The Rice Report: Why You Must Track Your Time for One Week

Track your time

We’ve noticed that the day seems to get away from us, especially lately. To try to pinpoint where and how this occurs, Rachel asked everyone to track their time this past week. After evaluating how I spend my time, alone, I realize how significant this exercise can be. Here are my top three takeaways from tracking my time for one week.

Takeaway 1: Working real time can be a real time suck!
After keeping track of my time, I realize the myriad of small things that we do. For example, getting distracted by an off-topic email or an internet meme is not the best use of your time. Focus is key.  Our industry makes this extra challenging because we never know what kind of day we are going to have. A last-minute contest, a clients’ customer blasting a fan page or a sudden timely post can overhaul our day in an instant.

Takeaway 2: Little things aren’t always so little.
‘Quick’ emails or calls from clients are rarely handled quickly. When a client asks us to post a ‘quick’ photo of them with a colleague, this requires us to create a caption in the clients’ voice, proper sizing of the photo for all of the social media channels, and researching the social media of the colleague so we can properly tag/mention those pages.  As a small business, we expect these kinds of requests and we do our best to remain nimble and efficient in fulfilling them. There are times where we’ve been forced to set boundaries, however. Often times, it’s helpful to ask the client ‘why should we do that?’ In other words, what is the benefit or purpose of it? This can be helpful because sometimes they don’t know why. They had an idea and went with it. We must dig deeper so we can determine if it will help them get closer to their goals (or distract them from those goals).

Takeaway 3: Constant connectivity can be destructive.
I find that it’s easy for me to get distracted – email, phone calls, a Facebook message. Each time this happens, I have to shift gears. It’s clear that this shifting is hurting my productivity, based on what my timesheets reveal. I think it would be helpful to schedule my time in half-hour blocks and stay 100% focused on the task at hand. Then, I can block out time for emails, calls or other items. This is not a new realization, but it is one that I think deserves a constant reminder. Whether real or perceived, we live in a society of immediate response. Just because we are connected 24/7, doesn’t mean we have to respond 24/7.

Time management will be an ongoing struggle, but I do believe that awareness is the first step. Now that I see where the gaps lie, I can make a plan to eliminate time wasters. It will be a work in progress, but I am optimistic that this data will move us in the right direction.

Have you ever tracked your time? What did you learn?


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