Chart energy levels with a time log

Many time management resources suggest using a time chart or log as a starting point to see how you are actually using your time as opposed to how you think you are using your time.

Benefits

  • Pinpoint when and how time is wasted
  • Determine your peak energy levels
  • Calculate the gap between what you believe is important & how you invest your time
  • Easily see areas to improve
  • Allows you to measure progress with a periodic check

Overcome resistance with curiosity

I know, right? A time audit kind of sounds like a tedious task. Despite knowing all the benefits, it was hard to get excited about adding this to my list of things to do until I saw this chart with the daily routines of famous creative people from Podio. It sparked my curiosity to see how my daily routine compared. I quickly saw that I was taking too long to get going in the morning, and failing to use my most productive time for important tasks.

DailyRoutines

So how does your day compare?

Another way to look at it is Creative Routines from Infowetrust.com. The Muse provides a form to track your time use in this circular manner.

Does the idea of a routine sound boring as well? The most productive people follow a routine to make the most of their time. A flexible routine automates tasks to free attention for more important matters.

The Daily PlanIt Time Use Chart (pdf) is a free printable chart for a time audit.

TimeAuditDaily

More Tools

Chronodex

Color in a Chronodex; I love this one from artist Kate Smith.

A simple free printable time chart for a week at studenthandouts.com.

There are also apps and software for tracking time use: 10 Time-Tracking Apps That Will Make You More Productive in 2014 from Fast Company.

Laura Vanderkam, author of the book “168 Hours,” offers a free spreadsheet to track time.

Here is another spreadsheet in Google Docs from a book review at Productivityist. The book is “How to Invest Your Time Like Money” by Elizabeth Grace Saunders.

The Printable CEO Emergent Task Timer is a tool from David Seah.

See where you spend your online time with options like the Limitless extension for the Chrome browser.

MatrixTimeChart

The Matrix Time Chart (pdf) is based on Stephen R Covey’s Time Management Matrix, to track activities within the four quadrants.

  • Quadrant I (Important/Urgent): includes Repeating tasks, recurring, routine tasks
  • Quadrant II (Important/Not Urgent): includes Goals and planning
  • Quadrant III (Urgent/Not Important): includes Distractions, interruptions
  • Quadrant IV (Not Urgent/Not Important): includes Time wasters

Chart Energy Levels

Our high energy time should be used for high priority tasks and projects that require creativity and thought. Notice patterns for physical and mental energy and how it varies throughout the day and week. Use this information when scheduling activities. Another way to look at your energy use is the Energy Level Gauge tool at How Are Your Energy Levels. It is an easy way to see which of twelve life areas need more attention.

Time and energy are limited resources. Make the most of them!

Additional Reading: Activity Logs at Mind Tools, Time Logging from Right Attitudes,  Understanding Your Personal Energy Cycle by Laura Stack, Productivity Heat Map at Productive Flourishing

I enjoy finding great information, combining it in new ways, and packaging it creatively. I'm highly interested in the areas of goal setting, time management, and skills to improve life.

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9 comments on “Chart energy levels with a time log
  1. […] it. We tend to under-estimate how many high calorie snacks we eat, and how much time we waste on social media or other things. Tracking it can provide an eye-opening […]

  2. […] budget includes time for priorities in different areas of life. A good starting point is to do a time audit. Learn more about using time well at Time Management […]

  3. […] time use and lead to positive change. There are some easy ways to accomplish a time audit, like using color codes for different activities to color in a […]

  4. […] time use and lead to positive change. There are some easy ways to accomplish a time audit, like using color codes for different activities to color in a […]

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