Can Time Tracking Help You Get More Done?
This week I tested whether time tracking could help me get more done, although I did more routine tracking than true time. Scroll to the end of last week’s post for an explanation.
How Time Tracking Saved My Sanity This Week
- Helped me recognize I am trying to do too much. In my excitement about becoming more and more efficient, I started trying to structure more and more of my time. I wasn’t actually doing most of my planned routine, so it was too much.
- Demonstrated how variable my days are. One of the frustrations in creating a schedule or routine is the interruptions to the usual. The past two weeks have been very unusual. If I am going to expect to “stay on schedule,” I will be nothing but frustrated. Good to know so I won’t be perfectionistic about my routine.
How Time Tracking Made Me Crazy This Week
- I resisted it. As I deleted more and more of my routine because I wasn’t actually using it, I resisted even tracking my routine. I knew it would be more of the same the second week: funerals, holiday events, and weather-related schedule changes that wouldn’t be the case next week. I wondered why I should even waste my time writing it down.
- I rebelled. I not only resisted tracking my schedule after a while, but I stopped doing routine things that actually work for me. I think I’ve reached my limit on maximizing my time. I just want to have time to do whatever I feel like doing even if it’s not “moving me forward” or making me more “productive.”
Did Time Tracking Help Me Get More Done?
Heavens no! I finished some big, time-consuming projects, but otherwise did less than ever this week. I don’t think that means time tracking is useless. I do wonder if I really need to formally track my time. It might have worked much better to just observe when I tend to do certain activities and give myself permission to do them then. Scheduling them gave my inner rebel fits: too many rules. The other problem I have had is burnout. I have been working really hard lately. I don’t want to be told what to do constantly, even by myself. I’ve recognized for a long time that the best reward for me is a day that I am free to use as I wish. I am very structured for school because it works. But apart from that, I’d like less structure, thank you.
I still don’t like time tracking. It’s too legalistic and gets my resistance going. I know when I’m slacking. It works better for me to schedule lots of free time into my day and week.
The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 45
This week I’ll be testing No List. I will only refer to a list of tasks that are urgent that I would otherwise forget to do. All other lists will be abandoned this week.
The concept. Those of you who have known me from Mark Forster’s forum or have read my productivity posts for a while will remember that I have used this approach in the past. I had just come off a very difficult time in my life and I needed the peace of having no list. For list lovers, it sounds like anything BUT peaceful. It was what I needed at the time, however, and I’m surprised to say I feel I need it again.
I’m always pursuing excellence. That’s a good thing if at the same time I recognize that I’m excellent just as I am. Practically speaking, I tend to think more is always better. If I write a blog post that does well, I need to write more of them. If I’m doing well on Pinterest, I need to pick it up on Google+. These things can become–not just nice goals to aim for–but must-do’s. Whereas some people find themselves constantly putting out fires and never pursuing the bigger dreams, I tend to label multiple goals and the day-to-day must do’s “fires.” Thus, I experience burnout.
I want to get a balanced perspective by only looking at the true must-do’s and trusting my instincts about everything else that should be done. If you are wondering if I’ve given up on Little and Often, I haven’t at all. I’ve discovered a problem with it that I will address with you at a later date, however.
If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read this post where I describe my use of my no list. Decide on a way of keeping track of your must-do, must-list-or-you’ll-forget tasks. I’m going to add mine to Google Calendar. Simple, simple. If you’re interested in knowing my plans for A Year of Living Productively for the end of year, be sure to read next week!
To see how working without a to-do list worked for me, click here.
Does the idea of going list-free freak you out?
Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far: