s gone… Thanks.

  2. I am into my third week of tracking my time and it has been eye opening. I decided I needed to look at how I was spending my time so I could find ways to be more productive. Since going self employed I have been on a quest of finding the best way to utilize my time and stay on track. This has been a great method for not only finding the time wasters but also helping me find my more productive times of day, the best times to practice yoga and setting a sleep schedule.

      1. I am a family photographer. I have always worked for someone else so being self employed for the first time I was concerned about being productive with my time. It’s easy to become distracted when you work from home. Keeping the log has really helped me stay on track with my personal & business goals. Plus it’s a great way to see how long I spend on editing, making a photo book, etc. (Although I have to admit I have found myself slacking despite keeping the log, that I blame on the cold weather – it makes me want to hibernate 🙂 )

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