How early in the day do you KNOW that you have no time?
It’s a typical Wednesday and you started the morning doing the “right things.” You woke up rested, in your own bed. If your partner was there, and awake, you welcomed them to the day (and, if they were still asleep, you quietly made your exit!).
Years ago, I contributed to an article about this state of “The Productive Experience.” (Link here.)
You know your routines, and what you need to do at the office…
- to rest,
- to move your body a little, and
- eat SOMEthing that will give you the energy you need
Before you continue, pause for a moment.
In fact, give yourself 60 seconds of moments.
Re-seat yourself in your chair. Check your weight is balanced throughout your seat, your back is comfortable and you’re breathing deeply. Next, breathe in…as long, and as deeply as you can. Right when you get to maximum fill…hold your breath.
Count to 7. And ever so slowly, let your breath out.
Next, close your eyes, and do that two more times.
(That was just .06% of your day. You have time for this!)
If you don’t have enough time in the day…
…start by tracking the three things you do WITH time.
There is a time-log process to complete over the next three days to change the way you work. And, it could change the way you live.
It’s time to track your time in a way you haven’t done it before.
Old time management methods had you stop multiple times during the day and write down in great detail all you did that day. For this exercise, for you to begin the process of controlling your time, you’re only going to track THREE things:
- Time you’re catching up
- The time you’re keeping up
- The times of the day you’re getting ahead
Let’s get you started “write” now. Print the time log PDF (here) or make your own. I suggest you divide the day into 48 sections (blocks of 30 minutes each).
As soon as you have that piece of paper (and I do recommend paper, for reasons I can explain if you want to talk!) choose THREE symbols that you can use to annote each half-hour block.
I use a +, a – and an = sign.
And this is how it works… Start a countdown timer (you can use your Smartphone, or click here) for 30 minutes.
Then, work. Do. Email. Meet. Think. Read. Talk. Strategize. Whatever it is you call your work, do it for the next 29.75 minutes.
THEN, when the alarm rings, you’ll open your Time Log (you can print the PDF here) and mark one of three symbols.
No explanation, no justification, no opinion; just a subjective annotation.
- Are you ahead? (Plus symbol, +.)
- Are you up to date? (Equal sign, =.)
- Are you behind and have to catch up? (Minus symbol, -.)
Once you have a few days of this (minimum of 3 days, max of 7) you have some really, really good information.
Over the years, I’ve heard something like THIS over and over again:
“Jason, I tracked my time for just a few days, and I’m already noticing a pattern: There are certain times of days, certain days per week where I’m CONSTANTLY in ‘behind-only’ mode. It’s during those times of those days that I’m most stress, run around the most frantically, and take the least care of myself. I don’t eat right, I don’t drink enough water, I don’t get up from my desk or move my body…bottom line, I’m compromising everything.”
Of course, I’m paraphrasing AND combining.
But here’s the deal, I’ve heard that once people KNOW their time, they can do something about it.
(Should you accept it!)
- Track your time for 3 days.
- Identify any patterns you can.
- See if you can shift the kind of work you expect yourself to do to different times of the day, or different days of the week so that you can focus on your priorities.
Comment below with (1) what you THINK you’ll find if you do this tracking and – of course in week or so – (2) what you ACTUALLY realized after you tracked your time this way!
PS: Here’s that that time log/tracker looks like. Again, you can print this one, or make your own. I do suggest you use a PRINTED version!