Time tracking

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IMG_4325.JPGAt my former job we were asked to track how we spent our time which was not my favorite thing in the world -- I reserve the right to be as distracted, procrastinating and foolish with my time as I want as long as I get the job done. So it felt unnatural to work in such a way that I'd say "Worked on project for 1.5 hours" instead of "Worked for 1.5 hours, some on project, also some on email, Twitter, etc."

However I have come around on time tracking. Something that stuck in my head after I read Jocelyn Glei's book Unsubscribe is how we should keep "status bars" to show us how much we've gotten done per day. In the past I used to write "story about empathy" on my to-do list which was too broad a goal--I'd feel crappy because I could never cross that off and feel good about it because while I might complete several sub-goals for said story, aside from the day I turned it in, I didn't get to feel like I completed it.

Now, breaking my work done into micro goals and then (occasionally) writing down everything I accomplished makes me get through the days feeling better about what I did do and not so bad about what I didn't do. Also, I started putting non-work tasks on my assignment list because even if it doesn't pay the bills, going to the store or the dry cleaner take time out of my day and are things I have to get done, so why treat them like they're magical little "fun" tasks I "get" to do in between calls, appointments and emails?

IMG_9478 copy.jpgLast Monday, which felt like the first "real" day of 2017 with the kids both back in school, I was anxious about several projects I had going on so to make myself feel better I wrote down everything I got done in this cool book my friends Leonard and Anna sent me called Make It Happen! This did not include time walking around, reading news/gossip sites and spending time on social media. I'm not sharing this to be all "I'm amazing!" I think that if a stressed-out person tracks everything he or she get done in a day, he or she might also feel a little less "I didn't get everything done!" and more "Wow, I got a lot done." 

  • 7:15 AM: Get up, get boys dressed, fed, out the door to school
  • Read part of newspaper while doing so
  • Email source for story A
  • Email editor of story B
  • Email potential reader for Funny Ha-Ha
  • Set up today's lunch date
  • Work out, do some laundry
  • Eat breakfast
  • Take care of family financial stuff
  • Start this list
  • Brainstorm ideas for project C
  • Shower, get dressed
  • Send ideas for project C
  • Respond to some emails
  • Work on clarifying quotes for story A
  • Schedule meetings, playdates, social time, etc.
  • Subscribe to the Tribune and take a second to explain why
  • Have lunch with my friend
  • Drop additional quotes into story A
  • Save some online clips as PDFs for my portfolio
  • Pick up dry cleaning
  • Look at a document for story B
  • Finish saving clips
  • Do some laundry
  • Take a call about story B
  • Email five sources for story B in an anxious state of mind
  • Have a telephone interview for story A
  • Some more laundry
  • Answer emails
  • Send a personal project off to a consultant for input
  • Have a phone call with a source for story B
  • Replace batteries in two artificial candles in house windows (because even though it's post holidays, having burned out artificial candles looks crappy to me.)
  • 5:30 PM Greet family; make dinner; play with family
  • Dinner, cleanup
  • Clean up basement
  • Attempt to hang out and read magazine in basement after dinner; get thwarted by cranky toddler
  • Get toddler ready for bed. Read story to him and his brother.
  • Put toddler in bed
  • 8 PM Finish writing this blog post