Why is the Timekeeping Journal so Important?
How do you know where you want to get to if you don’t know where you’re starting from? I used to kid Stephen Covey when I asked him, “How can you set goals when you don’t really know where you’re starting from?” Needless to say he didn’t appreciate my question and his course has never been changed. You will receive valuable information from this journal like:
- Where your time is going (or what you’re spending your time doing.)
- What a “typical”, chaotic day looks like.
- Who your biggest interrupters are.
- The differences between what you planned to do and what really happened.
In order to get the most out of the Organizing for Success book you purchased, I recommend that you keep track of your time for a week using this journal so the tips, tools, ideas, and strategies discussed in this book make more sense and are more applicable. You will use this journal to evaluate:
- Was this the best use of my time at this moment in time?
- Was I doing the right task at the right time?
- Were there any tasks that could be eliminated or deferred?
- If you could cut down on the amount of time you’re spending on certain tasks?
- There are three steps to improving your productivity:
- Keep track of your time for a week so you know where your time is currently going.
- What activities could you eliminate?
- What could you do to improve the amount of “discretionary” time you have to work on your important tasks and projects?
You will hopefully begin to see why your plan may not work and begin to leave room in your plan for interruptions and the unexpected. Print out one copy of this journal and make four additional copies. This will give you a five day journal to keep track of your time. The last page of this print out is reserved for when you complete all five days of your journal so you can identify some areas of needed improvement.
On the next page you will find the instructions for how to use the journal once you print it out. Please note that at the end of each day, you will keep track of TASKS STARTED & TASKS COMPLETED. This ratio is becoming a real problem. You will learn ways to not only be a good starter but also a great finisher.
I hear this all the time. “I have no personal life!” If you don’t have one who has yours? There is enough space to keep track of your time up until 7 PM each night. Try keeping the journal right up until 7 PM so you can discover some ways you could improve the quality of your personal life. You will learn there is a time and place for everything and how to get into a “flow” everyday, instead of jumping all over from task to task. You will then use that discipline to more effectively schedule your days. If you have any questions, please contact me through our website. Now you are ready to start. Try to be as honest and thorough as possible because you will ultimately see the best results. Good luck!
Keeping Your Daily Time Record
Put your worksheets on a clipboard and keep it handy with a pencil.
On the first day before you go home from work write down on the left side of the first page, what you plan to do tomorrow and when. Write each activity in the corresponding time slot.
When you come to work the next day, use the right side of each page to keep track of what actually happened and the corresponding time frame.
Mentally commit your intentions to devote 2 minutes each half-hour to write down what has happened. (Repeat aloud: I will find 2 minutes each hour to write on my work sheets.)
- Don’t let more than an hour pass without recording.
- At the end of the day review your record and correct or add anything that is needed. (Make sure that you can read what you have written.)
Completing Your Time Management Improvement Report
At the end of the week you will have all the necessary information you need to create your Time Management Improvement Report (located at the end of this Journal). Review your Daily Time Records and write down any patterns that you see. For example, “between 8 and 9 every morning I have more phone calls than I have in total for the rest of the morning…Yet, this is the time I must complete the count report.” This type of notation represents an opportunity for more efficient time management of tasks, reduction of stress, and improvement of customer service. Be prepared to brainstorm solutions during the class.