I am still searching for the most useful, original and actionable concept for my book. I do want it to have a concept: I am not seeing myself writing a traditional, chapter-based book…
In an effort to get inspired, I created this project at MyBlogU asking for advice on how to measure your time in order to get more productive.
I got lots of ideas which I broke into at least three articles. In this one, I am listing personal productivity tips and tools I got:
Philip Turner from Time Money Problem
“Making tracking really simple”
I have tried all sorts of To Do systems, from Excel to dedicated software, I use it for a while but then find it is too time-consuming.
Back in the old days I used to have a note-pad that I wrote everything down on and crossed them off when done. I have also used a book of polythene pockets, with 1 pocket for 5 minute jobs, 1 for 10 minute jobs, 1 for watching TV jobs, etc. That worked when I was teaching.
Gordon Diver from Diverse Achievements
“Measure outcome, not goals”
It took me a bit to switch from the number of hours you put in, to measuring the outcome. My focus has been on completing tasks that meet a predetermined outcome success, in other words, did I manage to do what I set out to do. It is still important to know how much time I’ve spent so that I can plan somewhat accordingly and prioritize the work ahead of me, but the true focus in on doing the best possible work.
I’ve started to use the isoTimer app to manage my tasks and calendar as effectively as possible. In addition, I use Evernote to have my tasks (and the subsequent goals that they are supporting) in Evernote, so that I have a easy portable frame of reference to what I want to achieve and what my priorities are. I adopted this from Michael Hyatt, author of Platform (coincidentally, he discussed this in a podcast recently with John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing).
Patricia Anthony from Platant Small Business Consulting
“in assessing my accomplishments the relationship between time, my established goals and their final outcomes is critical.”
I’m of the view, that there is no single measure of achievement. The ultimate system for effectively measuring goals, incorporates a number of factors including time spent, tasks completed in relation to and above and beyond goals set, as well as the end results.
One way of measuring my accomplishments is by evaluating the results in relation to what I’ve set out to do.
Incidentally, measuring work can itself become a task as complex as the work itself.
It’s not simply enough to have worked for 10 hours non stop. Nor is it okay for me to have completed 3 blog posts, if in fact by apply better techniques, I could have completed 5.
Measuring your goals can serve as a huge motivator. But it can also be demoralizing if you feel like you’re not achieving enough within the time spent, or that you’re not securing your desired outcomes.
For me, in assessing my accomplishments the relationship between time, my established goals and their final outcomes is critical.
What is it that I’m hoping to achieve within the allotted time, or by performing a set task? Did I hit the marker or even surpass it? In measuring personal productivity, that’s often the pervading question on my mind.
My greatest satisfaction comes not just from attaining desired outcomes but from exceeding expectations.
For me the job is only done, if I have at the very least generated the desired outcomes. So even if I’ve produced 2 new high quality posts for my business blog in less than an 1 hour, my task may still be substantially incomplete.
Liudas Butkus from EasyM6
“Break your tasks into parts and measure how effectively you complete those”
It really depends on the work you’re doing. If it’s writing, you can break it down into 4 parts researching, writing, editing, promotion. If you don’t manage to finish an article in a day you can measure your progress in how many pieces you finished.
If you are doing freelancing, you can easily count your progress by the money made because every completed project is a pay day.
Jeevan Jacob John from Daring Blogger
“Task first, but also keep track of time spent..”
I prefer the task based system, but these days, I use a combination of both. Task first, but also keep track of time spent (and adjust my overall schedule accordingly).
As for which is better, well that’s entirely subjective (not just in how we view these systems, but also in our mote, patience, will and other similar factors).
Task based system does have its advantages – helps to focus on the task at hand and finish it up. Hours system focuses more on the time spent (and time is a precious commodity). It helps to know how much time we spent on each activity; so we can schedule, and reschedule accordingly.
For instance: One might choose to do an activity that requires a lot of time first, take a break and then focus on the ‘lighter’ tasks.
Or maybe break up the activity – do half of the time consuming activity first, break, lighter activities, break and then go back to the time consuming activity.
As for tools, I have tried many. Off the top of my head, good ones include RescueTime and Focus Booster for hour based system. Task based system – a simple notepad will do. But, apps like Todoist helps (although it isn’t necessary).
“The best part of working task based is that it lowers the interruption rate”
I have a master lists of things I need to get done and every evening I review what I will do the next day. At the end of the day I check to see what I have/have not accomplished and regroup for the next day and add new tasks. It’s not a complicated system, but it works.
The best part of working task based is that it lowers the interruption rate. I find that when someone wants to interrupt me, it’s easier to get rid of them when I suggest I am working on a specific task, rather than just “working”.
Jeffrey Romano from WP Lighthouse
“…have a dynamic monthly to-do-list, divided up into weeks and then days”
On a day-to-day basis I measure the amount of work I’ve done by the tasks that I’ve finished. However, when retrospectively analyzing my week, I prefer not to focus on tasks but rather on results. For example, if in one week I write three blog posts and get 5000 visits, but in the next week I write one blog post that gets me 6000 visits, then I’d be happier in the second week. At the end of the day, what matters is what you achieve, not what you did. Achievements are a better measure of productivity than simply seeing how many things you’ve ticked off your to-do-list.
The tip that I suggest is to have a dynamic monthly to-do-list, divided up into weeks and then days. Every week, set your metric-based goals and judge yourself not just on whether you finished your tasks, but also on whether you achieved the metrics you had in mind. To use a child’s metaphor, don’t focus on how much homework you’ve finished, but on how much you’ve learned
Gary Dek from Gajizmo.com
“A raw measure of time doesn’t truly reflect someone’s productivity or skills”
Measuring your productivity or accomplishments in hours doesn’t make sense because some people complete the same tasks in more or less time. A raw measure of time doesn’t truly reflect someone’s productivity or skills, thus bloggers should use tasks – the amount of work that is completed.
…”gamify your tasks!”
I for sure think in terms of tasks. It really does not matter how much time it takes, if the task does not get done.
One tool that I have found that is particularly helpful to me is HabitRPG, it is a way to gamify your tasks. It rewards you for getting tasks done. It can keep track of daily activities or one offs….love it.
How do you measure your time?