With more access to remote work, freelancing, entrepreneurship, and technology, there is more opportunity to make work fit lifestyle, and it is easier than ever to take control over life and have time for activities and projects that we always wanted to do.
"If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of." - Bruce Lee
Everyone has a different level of freedom, even with a 9 to 5 cubicle job, there are early morning, evenings, and weekends that person has control over. It is for us to decide how we are going to use the time we have. We could move forward and grow, like learning the skills for a better job or bootstrapping our own business. Or we could entertain ourselves watching Netflix.
"Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become." - Anonymous
The practice of time tracking helpful at every level of time-awareness because there is always room to improve the balance between productivity, happiness, and fulfillment.
"To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction." - Cal Newport
The very first benefit that I got from time-tracking was distraction awareness, because every time I wanted to check social media or switch to something unrelated to the current task, I needed to stop the timer first. This action alone made me think twice about switching to something unproductive.
Also, when an average duration of a working set was less than 15 minutes, I could see that there is not that much work was done, because I didn't get enough uninterrupted time to get into focus zone.
I hate procrastinating on ugly tasks because it makes me suffer twice. So I try to turn all distractions off and make this unpleasant task done as soon as possible, rather than being sad thinking about doing it.
When I'm getting too excited about some projects, for some reason, I start checking statistics, like going to Google Analytics. Checking these stats doesn't help in any way, but only makes me lose edge faster.
"Your only path to success is through a continuum of mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily disciplines compounded over time." - Darren Hardy
The second benefit is growing momentum quicker. When I've built momentum for a project, it is easier to continue working on it, and therefore I could finish it faster. But usually, it is not that easy to get the momentum going, especially for projects that are not comfortable.
When the time comes for me to make a series of programming articles or videos, I set a goal for myself to work on the content for at least 7 hours a week. It doesn't matter if I will work on this project on weekends or every morning, at the end of the week I'll have these 7 hours. And by staying consistent every week, I will finish programming series in a month or two.
With a series of articles or videos, it easier for me to start procrastinating on parts of the process like learning a new technology or writing first articles or editing videos. The practice of time tracking helps me to stay consistent with those types of tasks so that I could finish them faster instead of procrastinating for weeks.
"Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all." - Peter Drucker
The third benefit is having a clear picture of how much time I dedicate to each project. By analyzing this data, I could make appropriate decisions regarding the way I should allocate my time in the next period.
At the moment of writing, I distribute my time between four big projects: job, Increaser app, content, and university. I would love to drop university, but I can't, because as soon as you are out of school, they put you in the military.
As you could see, it is quite a challenge for me to keep everything together, especially considering that I'm usually dedicating more time to my app(you can do a lot on weekends) than to the job.
Sometimes I see that I was working a lot during the week, but at the same time, I was procrastinating. It means that I was doing easy work, instead of doing challenging things of bigger priority. Maybe I was doing a lot of reading and researching, instead of implementing something. By analyzing charts with the information, I could see what projects deserve more attention and work smarter the next week.
"Follow effective actions with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action." - Peter Drucker
The fourth benefit is having more productive, healthy, and feel-good days. After finishing all the work for the day, I take some time to look at the timeline to find both productive and unproductive patterns.
I go through the timeline of the day and recall how I felt at a specific block of time and how it affected the rest of the day. I may find that I was switching between projects too much and therefore get tired very quickly, or that I haven't done anything for my app, because I screwed up the morning routine, or maybe that I got rested after midday walk and should do it more often.
By continuously reflecting on days, and making changes or experiments with organizations of the day, I become time aware and get more out of the time. The practice is not just about getting more of quality work, but, most importantly, having healthy good days.
"The ticket to victory often comes down to bringing your very best when you feel your worst." - David Goggins
The fifth benefit is being consistent in the long term. When I look at statistics and see that I've done 6 hours on average in the previous week and feel good about it, I want to continue showing good results this week.
After following this practice for years, I understand how many hours of work I should do to feel good. I don't try to stay late at night to do more work, because I know that I'll pay the price in the next few days.
It is all about being aware of time and how I feel at that time so that I could have a good daily routine that allows me to show consistent results.
In 2018 me being a fan of time tracking and the Pomodoro technique, I decided to build a web-app that would be easy to use, have a beautiful interface, and quality productivity reports.
I've put a lot of heart and thought into Increaser. A lot of people tried it and had a great experience with it. Try it out!