Where is my time going?

By MAS Team | 8 October 2018

Many of us struggle with the feeling that time just seems to disappear, especially when we have lots on the go. Typically when we feel this way, we find it hard to recall or account for how we have filled each hour of the day. If this is a familiar experience for you, it can be really helpful to spend a week or two keeping tabs on your time.

Male looking at his watch on his wrist while using a computer

Record how you manage your time

In order to do this, decide on a timeframe – we recommend a few weeks to get a complete picture – and make a note of what you are doing every 30 minutes or so over that time. You might want to use a spreadsheet or a diary, or simply a notebook or note in your phone. With every activity, it can also be really helpful to make a note of whether you feel energised by that activity, or depleted.

The tendency when doing this kind of log is to avoid or minimise any time spent unproductively. Try to overcome this tendency! If you spent an hour lost in the vortex of Youtube, note down where this time went. It’s essential to accurately identify where your time is going. So, called ‘unproductive time’ is not necessarily bad; we need some of this time to help us recover.

Reflect on how you use your time

At the end of whatever time period you’ve decided on, bring all the notes together and play detective. Where is the bulk of your time going? What activities suck the most time? Which activities are most energising for you? Which ones are the most depleting?

Then give yourself some time to reflect on what you can change. Are there activities of little value that you can reduce or get rid of? Is it possible to arrange your days differently so you can spend more time on activities that lift your energy levels and less on those that deplete them?

With depleting activities that you can’t change – can you do these faster or do them less often? Can you create a system that lets you ‘sandwich’ your depleting activities between more energising ones?

 

We encourage you to experiment and try out options to see what works best for you. Many people are surprised by what they discover when they pay this kind of deliberate attention to where their time seems to be disappearing.

If you need help sorting your priorities, we’ve got you covered!

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