Time Management

Track Your Time to Get More Done

Track Your Time to Get More Done
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From CEOs to janitors, we all have the same problem: We don’t have enough time.

As entrepreneurs getting the most out of our time is crucial. Everyone knows what tasks they need to do in a day, but do you know how long each of those tasks will take? Down to the second?

After working in television and digital producing video segments for nearly 15 years I’ve learned timing is everything. You need to know exactly how long each segment takes and every last second counts. If a story runs long 15 seconds then another story needs to be cut by the same amount of time.  

Much like news items, this is what you should be doing with your daily tasks. The first thing you need to do is figure out how long each task takes. I mean how long does it actually take; not just how long you THINK it takes. Some tasks to consider include answering emails, how long it takes to debrief your team and your commute.

Related: Become a Productivity Monster by Eliminating These 5 Time-Wasting Habits

Here are some ways to track your time:

Toggl: A website and app that lets you track how long your tasks take.  So those reports that will “only take a minute” can actually be counted in real time.  This is also a good way for your freelancers to log their time as well.  That way they know how long it takes to finish projects, and you can see how much you owe them if you pay by the hour.

Rescue Time: A web-based service similar to Toggl but also allows you to set limits on how long you check emails or update Facebook. This helps keep you from getting distracted while you’re supposed to be logging your time.

Once you know how long each task takes, you need to organize your time. 

Here’s how to do it:

Prioritize 

It’s pretty obvious that an important report takes precedence over replenishing your stationery supplies but take some time to think about each task. Sometimes you forget about a small thing, which can have a much bigger effect on everything else. Plus think about where you can lump similar tasks together. For example, if you have a task that uses the same program, putting them together saves on going back and forth.

Related: How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work

Use the Pomodoro technique

The idea behind Pomodoro (which means tomato in Italian) is that you have 25 minutes to work on a certain task.  You are supposed to stop the clock if you drift. It’s a good way to train yourself to learn what 25 minutes of working feels like. Then you can take a short break (five minutes) or a long break (15 minutes). This strategy keeps you on task but also allows you to refresh your mind.

Reward yourself

If you stick to your schedule, treat yourself to something you enjoy like listening your favorite song or reading a chapter of a good book. Just don't go overboard and derail your day.

Related: 7 Steps for Successfully Running Your Day as an Entrepreneur