What I Learned From One Day of Tracking My Time

stop watch

Last week I proposed a 3-week plan to help with the information overload I was feeling. I proposed this via a blog post because I realized I’m probably not the only one that felt this way. 

The plan goes something like this:

  • Week 1: Don’t change any habits, just track your time and activities
  • Week 2: Purge all unnecessary information for 5 days. 
  • Week 3: Evaluate and create an information ingestion strategy

Yesterday (July 22, 2019) was Day 1 of tracking my time and here’s what I learned:

  • It’s more difficult to get distracted by the things you normally do when you’re deliberate about what you’re going to do- because you have to consciously track it.
  • Myth: Tracking my time would be difficult. In fact, it wasn’t very difficult at all. Sure, there were some times when I forgot to start my timer, but I never finished something before I realized and just made an educated guess as to what time I started. The same was true with forgetting to stop my timer. Luckily, we leave such a trail of digital timestamps in our lives I was able to go back and find out what time I started what I was currently working on to determine when my last thing ended.
  • It’s crazy how our lives are captured so frequently by digital timestamps
  • My day is more complex than I originally thought and needed to create new categories

I was very concerned about being able to be consistent with tracking my time, but I’m using Toggl and it’s been very easy with their iPhone app. I’ll admit, that I gave it a test run Friday afternoon to get familiar with it and get everything set up. That way I wasn’t trying to learn something new when I was getting started with the real tracking. That helped a lot.

Next week will be the true test. I wasn’t originally planning on tracking my time during the detox but I think it makes sense so I have data to compare to the baseline of information I’m building this week. 

How did Day 1 go for you? I’d love to hear about your experience. 


2 thoughts on “What I Learned From One Day of Tracking My Time

  1. Interesting that you spent less time doing the things you want to avoid just by implementing the need to track what you’re doing. Sort of like my food when I have to write down what I eat…

    Are you also tracking how much time you spend tracking how you spent your time?

    I’m super interested to see how this one plays out – thanks for sharing

    1. Hey Miranda – sorry for the late reply. Your comment was buried in spam. I need to figure out a better way of filtering legit comments from spam.

      That’s a great question about tracking how much time it takes to do the tracking. Since it’s an app and I had everything preloaded it only takes a few seconds to pick the category and press start/stop on the timer.

      I’ve since implemented some tools that will automatically track my screen time – both on my phone and laptop- it’s called RescueTime. Works pretty well but needs some fine-tuning to be more accurate.

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