The reason behind this post
About 6 months ago during my college life, I was watching a lot of productivity videos on YouTube and tried to follow the advice in them. Time tracking is one of the most common advice which many YouTubers give. The main reason for this is by doing so we get to know where our time is going and we kind of learn to estimate time more precisely. Humans are very bad at estimating and this is the reason this is a famous approach.
I used Toggl which is an awesome app to start time tracking. There are also several other but this not a place to discuss which one to choose.
I tracked my time for around 6 months. Daily. It was the most consistent thing that I did. LOL
Whenever you start a new thing you are generally more excited about it but slowly the fun goes away. This is a normal thing.
For analogy you can consider it like a Soda Bottle, it has tremendous energy but once you shake and open it after a few seconds it becomes like normal water. This is the same thing that happens with humans.
When I started tracking the time I was excited and tried to track almost every single task. This was way too much as I am a Human, not a Robot 🤖 , and in the world where the average attention span is 15seconds, it is harder to focus on one thing.
To counter this problem I made a threshold. I started tracking all those tasks that took more than or equal to 30mins. This was helpful and due to this, I was also not in the hurry to make an entry in the app. That was too much.
So I continued this and after I week when I was gazing at my weekly summary I was able to see the tasks which I did the most or in other words where my time went. One more thing that was the time when there was a lockdown due to a pandemic and I had too much time, so it was kind of necessary to keep a track where I am spending my time.
This went well for 3 months, I was motivated to spend more time on a single task so that I can put it on the app and it was working. A kind of habit developed in me.
Problems you might face
Now if you follow the last paragraph and want to start tracking your time then it is good, go on, give it a try. Don’t read further, Experiment it.
If you are reading this then here I would like to tell you some problems that I faced.
When maintaining a time log becomes your habit and if somehow you are unable to get the hours that you spend the last day or week then there comes an element of frustration. It may sound a little silly but it will happen when you do this consistently for around 3 months. And if this frustration repeats then our mind comes up with the brilliant strategy of cheating. This happened to me, I increased 5–10mintues on tasks just to meet that goal. This can make you less predictive about how much time you need.
Another big disadvantage, what happened to me was that I was racing against the clock and not the work. If I had some side task which I wasn’t tracking but it was necessary then I was delaying it and I know it’s a little hard to explain but it was not doing too good for me.
So I decided to give it a break.
So What Happened after that?
After facing some issues I decided to not track time for a week. This was very helpful for me. After 6 months of consistently marinating a log now, I was free. I did whatever, whenever and for how long I want to do and it was a good feeling. I had one less thing to worry about. I also analyzed that I was even more productive than before.
The best advice that I can give is Start Tracking your time. Do it till you don’t face the above-mentioned problems.
Time tracking taught me to give time to a task and not to rush through many things at a time. This was going great but when I found I was cheating with myself I had to do some change. So I quit time tracking and it helped me. Probably after some time, I will start it again.
Thanks for giving your valuable time to this post!
Give it a ❤ if you liked it.
This article was originally posted on Medium
A little about me
I am a Full Stack Developer and a Technology lover. Other than technology I love reading and gaming.
Checkout my portfolio: https://theshubhagrwl.netlify.app/ and let’s connect on social platforms.😉
Top comments (5)
The purpose of the time tracking exercise is to discover how you use your time. I know from experience that using an app like Toggl actually makes the exercise harder. Use pen and paper. It is important for the time tracking to be as detailed as possible and to not lie to yourself. Those little one minute things you aren't writing down are actually really important in identifying issues that prevent you making better use of your time.
Hey, Thanks for your response. I think using Pen and Paper will be awesome. I will try to make my time log more detailed. Thanks 😀
Also you might want to search "maker schedule vs manager schedule".
Keep in mind, most time management tips are created by management types. Unless you're doing cookie cutter stuff, software development is a creative pursuit. We can't just assign 15 minutes to write some code - it can take longer than that just to context switch to the coding task you want to work on!
Time tracking helps me to know where does my time goes. I often spend too much time on a task which is not good sometimes. With many tools come with a time tracking feature, now I can work and manage my time right. I use project management software like Trello or Quire.
I've been using TMetric for a while to track my time and activity. The main purpose is not only being paid accurately according to my time records, but also to optimize my time utilization, plan workload based on the performance peaks, avoid overtime and have a flexible schedule.