Ok – I’m going to be the first to admit that I’m hopeless at time management. Being an SMB IT Professional, most of my work day is taken up with working on or for clients. Much of that is interrupt drive based on whatever problem comes up first. You can get to the end of the day each day and feel as if you’ve not accomplished anything much at all – and that can very much lead to frustration for you. I know… I feel that a LOT :-(. I’ve also got friends and family telling me that I work too much and that I’m always on the computer doing “work”. The question is how much of that is reality vs perception?
Recently though I made a decision to really focus on taking control back over my time. Robert Crane mentioned linked me to an article on how scientists believe the human brain can be re-wired based on the technology we use. He (Rob) also suggested I check out Rescuetime as a way to get control over things.
Now – Rescuetime is not going to solve my problems alone, but you can’t fix anything if you can’t at least measure it. Once you can measure it, you can have a chance to decide WHERE you will ALLOW your time to go. Rescuetime gives me that ability. Check out the graph below – it shows my time usage for the last week – it shows a couple of days there with 12 hours or more spent on the computer.
Ok – but – like most time tracking programs, you need to enter your time in right? Rescuetime works with a little agent on your computer that monitors what you are doing. It monitors what programs you run, emails you respond to, people you talk to on MSN, websites you visit – in short EVERYTHING. You can install it on multiple computers if you use both (and I do – desktop and laptop) so it can monitor what you do. Once you’ve done that run it for a day – then review it and decide which activities you are more productive with and not – for instance, when I’m remote connected to one of our clients servers working on a problem – I call that being productive, but when I’m using MSN with a friend it’s not productive (in a business sense). Furthermore you can classify down to a low level – ie – MSN with my staff is very productive, but MSN with my friends is not so much – so on a contact by contact basis – I can decide if individuals are productive and once I set that I can forget about it. This graph gives you an overview of that same week broken down a little more.
I’ll keep going with this and see how it can help me understand where my time is going. I’ve committed to this so much so that I’ve paid for a 12 month subscription. Once I’ve got a good handle on where my time is going, I’ll be in a position to then look at how I can change my habits.
If you want to try this out – you can get a free 2 week trial (and an extra 1 week if you answer some questions) from Rescuetime here