Day 2945 – How To Make Big Improvements – Track Every Minute Of Your Day

As I admitted two weeks ago, I spent five hours playing video games in one day. It was painful to admit this to Bret, to myself, and to my readers. Boy howdy, it was a very humbling day. Since then, I have tracked my time on most weekdays. The only exception is when I work out of the home office. I haven’t tracked my time on the weekends, but I think I’m going to start. It is astounding how much my productivity, drive, and accomplishments take a dive on the weekends. I don’t want to necessarily work all weekend. In some respects, I don’t want to work at all. But I can be more purposeful in how I spend my time, and that’s what tracking my time has done for me – made me purposeful.

So how can you track your time? There are many ways to track time out there, but for me, I’m all about pen to paper, and using Excel to give me percentages and totals.

My best days start with preparation the night before.

Evening routine:
– clean all of the dishes
– prep the coffee for the morning
– fill all of the water bottles
– prep my doTERRA diffuser
– write out my to do list for the next day
– pick out the sermon to listen to
– copy my time spent sheet from today into a new sheet, rename it, and remove today’s time

I’m not all there for the first 15-20 minutes in the morning. If I have to sit down and figure out what to do, what to listen to, make the coffee, etc, it will not be the best use of my time.

Creating my to do list:
– I open all of my different Asana accounts (I’m only at three, not that crazy….yet)
– I move all my tasks around based on what type of day I’ll have – am I working at home or out of the office?
– I’m currently writing out my to do list on a small legal pad. This has helped me keep my expectations grounded. I mean, really, I’m not going to finish ALL of my tasks on a large legal pad, it’s too optimistic.
– I list my daily must dos first
– If there are especially important tasks, I add a star
– Once I finish my list and pack up my notes, I sometimes take the advice of Deep Work* and say something like “you are done work for the day.” It helps to tell my brain – “brain, you’re not working anymore, you are free to relax and do other things right now.”

Because I’ve done all the preparation the day before, it’s so easy to jump into my day. I already know what I’m going to do first, second, third, and beyond. My workspace is clean, my air will smell pretty (thanks diffuser!), and my coffee will be ready.

I use legal pads to keep track of my time; different colors for different clients and purposes. Over the last two weeks, I’ve split a few of the categories I’m tracking. Before, I had the following categories:
– On Jen Stuff
– On Fun
– On Home
– On Bret
– On each client

But this didn’t give me a robust picture at all.

Here are my current categories:
– Building Business – this includes blogging, reading other blogs, posting in my Facebook group, posting on social media, etc.
– Writing
– Workout/meditation/yoga
– Devos/journaling
– Self-Care
– Relax
– Organizing
– Education
– Fiction reading
– on fun – games
– social
– on home
– Bret work
– Bret growth
– each of my clients

I’ve set up a spreadsheet that totals my time and percentages and I update it throughout the day. Yesterday, I started the day with a goal of hours and percentages to hit in different categories. It was great to actually hit those goals.

Here’s a peek at my legal pads. Please excuse the handwriting. 😀

Do you track your time? Has it helped you or hindered you? Let me know in the comments below.

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About 365 days of marriage

I started this blog in April of 2011. At the time, Bret and I were wedding photographers and it was a way to share how marriage is more about the day to day and so much more than the wedding day itself. For about 5 years, I blogged about the joys and sorrows of the Christian walk, marriage, work, family and friends. I’ve blogged every day since a few weeks after I started. In May of 2015, we photographed our last wedding. Now, I have become passionate about simplicity, particularly in marriage, Christianity, business, travel and life. For a number of reasons, we have become minimalists. I’ve found that having simplicity makes life so much deeper, refreshing and joyful. I hope that this blog will help others see the benefits of living simply.

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