It’s really important for us to accurately quantify how long we spend on certain activities, because it’s very easy to overestimate or underestimate how productive we are.
Since mid March this year, I’ve been tracking how long I’ve spent in ‘productive’ hours through a time tracking app. Surprisingly, I’ve found that I study and work a LOT less than I thought I did.
Through my scheduling system, my calendar usually contains 10-15 hours of study for me to do during a week. In reality, time tracking has made me realise that I only study for 7-8 hours a week, far less than what I would like (15+ hours).
This leads me to ask - where did my time even go?
If I sit down to study from 8am to 11am, what often happens is that I start at around 8:10 and finish at around 10:45. Even though it may seem like I studied 3 hours on my calendar, I would only have done a realistic 2.5 hours of work.
Furthermore, time tracking has made me realise that I spend a lot of time using my phone and being unproductive between tasks. Not only that, I spend much more time travelling, hanging out with friends and doing admin tasks than I expect.
Although this may seem like an issue, this information empowers me to make smarter decisions with my scheduling and productive time. Even though I hate to say no to things, sometimes I might have to turn down opportunities because they are simply taking too much time away from other things that I want to do.
It also encourages me to be more disciplined with my work time. If I start tracking time, I know that I NEED to be working, so this encourages me to really switch on and start working effectively. I’ve somewhat conditioned myself to associate turning the timer on with working, so now I can turn the timer on when I’m procrastinating and it almost forces me to start.
One thing I know I can work on is avoiding my phone between work blocks, because I often end up wasting large amounts of time.
I’d highly recommend giving it a go! If you’re interested, the time tracking software I use is called Toggl (not sponsored, I find it does the job decently well)
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