Why tracking your time is non-negotiable
"You can't manage what you don't measure."
- Peter Drucker
Let's go classic business fundamentals for a quick moment, shall we?
I'm not absentmindedly quoting Peter Drucker to make my blog post sound good... that quote sums up an entire philosophy that I use DAILY in my business and to help my clients.
You simply cannot understand how to get to where you want to go without understanding (objectively) where you are.
Think of a map.. if you know where you want to go, how can begin to plan to get there if you don't know where you're starting from?
Measuring things in your business is the equivalent of identifying a, "You Are Here" mark on a map.
It's not about trying to get AS MUCH DONE AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. It's about knowing where your time goes so you can make some changes to spend more time on the good things and less on the bad.
Awareness is everything.
We are MASTERS of justification and rationalization. We'll spin the narrative in our heads to match the model that feels good. But, when we measure - we can objectively know whether or not we're on track for our goals.
It applies to vision.
We say things like, I want to run a six-figure business and have more freedom. Ok.. what does that look like? How far is that from where you ACTUALLY are.
It applies to money.
We say things like, "Business is going great!" How do you know? Does your income statement prove that profits are on an upward trend? Or, does it just feel like things are going well?
It applies, of course, to time.
We are so busy working away all day but how do we know if how we're spending our time is amounting to anything? Do you know where your time goes? Or are you working so hard to create the life that you want that, in the process, you're trading your life for the promise of that dream?
IF you're in a situation where you aren't enjoying every single day. IF you feel swamped, overwhelmed, deflated, and reactive then measuring your time is the next most important thing you need to do. It's the first step to be able to make shifts to replace work you don't love with work you do love.
I have a time challenge for you.
Like tracking what you spend for a week to see where your money is going or tracking what you eat for a week to see if there are any calories you can live without, you're going to track your time for a week.
I want you to get real about this. I want you to earnestly track exactly what you spend time on for a whole week. There are a few ways you can do this.
Good 'ol paper and pen
Get a notebook and break down some categories for time such as:
- Client work
- Client meetings
- Social media marketing
- Content creation
- Social media scrolling (non work)
- Internet surfing (non-work)
- Reading (non work)
- Phone scrolling (non work)
- Watching TV
And then just put a simple line beside each category whenever you spend 15 minutes on an item.
Of course, you can set up a digital tracking method like above in a spreadsheet or document or you could use a free time tracking tool like:
Rescue Time is genius because you leave it tracking in the background of your computer and it tracks and categorizes where you spend your time. However, it's not useful for offline items of course.
OR one of the many other good ones:
At the end of the week, tally the time spent on each item at the end of the week and be AMAZED at how different reality and perception are.
And what if you have a team?
It's even more important. The way your team spends their time is mostly likely literally money out of your pocket. Use a time tracking app to figure out where you are on the map and then employ one of these time saving team tools to make improvements.
Sooo, long story short.
Good data means good decisions and tracking your time is absolutely non-negotiable for being able to make decisions in your business in terms of ROI, what and when to outsource, and making sure that you're stacking your time with things you love to do.