Improve Performance Through Time Tracking

time trackingIf you want to improve performance, or likewise increase capacity or capability, you need to track the one thing that you’ll never get back: time.

In order to improve effectiveness and efficiency, you must understand how your time is being used. With all of the technological advances over the past two decades, we’re continually forced to do things “better, faster, cheaper.” In other words, all of these advances have taught us how to be more efficient.

But – have any of these advances (spreadsheets, email, cell phones, IM, etc.) made us more effective?

The difference between the two?

* Being efficient is essentially doing things right.
* Being effective is essentially doing the right things.

It’s not enough to just do things right – we also need to balance it with doing the right things, doing the right things based on their priority.

As Dr. Stephen Covey once said: “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

BOTTOMLINE: Take a good look at your calendar: Are you spending time on the most important things? Are you spending the appropriate amount of time on those activities that are the highest priority? How do you know?

If you’re not tracking how you spend your time, how will you ever know?

The best way is to have an individual plan (we recommend quarterly) – of daily activities that you’re responsible for, which support the organization’s goals, initiatives and projects. Track your time against these projects daily, and review weekly. The goal is to spend the most time on the most important activities that get you closer to achieving the organization’s goals..

Now, consider this: multiply this daily/weekly time-tracking activity times the number of people in your organization. You’ll be amazed at how much more productivity and results you’ll begin to see (or, very frustrated, by how much time is actually wasted on non-productive, non-essential activities…)

So…. if you’re looking to improve your performance (or the performance of your organization) – how can you possibly improve, if you don’t track your time!

Skip ReardonAbout The Guest Author: Skip Reardon is the Director of Digital Marketing and Social Networking for Six Disciplines. A 27-year marketing and communications veteran, he’s also responsible for branding, marketing campaigns, web content and he’s also the editor of the Be Excellent blog.

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4 Comments Improve Performance Through Time Tracking

  1. Martin Lindeskog

    Skip Reardon,

    Would you say that your ideas are related to “Getting Things Done” method? Maybe my latest post could be of interest to you, Workflow Week 25. It is a list with bloggers / tweeters that have indicated interest in ideas on productivity and “time management”. Please feel free to add a name to the list.

    Reply
  2. Arthur Bland

    You’re right Skip. Doing things right isn’t really enough that is why it is very important that we know our priorities. We must set a goal and always prioritize our activities. I deemed it as very important.

    Reply
  3. Anita Campbell

    Nice post, Skip.

    Tracking your time each day, hour by hour, is also a helpful exercise. I did that once — it took discipline, but it was worth it because I was stunned with the results. Paymo.biz offers a free time tracking application.

    Anita

    Reply

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