6 steps to help you log your time and see where you’re spending it

Raise your hand if you have “should’s” and “have-to’s” on your to-do list! Things that you don’t want to do that keep taking up time in your days.

What do you do with these things?

The busy-ness of our days is not lost on me. (Has anyone else noticed the word business and busy-ness are a little too similar?) And I get there are often many things on our weekly list that we would really prefer weren’t there.

So, where do those things go? How realistic is it to think we can only do things in our day that we actually like?

If you’ve been following along with my series on Time Management, you’re probably thinking that I live in a dreamland where I have complete control of my time; where I get to control what gets put on my list and control what isn’t there.

Well, here’s the kicker.

To achieve the life we dream of, we do have to do the mundane and necessary tasks that get us there. It’s just a question of “accounting” for our time.

I challenge you to only put things in your day that work towards you living your best life. I mean, if the dishes NEVER get done, how will that really be to live in, seriously? You may decide to never do them ever again, but how will that actually contribute to your happiness and fulfillment level?

For me, I quite dislike doing the dishes. But I do them so that I can enjoy my clean kitchen. Cleanliness is something I value highly. So, consequently, the dishes “have to” and “should” get done quite regularly.

What’s something else that falls under this category? Hmmm… perhaps it’s a high value of yours to perform well at work. However, you may not actually love everything in your job description (Shh! Don’t tell the boss!). But some of them are necessary evils.

The point here is, I believe that if we are conscious, purposeful and deliberate about how we spend our time, then we will be contributing to our sense of work/life balance and still be controlling our time.

This week I’m going to challenge you to look at time as though it were an investment. Just like you balance your financial books, let’s see if your time bank balances out. Let’s review how you are spending your time in the same detailed way that we review your bank account.

Try looking at your time the same way you do your bank account to see if you're spending it wisely.Click To Tweet

What if you created a time log where you took careful note of how you were actually spending your time? You may be surprised about what you uncover.

How to balance your time books

  1. Create a spreadsheet that notes all the hours in a week. There are 168 hours of them. To make this easy, I have created one and you can download it here.
  2. Put aside a few minutes midday and at the end of the day to capture how you spent your time.
  3. Notice what values your spent time contributed to. Write them down next to your time log.
  4. At the end of the week take stock. Are you proud of how you spent your time? Or does something have to go? Also, notice who you are serving with the time you are spending. Is it worth the investment?
  5. If you look at your time as an investment, where do you feel you are rich and where do you feel you need to save up?
  6. Take note of what needs to come off your schedule and notice where you can add a few more of the things you’d rather be doing.

And voila! You have completed your time log evaluation. You may be surprised to see where you are actually spending your time and where time is just slipping away.

Do you have a hole in your pocket? Where is time slipping away?

What is one thing you can do this week to give yourself more time for the things that matter most?

Susan Elford

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Personal Balance Equation Workbook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a PR Strategist & Leadership Coach who especially loves to work with people who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a balanced life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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