I realized that if I’m going to increase my effectiveness as a leader then my productivity must increase by an exponential factor.
The first step in stewarding my time more effectively was integrating a task management program into my weekly routine. “Things” for Mac has been a great solution for me and has insured that the majority of the important/non-urgent tasks I have are completed on time.
After a meeting with a mentor whose time-management capacity far exceeds mine, I noticed that a task manager captures things I want to do, and things I have to do, but is not the best at tracking “things I end up doing.”
“Things I end up doing” fall into all four of Steven Covey’s time-management matrix, and most are outside of my control. As random as these things feel during the week, they can be organized and even prioritized. This is also the area where I have the greatest opportunity to become more effective. If I can redeem and re-prioritize this time towards more important/non-urgent activities I will be exponentially more productive throughout the week.
Enter “On the Job,” a time-tracking software app for Mac. I looked at a variety of apps, and even considered excel sheets, but this app seemed most intuitive to the way I work and think.
My goal is to first track every minute of my working hours each week, then within 6 months track every hour of every week (including sleep).
It sounded a little insane when my mentor first suggested it. But now that I’m tracking 70-80% of each day I’m seeing encouraging results.
I’m spending less unfocused time on social media. Facebook has almost disappeared from my work time because it rarely contributes to anything productive (you probably knew that, but I didn’t). I’m spending more time on Reeder my RSS app and Twitter and am surprised by how much value they create in terms of influencing others and learning key bits of information that help me in my role.
The best part about using the software is that when I switch tasks, I have to stop the app from tracking one task and start it on another. This is great accountability and gives me enough pause to decide on how valuable that new task is, and how much time I want to spend on it.
Have you plateaued in the stewardship of your time? Have you ever or do you track how much time you spend on things? What software or tools do you use that help?