Tracking your time is essential if you want any chance at being productive.
You might notice there are some days where it feels like you’re working hard all day, but when it’s time for you to clock out, you realize you didn’t get that much work done. It doesn’t make much sense, because you spent all day hovering over your desk and staring at spreadsheets.
Sitting at your desk and staring at your computer screen doesn’t mean you’re being productive. In fact, you’re probably spending more time thinking about something other than work. This is why you need to track your time to boost productivity.
See How Much Time You Waste
The truth is, you’re way more unproductive than you might think.
Chances are you work on a computer and have your phone close by. Computers and smartphones are distractions that act as a gateway to an unproductive day. Surfing the Web creates an illusion that you’re busy and getting things done. In reality, you’re just clicking from one top 10 list to the next. You’re always one click away from spending hours away from your work.
When you track your time, you’ll start to realize how much of your day you spend procrastinating. Actually seeing and tracking your productivity in the form of numbers or charts will add a level of realism that will put everything in perspective. You can do a better job of forcing yourself to be productive once you see how little you actually work.
When You Should Work
You can’t be productive all day long. Therefore, it’s important to know the times of day when you’re the most productive.
When you track your time for a certain amount of days, you’ll notice a trend with how productive you are at certain times. You might notice you are more focused in the morning and less focused in the afternoon. Maybe you’ll realize you can’t get work done early in the morning, but you work well late into the night.
It’s important to know when your brain is the most focused so you can plan your work accordingly. Don’t start something late at night when you aren’t productive after 4 p.m.
Prioritize Your Work
To be productive, you should prioritize everything you have to do so you can finish your most important work. Prioritizing becomes a lot easier when you track your time.
Ideally, you’d want to get the most crucial work done first so you have it finished. However, what if you’re more productive right after lunch? Tracking your time will help you plan out when to do each task.
For example, let’s say you have to do something important that’ll take three hours to complete. You’re most productive from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. If you start that task at 7:30 a.m., then you’ll only get a part of it done. It becomes more difficult to regain your productivity momentum on the same task after an hour and a half of being unproductive. After tracking your productivity, you know that you’ll start it at 1 p.m. because you’ll have ample time to work efficiently.
Accurately Schedule Your Work
Miscalculating the time it’ll take to complete a task is a huge productivity killer. Now everything gets pushed back, and at the end of the day you’ll feel like you didn’t get much accomplished.
Along with the times of the day you’re most productive, you can also track how long it takes to complete certain tasks. This will help you gauge just how long certain tasks should take. Something that you thought should only take three days might be more complex then you originally perceived. Now you know to schedule that task for a week.
Scheduling everything is a helpful productivity trick. You create goals for yourself throughout the day and you’ll be motivated to accomplish these goals. If you appropriately time everything, you will meet every goal you have for the day. Nothing fuels productivity more than feeling productive.
Time-Tracking Software and Apps
The best way to track your time is to use a software or application. Time-tracking software should especially be used when you first start tracking you productivity. This will create a more accurate report.
There are many benefits to using time tracking software. It’ll tell you exactly when you’re productive, when you aren’t productive and what you’re doing when you aren’t productive. You’ll be more self-aware of your own productivity. This will make you realize what you need to change about your workday.
Time-tracking software is also great for management purposes. You can figure out when employees work the best, which will give you an idea of when to schedule work for them. Employees will also increase their productivity if they know their activity is being tracked. You can identify employees that are lazy, so you can make efforts to motivate that person.
Software You Should Use
Luckily for you, there are plenty of time-tracking software and apps available. Toggl is a great app that times how long you’re doing work. You can also keep track of your time manually and enter it in the app later. It’ll create pie charts that will help you visualize your productivity.
RescueTime is a popular program that tracks your online activity. You tell it when to start tracking you, and RescueTime takes care of the rest. You’ll be able to see how much time you spend on social media, your favorite news website and actually working. Use this program so you are fully aware of how you spend your time.
Time to Become More Productive
Understanding how you work throughout the day is vital for productivity. Start tracking your time today to become a more productive person.