Time…a resource we think we have in so plentiful of quantity that the idea to keep account of
it consciously just doesn’t come to mind…
Recently, I started noticing that I wasn’t getting as much done in my day as I used to before and my do-to list just used to pile up to the next day’s without having been completely ticked off and it continued to another day and so on.
It happened steadily without me having noticing it much but when I did, I was alarmed to see the pile of work to be done, which if not dealt with in proper time will continue to increase on like the snowball going down a hill, and I’ll be left to catch up and being out of breath at all times (not something really enjoyable)
Something had to be done.
I tried my best to cut off everything unnecessary and work on to complete the tasks. Yet as things had already piled up, I was indeed playing catch back, unable to come to the surface. Whenever I was about to reach the finish line, the finish line would always jump to another great distance ahead (like a mirage) leaving me unfulfilled, tired and restless- again.
So this idea came to my mind: why not I keep track of my time to see where I actually spend it and how much…
I had read about “Time logging” as a time-management improvement technique and its usefulness but just wasn’t bothered as it seemed so time-consuming (time consuming thing for managing time?!) and simply not worth anything.
Not as a remedy, but just for fun, I thought to give it a shot. Immediately, I took out a sheet of paper wrote down the day and time and then wrote down in a word what I just did in the last fifteen minutes. And I did that again after another fifteen minutes. And so on.
The effect was instantaneous! Immediately in my unconscious there was this new found urgency that I had not felt before, the type which comes just before an exam or deadline! As I wrote down what I was doing four times in an hour I actually began to see just how quickly time is passing and how much is still left to be done and so this adrenaline rush that comes just before an impending deadline boosted me up all day! I was also amazed how much work I got completed and how much time just slips by if you’re not on check…
I think mostly, the reason why so much of our time is wasted is that we do not sincerely think ahead what stuff is important and should be given preference to. Due to that we get easily caught up by distractions that lead us into more distractions…and when your’re in that zone, coming out and doing something productive looks so uninteresting that you continue on thinking you have “enough time to do it later”. And before you know it the day is gone…the week is gone…and then the weekend too!
By logging my time I indeed got this idea that those “little” idle moments throughout the day when you’re just thinking about something to do or procrastinating stuff, such a big chunk of your day goes away unused. Don’t get me wrong… I do believe that relaxing and sometimes just doing nothing is also necessary..I’m talking about the useless wastage of time which just goes wasted unnoticed making your day “disappear so quickly” without having much done.
At the end of the week, you can calculate the total amount of time you spend on different activities in your day (reading, surfing the net, studying, exercise, worship etc) to get an idea of where you spend your time and then see which areas you would like to improve…because, trust me, the reality isn’t what you think it is…
Another benefit was that when you have to actually write down what you did in the last 15-20 min you will begin to think whether that task you just did was really necessary or not…if it was unnecessary and you already have high priority tasks that had to be done that day you’ll mentally take notice of it and that is where the magic of time management self awareness comes in!
So this experiment was quite an eye-opener for me….do give time-logging a try for a week and you’ll see for yourself how your productivity boosts up! And remember: Time once gone, can never come back!