Over the Thanksgiving Holiday I was afforded a great time of relaxing and spending time with my family. Three days of conversation, playing with the kids, watching football and eating wonderful foods took place. At the end of this vacation of sorts, my mother handed me a journal that she had received and never used. She asked, “Do you journal”, to which I immediately said no, because
I’ve never been able to keep a journal going for more than about a month. Maybe you can identify. Anyway, she handed the journal to me and said I could have it all the same.
I didn’t think too much about it until I returned to my office the following Monday. When I sat down at my desk an interesting thought crossed my mind. What if I finally start doing what I know I’ve been needing to do for a long time: track my time usage throughout the day. What might I learn about myself, my work habits, my passions, and especially my time? So I started, and have continued ever since…a whopping ten days! I know!
Today, I’ve decided to go back over the past 10 days and share a few unfiltered observations. So, here we go. 5 take-aways from my first 10 days of tracking my time at work. When I track my time here is what I find:
- While there are many positives that have come from tracking my time, I want to share the one observation that I am concerned about first. I spend more time on social media than I realized. So when I started tracking my time I decided to put a mark in my log each time I logged on to any form of social media. I use social media in my role as a pastor and therefore there are times when I am following up on people, answering questions and even doing some forms of counseling through social media. Not all of my time on social media is merely a waste, however there are times when it can be. Tracking your social media usage can be incredibly eye-opening. Since I began tracking my usage of this platform, I have been able to reign in my usage for the original purpose that I have for it – connecting with people, investing in others and sharing some of my thoughts and passions with others. Maybe tracking our social media usage is a good thing. By the way, if you are looking for software that helps manage this sort of thing for your family, check out circle. Oh and by the way, they’re not paying me anything for that, I just like the plan they have.
- I have found that when I track my time I do a better job of spending time with people. When I track my time and am aware of how I’m spending it I am able to do two things: 1) I do what needs to be done most, next. 2) I don’t feel as rushed when people come in the office to meet. I already have a time planned out and I’ve used my time well before they came in. This is incredibly helpful in my line of life involvement. At times I think we can all feel like we are always busy. Maybe being more intentional and carving out the time for the things we really want to accomplish helps.
- When I track my time, I read more! I love to read. I have to read. I am a leader and I’ve been convinced for years that readers are leaders and leaders must be readers. These paradigms lead me to believe that I need to read as much as possible. When I track my time I’ve found that I read 50% more already because I intentionally plan it in my time daily. This has already been a big help and I think it explains why #4 and #5 are on this list.
- When I track my time I think ahead and plan more. Planning is imperative if you are leading. Whether it’s planning meetings, direction, events or even just planning imperative discussions and debates that need to occur within your organization. This has been a huge help already.
- When I track my time I write more! Okay, okay, just because I’m writing this blog post and it’s my first in a month doesn’t prove this. I know! However, as a pastor I communicate on a regular basis. Writing out what you plan to say is an imperative if you want to be absolutely sure of what you are going to say. Over the past 2 weeks more of that has happened for me and I have been working on growing in that for years! It’s amazing to me that simply tracking your time can lead you toward the things you actually want to accomplish.
So, these are just a few of my observations, but I realize that not everyone thinks they can do it. What do you think? Will you track your time just for a small amount of time in order to see what’s really important to you? As for me, I will continue tracking my time.