Keeping Time – Try It

 

Honestly, there are few more eye-opening undertakings in business than keeping your own time. You may not actually need to keep time to get paid for your work, but even if you don’t have to, I think everyone should…at least for a week or so.

It’s very revealing.

There tends to be a discrepancy between the amount of time we think we work and the actual time we are actively engaged in working. This is because we’re not machines. It’s also because we have a gazillion interruptions throughout the day, whether we work from home or in an office.

If you’ve never kept time, I encourage you to do so. It will help you get a handle on your productivity and your potential. For one week, give it a try.

Basically, keeping time means you clock in and clock out – you write down the time you start working on a project and the time you end. You repeat this as often as you need to for the duration of your work time.

Every time you stop working on the project for whatever reason – the doorbell rings, you get a text, your dog is eating the sofa – you jot down the time you stop. Then when you sit back down again and begin work on the project once more, you write down the start time. Then you add up all those minutes to get your total.

Say you sit down at 10:00AM to work on Project A.  At 10:13AM, the phone rings. You jot down “10:13″ and then get the phone. Say the call lasts until 10:30. When you are settled back down to work on Project A, write down 10:30.  Then you need to use the bathroom at 10:40 so you write down “10:40″ and go use it. When you get back, you write down the time you start again on Project A.

It can be a bit embarrassing to note that you only actually worked, say, 37 minutes out of the hour, or that your “workday” totaled only 3 hours and 17 minutes.

Rather than let this get to you, use the data to improve your work.

For instance, this may help you get a handle on how much work you can take on. If a project is going to take you 4 hours, for instance, then you can be a step ahead by recognizing that you’ll need 5 actual work hours to get that done.

Keeping your time once in a while can only be of benefit. It will keep you firmly grounded in reality!

 

 

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