One Simple Concept That Will Triple Your Productivity in 2017
“What gets measured, gets managed.” --- Peter Drucker
How can you be more productive?!
Well, that is the million-dollar question, no?
And there are answers out there. An infinite array of answers. Way too many in fact to be useful and effective.
If you were to start reading productivity articles and tips exclusively, 2018 will roll around and you would still be reading. Let’s try to take a step back and examine the root cause of the problem.
Productivity means getting the most out of your time, right? So why not reframe your relationship with time?
To put it simply, to get more out of your time, you have to know where you’re spending it.
Which brings us to the simple, incredibly powerful idea of time tracking.
Without tracking your time, your days and months can blend into each other. If you didn’t achieve your goals in 2016, you’re probably guilty of this. When you objectively assess your day and find that you’re spending 2 hours browsing Facebook and reading random “informative” threads on Reddit, it’s easy to see how you can fix this.
In 2017, you’re going to get better at managing your time. You are going to take back control and stop letting your life pass you by.
The Power of Awareness
You’ve probably read about the idea of food tracking – journaling every single meal or food item that you consume throughout the day. The very idea of mindfully considering what you’re going to put into your body triggers a series of micro-decisions that nudge you towards eating healthier.
Time tracking works in the same way.
If you’re not getting enough done, you need to seriously reassess how you spend your days. When you’re weighing the momentary pleasure of browsing your Facebook feed with the pressing desire to improve your life situation, it becomes easier to be productive.
How will tracking my time help?
Glad you asked. Time tracking isn’t easy, and it isn’t a magic bullet, but there are several life-changing benefits it offers for those who use it regularly.
1. It offers you a series of concrete solutions.
There are several things that might be draining your time currently. Your social media habit, social circle engagements, needless meetings, Netflix etc.
Something magical happens when you start tracking your time. For example, if you realize that Facebook is taking up too much time, you block it.
If you realize you’re not getting enough time during the day, wake up earlier.
If smartphone notifications are constantly interrupting your train of thought, turn them off or keep your phone out of sight.
2. You understand that you’ve been spending too much time on certain tasks.
We all know people who are constantly busy. But what if this busyness wasn’t a measure of productivity, but a symptom of failing to manage time properly?
If you think you’re “too busy” right now, maybe you’re inflating the amount of time certain tasks take. For example, buying groceries might only take 45 minutes, but you’re currently spending 90 minutes doing it. You might be spending a couple of hours each morning reading and responding to emails. But if you really examined your inbox, you might realize the important emails only take 30 minutes.
Once you start tracking your time for a few weeks, you’ll come to understand that you have been overestimating how much time certain things take and are losing a lot of hours in the process.
3. You realize you’ve been underestimating how much time you waste.
“Let me quickly check my phone to see how many likes my Instagram picture got.”
“Let me quickly fire up my Twitter/Facebook to see if there are any important notifications.”
“Let me play a couple of rounds of Candy Crush for a quick break.”
Things like household chores require you to physically move around the house, making them susceptible to overestimation. On the other hand, checking your phone or those three tabs you’ve opened up in another browser window feel instantaneous and can therefore take more time than you expect. When you tally up all of the times you’ve quickly checked your phone to do this or that, you’ll find that you’ve spent a couple of hours doing absolutely nothing.
What can you do with an extra two hours every day? A lot.
4. It makes you accountable for your actions.
When you’re tracking your time, you can no longer trick yourself into wasting time. Right now, you may not even notice the hours fly by as you’re browsing Reddit. But when you have to track your actions, you have to write down that you spent an hour killing time on social media. You have to see it, and you have to feel the guilt that comes from acknowledging your actions.
This guilt, this uncomfortable feeling that you get when you’re tracking the wasteful use of your time will serve as your anchor to be more productive. Looking at your usage of the 24 hours available in a day will make you accountable to yourself.
5. It enables you to get more done.
When you’re tracking your time, you will discover that you’re currently doing much less than you can. All of the wasted hours and intermittent work have led you to believe that you’re very busy. But you aren’t.
When you realize that you have a lot more time to work with, you can add additional tasks into your day. You might find you have time to exercise, spend time with your loved ones and spend a couple extra hours working on your business.
6. It helps you focus on the task at hand.
Multitasking doesn’t work. Period. When you’re constantly cycling through a bunch of different tasks, you are hampering your brain’s ability to perform any of them optimally.
I’m convinced. How do I start tracking my time?
There are several great time-tracking tools available online for your laptop/desktop or smartphone.
· RescueTime – This is a great program that works in the background and logs how much time you’re spending on certain websites and apps. It also has a lot of useful reports and tracking features that will help you understand how you’re using your time.
· Toggl – A nifty web app that allows you to categorize tasks and set goals.
· Evernote – Everyone’s favorite note-taking app can also be used as a time tracker. Just use it as a digital time-tracking notebook.
Here are some things to remember when you’re tracking your time.
· Be honest – If you aren’t, there’s no point to this exercise.
· Be consistent – To really get the benefits of time-tracking, you have to do it regularly.
· Be meticulous – The more meticulous you are about logging your time, the more effective this method becomes.
As a business owner, there are several time-consuming tasks that you deal with on a regular basis – invoices, contracts, lists, lead tracking etc. If you could automate these tasks, you would have a lot more time on your hands to grow your business. This is why we created Dubsado for independent professionals like you. With Dubsado, you can easily automate several aspects of your business so you can rest easy knowing these tasks are taken care of. Like magic.
Here’s to a supremely productive 2017. Make this one count.