Insane time tracking

3 minutes read

After a month of vacation, I’m full of energy and with the urge to do a ton of changes in my life. I hope that this new wave of energy does not fade away over the days.

During the trip, I came to the realization that I suck at managing my time. These aren’t fresh news to me; to be honest, it’s something that always bothered me, and by always I mean at least for the last 5 years… But I finally decided to do something about it.

Part of the inspiration came from the book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”. Although I don’t agree with all it says, I’d recommend it because provides good food for the thought.

One of the stories featured in the book is about Mike Jackson, a successful venture capitalist. While I don’t admire the VC culture, something about Mike got ticking in me:

“Mike literally tracks every hour of his day, down to quarter-hour increments, on a spreadsheet. He wants to ensure that his attention is focused on the activities that matter. “It’s so easy to just come in and spend your whole day on e-mail,” he warned”

I’m obsessed with data, and tracking every hour of my day sounded attractive enough to give it a try.

Getting started

While it can be done with a piece of paper and a pencil, I wanted to have a good summary, and, if possible some graphs. So I decided to use a software.

I didn’t want to spend too much time looking for the perfect software, so I downloaded and installed a time tracking tool that I’ve used in many companies called Harvest. It has a free plan, along with desktop and mobile apps; which is more than enough for my needs and gets the job done.

As Mike did, I decided to track every hour of my day (when possible), including how much time I spend on the bathroom…

Reports after a couple of days of insane time tracking

Temporary conclusions

I feel that my productivity increased a lot. While I have no previous data to compare, I can see the results: more things got done, much of them were waiting for me to take action for months.

Of course, this could be a consequence of my renewed energy after the vacations, or I could be biased. Either way, I think the key point is to take action, and whatever works for you at this point in life is worth keeping.

Roberto Dip