Jon Humberstone reveals how to get more done in less time with this one simple type of tool.
Not long ago I started to feel like I was doing nothing but working – all day, late into the night, and even on weekends.
But, I wasn’t really getting better results, or making more money as a result of these seemingly endless hours.
It was if my work was just expanding to fill whatever space I gave it. Without active boundaries and priorities, and without a tool to help enforce good boundaries, it is easy to lose control.
But, I found a tool that helped me cut my work by about 90 minutes per day, while actually getting more done than I was before.
Do You Really Know How Your Time is Spent?
I downloaded a fully functional 21-day trial of ‘Office Time‘ – a robust, yet very simple to use time tracking software for both Mac and PC. With just two clicks, I could now track every activity I do all day long.
I know. This is one of those things where you are not really sure you want to see the results. But, getting this information was the reality check I needed to reveal my effectiveness ‘leaks’ and get more done in less time:
- My 5-minute breaks were more like 10 or 15 minutes.
- I was spending about 3 times longer answering email than I estimated. And much of it was either personal, or low priority.
- Important tasks I put off because I thought they would take too long or be to hard took, in reality, much less time than I thought.
- I was not spending as much time on high priority tasks as I thought, and too much time on some low priority tasks each day.
This information was totally liberating. It allowed me to:
- Recapture lost or wasted time
- Make better decisions about the time I spent on email
- Stop procrastinating ‘difficult’ tasks and start feeling great as I saw how quickly I was actually able to complete them
- Redirect more of my time to higher priority tasks that got bigger, better results
I was able to cut nearly 90-minutes from my work day, and actually got more done. But that is not where the story ends. Beyond saving time, I was also able to save money.
Do You Really Know What Your Time is Worth?
It is important to me to stay up-to-date in my industry. I need to read and comment on blogs, participate in forums, and research for new products and ideas. But it easy to forget that time is money.
Using a time tracker you can assign a monetary value to your time. Now, as I read blogs each day, I can literally see cost of that time adding up in real time.
I can ask myself, is the blog I’m reading now worth $75 of my time, or just $15 of my time?
I can easily see if I’m ‘spending’ $75 doing a task I know I can outsource for $25. So, I now have the power to save not only my time, but my money.
Choose a Tool
I like Office Time. But there are many other options. Some are very simple and just track the time you spend. Others have additional, really useful, features like:
- Sorting projects by client
- Creating invoices and reports
- Sharing time tracking data with a team of employees or peers
- Exporting to excel or other file formats
- Integrating with your desktop calendar of choice
A simple Google search will reveal a range of options from very simple to very robust, like:
- Slim Timer: A very simple, free, web-based timer that emails you your time report.
- Office Time: My personal favorite because it provides a richer feature set without becoming too complicated to use.
- Harvest: A robust solution with advanced features like team tracking, invoicing and an iPhone app.
No matter what feature set you choose to meet your needs they all have one advantage in common: you will get the accurate, objective information you need to make informed choices about which tasks are worth your time, discover ways to streamline your work, and take back control of your time and your life.