I get asked a lot about how I was able to manage my time so effectively (between starting a full time MBA program, getting married, and doing this blog), so I’ll let you in on a secret: I spent a couple of weeks on figuring it out! But the single most important step I took was to start tracking my time.
I had some time off this summer and I ended up getting really involved in an online game called Final Fantasy XIV – many of my friends from work were playing it and it allowed me to stay connected to them. We were able to have a lot of fun, but it took a lot of my time because I was in a leadership position in the game. But how much time did it really take?
I started tracking my time in Excel, and then compared it with super productive people from history, like Ben Franklin.
This was a really eye opening exercise for me! I always felt that I wasn’t spending my time effectively, but this was the first time I got a very real sense of the time I was wasting. I immediately started capping the time I spent in the game, and I started setting up a recurring schedule/meeting for gaming with my friends. This also made our game sessions much more productive, and our little team started clearing harder and harder content.
I also cut down on my TV time. I very rarely just sit down in front of the TV without doing some career research, scheduling, or other ancillary work at the same time.
The excel spreadsheet was the easiest method for me, and the ‘clock’ visualization really helped me categorize my activities. If you want to track your time online (i.e. time spent on specific sites, etc), check out RescueTime – a free app that does it for you and gives you some great visual data!