Sunday, 3 February 2019

My theory of wasted time, proven true

time, tracking time, running against time, clock, running woman
How much time do you think you spend doing things? I have a theory that we overestimate how much time we spend doing something, and then when it comes down to actual measuring it, it is not as much as we think. My theory is purely based on personal perception, and I think I have proven it - at least to myself.
For the past month or so I have been using an App to track my time with minimum interference from me. This means that it asks me what I am doing now, and unless I am lying (to myself, because the App doesn't care) it is accurate. The surprising thing (and the reason for my theory) is that I wasted a lot more of my time than what I thought I was. While I think I am doing something (even if it is reading a book) I am wasting more time doing nothing, than doing something useful or enjoyable, like reading.
While you might think that I am obsessed with time (and perhaps you are correct) my biggest issue is that life is too short to waste the time we have on useless activities. Meaning that if I am taking a break when I need to, the break should not become two hours of watching TV, or surfing on social media.
Time away from a computer is a good thing, so I realised that whatever time I am spending not working, or writing (or whatever other activity I want or should do) is not spent as effectively as I thought it was. Yes, the word is procrastination.
Since I am self-employed again, the saying that time is money is more accurate than what it was when I worked for a salary. I am not going to get paid for two hours wasted on the Internet, that's for sure, but working for a salary meant that I wasn't getting paid by the hour either.
The App allows me to draw a report of the time per activity/task that I am tracking, and the results confirmed what I suspected, I am a time waster. Not what I wanted to see, that's for sure. But all is not lost.
What it helps me to do is to find out which tasks take longer than planned. This is a good thing since planning is essential, I can now see where I need to allow for more time for a specific type of task. When some things take less time to complete, I can then plan for a shorter period to finish the job in future, or I can add a task in that same time slot. A task that I probably would have scheduled later because I wouldn't have the time to do it on that day.
It all sounds complicated, but in actual fact, it is more simple than it looks. What I also like about this, is that I can now plan for time to do things that I want, like reading or drawing. Whereas in the past, I had to hope for some free time that will allow me a few hours to enjoy myself.
My 30 days of free usage of the App expires tomorrow, but I have already decided to pay the license fee as the benefits I have already received, definitely outweigh the cost of its continuous use.
A last word
There are a number of these applications for both Windows and iOS operating systems, phones and computers, available in your favourite online store. If you need to track your time for either invoicing or purely to find out where you are wasting it, I can recommend exploring the various options available to see which of these apps will work for you.
I am using on a Macbook if you want to check it out.
Until next time!

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