What if you tracked every hour of your life? [Weekend WRAP 88]

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💡 One Big Idea: How I'm tracking time

Time tracking often conjures a vision of the factory, clocking in and clocking out. Or in a modern context, a micro-managing boss who wants to make sure you're actually working. It's no wonder time tracking has a bad rap!

But like we talked about in WRAP 85, time tracking can also be used as tool for raising awareness of what you are doing and for how much time. I often start to time track as a response to the internal feeling of what the heck have I been doing all day/week/month?!

If you've ever wanted to take back your time, even 30 minutes for something (or someone) that mattered to you — time tracking will help. Here's how I track time and a bit of what my results have been so far.

Tech-Free Time Tracking

The best way to start is with a pen or pencil and a notebook. I use a little Field Notes notebook with a column of each hour. I track my activities in 30 minute blocks—and this is the key—but I am not OCD tracking every minute. I'm also tracking the activity very broadly, e.g. "work" for 3 hours, not "emails + meetings + writing."

What I want to better understand is how much time I'm putting into each of the big buckets of my life. Work, Family, Sleep, and Personal. So far, it has shaken out to these averages:

🧑‍💻 Work = 30-35% 🧡 Family = 25-30% 😴 Sleep = 25% 😃 Personal = 15%

Simple Notion Tracker

To get these averages over time, it is helpful to create a spreadsheet to average everything out. But here's another way to keep it simple. Instead of creating an hour by hour sheet — create number properties for each of the primary activities you are tracking and fill in the total hours per day.

Total hours per day instead of hour by hour tracking is much easier to fill out and keep track of. It also makes it easier to backfill time, i.e. it's easier to remember you worked from 8am-4pm on Tuesday and spent the rest of the night with your family. That's 8 hours work and 6 hours with family. Simple.

Video to Watch: Tech-Free Time Tracking

There is a lot more to come this month on the time tracking front. But for now I highly recommend taking out a pen and paper to keep track of how much time you are spending on each of the main areas of life. This video will help you get started with simple tech-free time tracking.

video preview

🧵 One Thread I Read: Or, Just "Be"

I'm a big fan of Drex's visuals, design, and ideas. For all the optimization I talk about, you could also just "be," man.

At this stage of my life it doesn't really work for me, with 3 little kids and a growing business means every hour needs to have a purpose and I need to stay on track. It's important to say that time tracking will not lead to enlightenment —  but that's a conversation for another day.

Check out Drex's incredible quote designs and more on his Twitter.

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Have a great weekend,

Matt Ragland

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