This can be suuuuuuuch a boring topic, and I know as a Bullet journaler we track things like mood and habits and it gives us more insight into our habits and how often we do something. But often (and according to the quick survey on Insty) we found that 62% of the 2541 people that answered DONT track their time! And that of that 70% wanted to know more about effectively tracking their time. So how do we do it? How do we manage our time effectively? How do we make sure that we are getting the best out of our day?
Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.
– Peter F. Drucker, The Effective Executive
One of the things about time management is the fact that as we get older, time becomes a finite resource, one that quickly dissapears when not managed. If you only had 1 litre of water to drink during the day, I bet you would use it sparingly. But we don’t do that foe time. In basic project management, Time is considered a resource just like people and money. And back in 2011 a published paper came out about how in the Sustainability realm, time was the 4th diminishing resource after Environment, Social and Financial. Being effective and intentional with your time management, shows people that you also respect their time, and by being punctual, or making sure you aren’t wasting time on frivolous things, you are actually giving the gift of presence and time back to people.
Why is it important?
There are piles and piles of benefits for why time management is important. A study in 2010 indicated that time management increased a sense of well being, the also noted that prioritising time, and setting aside at least 1-2 hours a day for yourself, saw huge increases in productivity and well being. By managing your time, or even understanding what you spend your time on, you are better equipped to make changes to be more effective at whatever it is you are aiming to achieve. The point is, how can you improve productivity or time management, if you dont know what you are spending your time on?
Benefits of time management
So lets get down to some of the really key benefits you can see from time management, there are heaps! And many studies have shown how beneficial time management is for you – a simple google search can show you that.
- With more control of your time comes less stress.
- It helps you become more clear about your goals and more focused
- You’re more organised and less likely to “forget” things or “be late”
- You can priorities time to where it matters most.
So how do we actually time manage?
There are a couple books you can buy – but we are going to break this down into smaller bite sized chucks. Laura Vanderkam covers off how to track your 24hrs a day for a week. Its a great read if you want to get a start on really managing your time. There are a couple of weird points in the book like “time with friends or relaxing is time waste unless you are multi tasking – for example going for lunch with a friend because you have to eat anyway” or getting you “personal assistant to manage your time – lol! – hands up if you have PA!? Because i sure as hell don’t!”
So anyway – what I do like about it is that for 168 hours you track your time out. Be clear about what you are tracking, be intentional and be smart about it, be descriptive. For example last week I spent 15 hours in meetings (OMFG) and 9hours responding to emails (OMFG 2x) So the best way to do it is to start off with a grid and track an average week. Be clear about it. Intentional. Once you have a rough Idea of what you are spending your time on, look at what is taking up to much of your time and either think about better ways to do it or completely eliminate it. For example you might go grocery shopping every two days, and take 1hour each time. You could essentially do all your meal planning at the beginning of the week, and order your food online, eliminating that walk around the super market. There will definitely be ways you can get rid of some wasted time.
Once I’ve tracked my time, I think about how I would like my perfect week to look. I include all the aspects I love, time for goals or time for things that really matter to me.
Ways to track your time in your Journal!
So lets look at some easy ways to track your time. I am going to break it down into 4 really easy parts.
Part 1: Hexodex
The Hexodex is a really easy way to see your time upfront. You can divide it into 12hr blocks or 24 hour blocks. Here I’ve shown 2 ways of using the hexodex. @Paperki created a really fun way to track time and its just taken off #hexodex to check out all the great ways its been used.
Part 2: The Clock Tracker
This is really simple, visual and effective for you to track time your time. Start with a circle, divide it up like a clock. The inner circle is for AM and the outer circle is for PM.
Its pretty simple and you could easily add 2 more outer circles if you want to track someone elses time.
Part 3: The Chronodex
This looks more complicated than what it actually us, and we go into detail on using the chronodex here.
In summary, the reason people love it is because it kinda looks like a cool digital dashboard in your journal. To create my chronodex I used the Jaydens Apple Stencil.
In summary it is supposed to look like a clock, and is great for those of us who multitask! You can display meeting times during your work times (for example the 2-3pm slot) and you can easily “zone out time” to be more productive or focused.
Part 4: The Spirodex
Simply another tool to visually tack time. This time in a spiral of 24 hours. Again I used the Jaydens Apple Stencil
I like this because it gives you a bit of space to add key priorities or events. Its simple, visual and effective.
Some examples of people who have effectively tracked their time in their bullet journal!