When I worked at a law firm, the thing I hated the most was keeping a record of my time. I swear, the billable hour is the Devil’s favorite invention. Keeping track of everything you do in six-minute increments day after day after day is damn near torturous. But productivity experts like Ramit Sethi (@ramit) and Chris Hardwick (@nerdist), as well as writers like Rachel Aaron (@Rachel_Aaron) and Scott Sigler (@Scottsigler), all advocate keeping a record of your time.
The idea is that not only can you see how much time you spend working versus goofing off, but you can also learn which times during the day you are more prone to goofing off. That way, you can not only reduce your time-wasting, but also schedule your day to take advantage of your more productive periods of time. The end result is higher productivity–or for a freelance writer like me, a higher word count and more query letters sent out.
So I recently came across David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner (here are the instructions). Using Chris Hardwick’s patented graph-paper technology, I think I can replicate something similar to it (even though I’m on the computer all day, I love pen and paper technology). I’m curious to learn about my productivity. In college, I was more of a night owl. Now I think my productivity may be at its highest early in the morning and last thing at night. But I guess I need a record to prove it.
So here is my bleg. Do you record your time? Why, why not? How do you measure your productivity? How do you become more productive with or without data? What techniques and tools do you use? Let me know in a comment below.