Time Management – Use an Activity Log to Measure How you are Using or Abusing your Time

Do you have any idea how much time you spend chatting to colleagues, surfing the net, reading junk mail and making coffee every day?  A study done in the US found that when people wrote down everything they did for seven days, their perception of how much free time they had doubled. Keeping a log will help you distinguish between time wasting activities and those that contribute to your success.  It will also help you determine when your most productive times are during the day. This will equip you to schedule your most (and least) taxing tasks accordingly.

Using an activity log to measure how you are utilizing your time every day is really simple.

Break your day up into one hour slots, at the turn of the hour; record exactly what you did during the previous hour.  This should take no more than one or two minutes to complete.  You only need to do this for one week to get a complete understanding of how you are spending your time.  The small amount of time you invest into this exercise will be negligible, when compared to the huge benefits which will accrue to you in the future, as you learn to allocate your time far more effectively. You will gain hours every day when you learn to stop wasting time on frivolous activities.

Carry out this exercise of measuring how you spend your time for 7 full days. When you are carrying this exercise, do not analyze or question anything, just record your findings. After seven days look back and try to split the time between, productive and non-productive time. You will astound yourself, with how much time you are productive and the amount of time you waste every week. After conducting this exercise for a week, move into phase two. This requires you to start looking at your day in one hour time slots. Plan your day the night before and try to allocate time as effectively as possible to carry out your priority tasks the next day.

As each hour approaches look at the way you have allocated your time and see if it is the most effective use of your time. If it is not, then look for ways to improve how you use your time. With practice you will gradually become very efficient at allocating how you use your time every hour. Remember this skill is developed daily, never in a day. So be patient and persistent and keep gradually investing time every hour to ensure that each hour is indeed the best use of your available time.

Once you have mastered this art, exploring how you are utilizing your time will become an integral part of your success habit set and you will subconsciously allocate your time as efficiently as possible.. The more often you review your performance throughout the day, the more effective you will become. This may seem very difficult at first, but will like anything; become a habit within about 45 days. The benefits of this discipline are immense and will only take a few seconds every hour.

Give this try and let me know how it goes.   The best way to begin to empower yourself and to build an effective Time, Energy and Activity Management habit set, is to look at your current time disciplines. This is a very thought provoking exercise and well worth the effort required to complete it. Exploring how you are utilizing your available time, must become an integral part of your daily routines and habit set. The more often you review your time disciplines throughout your day, the better equipped you will be to maximize the use of your available time  and the better equipped you will be to leverage the most benefit from your time.

Time and energy invested into preparing for opportunity and ensuring that you utilize your time as efficiently as possible, is well spent, as preparation is fundamental to developing self-confidence and a resolute belief in your abilities and time is your most valuable possession. Both are key to your sustainable success. This is one crucial investment, which can only grow and is free from the ravages of negative sentiment.

Author: Andrew Horton Time Management



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