Most of my clients are freelancers working from home. One of them just made the switch. She highly values the freedom to manage her time and tasks in a way that suits her best and often says that her decision to start working from home meant no more stressful office meetings, edgy supervisors, tight project deadlines, and daily traffic jams during her commute. In short, freedom.
Yet, she used to feel stressed and drained for most of the time. How was this possible? After a bit of analyzing, I realized that she might have a problem with her priorities, sometimes losing a lot of time on irrelevant things and yet staying chained to her office table for the most part. By the end of the day, she would find herself wondering where her day went.
Missing deadlines or canceling projects was never an option- we all know that’s not a pathway to business growth and authority. So, she was simply overwhelmed with this flood of everyday responsibilities.
Her solution? Keeping a Time Management Log
The freedom to organize your time within your working day can easily become a trap of wasted hours with little to none productivity. Do you feel overwhelmed while you are struggling with too many things on your ‘to-do’ list in both business and personal life?
My client solved her problem by managing her priorities better. It all fell into its place once she realized that working from home still didn’t mean she could work without explicit working hours. Start tracking your time and the results will surprise you too!
Why is it Important to Track your Time?
Tracking where you spend your time during your working hours and your day in general, will help you determine which activities occupy your time most. Furthermore, it will help you calculate your hourly income per project. Finally, the mere act of time tracking is helpful for procrastination and delivering your work on time.
1. A Time Management Log will help you in Setting Priorities
Keeping a time management log will help you identify the activities you are not doing enough, as well as those you’re spending too long on. It will also help you organize your tasks and set correct priorities – distinct the things that require your immediate attention from those that can wait. A great method that you can use to effectively organize your priorities is the time management matrix.
2. It will boost the Awareness of Time Importance
Just putting the effort into recording your tasks and examining how you spend your day will increase your awareness of your hours and how you are using them. Furthermore, being aware of how you are spending your time will help you appreciate it and use it more wisely.
3. Identify the Productivity Patterns
Identifying the times of day when you are most productive from those when you tend to be less efficient can help you plan your breaks and working hours in accordance with your productivity patterns. If you plan your breaks in advance, you won’t waste time on trying to work on something during those periods when you are less productive.
4. A Time Management Log will help Recognize Time Wasters
Keeping your personal time management log can help you realize how much time daily you spend on insignificant activities. When you feel that you’re not productive, do something else that’s positive such as going for a refreshing walk or meeting up with a friend. These activities will boost your energy and help you work more efficiently between those breaks.
The Benefits of Keeping a Time Log
We all wish we had more time to do all we want to do, but we are simply too busy. Keeping a time log is a simple and remarkably effective way to increase your productivity and set your priorities – your ‘big rocks’ in both business and private life.
This time management log will give you a good insight into how you are actually spending your time. And this awareness is the key to managing your personal and professional time more effectively. Additionally, keeping a time log will:
• Decrease your stress level
Being organized will allow you to slow down with multitasking and easier manage your deadlines. In turn, this will automatically reduce your stress level.
• Help you make fewer mistakes
Managing your time will result in making fewer mistakes and subsequently fewer revisions (or displeased customers).
• Boost your productivity
Being organized leads to being more productive, which is one of the main goals of your time management.
• Make a better use of your free time
Your enhanced productivity will leave you with more leisure time. You’ll be able to relax and renew your energy engaging in activities that you enjoy.
• Boost your reputation and bring more opportunities
Being prepared, organized and efficient leads to more opportunities in business. Your time management will boost your reputation. Being recognized as an organized and productive person is something that can set off accelerated success in both your business and your personal life.
How to Keep a Time Management Log
The easiest way to maintain a good time management log is to write down everything you do (either on paper or with an app), and update it whenever you stop and start with something else. Make this a habit. If you’re like me and you often forget to write down your log, set an alarm or calendar reminder on certain intervals of the day to record any tasks that you finished up to that point, the time it took you to do it, any unplanned activities that you had to deal with, and how effectively did you think you were. Of course, you can enter any other relevant comments to your time tracking. In addition, you can choose to log only business-related activities or the whole day’s goings-on.
As I already mentioned shortly, there are various, handy time management apps available to help you organize your life. The one I use at the moment is Toggle.
Efficient time management allows you to get more meaningful tasks done in a shorter period of time. This, in turn, leads to less stress, enhanced confidence, better productivity, further career success, increased happiness, and more free time. The list of pros of regularly keeping a good time management log goes on and on. Definitely worth trying, don’t you think?