Unless you are in the business of being a lawyer or accountant, it is very unlikely that you have ever mapped your time. And why would you? On its face, Time Mapping is a very, very tedious task. But before you write it off too quickly as a waste, think again – Time Mapping is probably one of the best uses of your time you will find, writes productivity expert, Kate Christie.
So, what is Time Mapping?
Time Mapping is the process of conducting a full audit of exactly where you spend your time each day.
Why on earth would I want to do this?
Because you can’t know what changes you can make to your habits until you know in detail exactly where you spend your time.
Your business day is made up of a multitude of competing demands on your time. And when you get to the end of the day while you know that you have been very, very busy and you can account for the major pieces of work you spent time on, you won’t recall exactly what you did each minute of the day. For example, can you answer these questions about today:
Exactly where did I spend my time today?
What habits or rituals did I engage in and when?
How often was I interrupted and by who?
Did I procrastinate?
Was I distracted and for how long?
Is there a pattern to the interruptions and distractions?
How often was I on my device?
How often was I off my device?
How many emails did I receive?
How often was I in my emails?
How many meetings did I attend?
Was each meeting productive?
You cannot fully respond to these types of questions about your daily time usage without a full set of data. And without a full set of data you can’t possibly make the changes you need to make in order to maximise your time spend. Besides, once you see the data you will have a clear idea of exactly how much time you waste – which is a great motivator for change.
Tomorrow I want you to Map a full day – from the moment you get up until the moment you go to bed, log every task you perform and how long you spend on the task. It’s a personal audit to clearly identify every single moment you switch task – every call; every sale; every customer inquiry; every distraction; every interruption; every transaction; every task or activity for your family; and everything else that makes up the cacophony of your day.
Your mapped time will provide you with an incredible amount of valuable data – data which will allow you to decide what is costing you time, and where best to invest your time going forward.
This is an edited extract from SMART Time Investment for Business: 128 Ways the Best in Business Use Their Time
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