Stop Time Logging, it is Stupid; Start Time Benchmarking

i 2022/01/12 09:40:56 TIMELOG:BLOGGING
Today I wanted to take a small step away from Tim Ferriss and talk about some… methodology.

For a very long time, I was much the opinion of everyone else when it comes to time management: try time logging. Sure, that stuff works for a while… but over time the system becomes cumbersome. In this post I want to share with you why time logging as others promote is stupid, and instead I’ll offer you a technique that works.

Why Time Logging is Stupid

There are two kinds of time logging: active and passive time logging.

Active Time Logging

Active time logging is when you print off two sheets of paper that have each day of the week cut up into 15 minute blocks of time. The idea is that you use one to schedule out your week, and the second one to log what you did over the course of the week. That’s like 70-90 entries per day, or well over 500 per week.

This is stupid when you really get down to it because you are having to actively maintain a record of what you are doing. And so others invented passive time logging.

Passive Time Logging

Passive time logging is when you put technology to work and having it make entries for you. There are some apps for the browser and your phone that allow the software to access your movements, actions, and any other data-input to infer what you are doing with your time, or let you categorize what you were doing for entries made to the log.

This is stupid because you are creating a dependency on technology for generating the data and the accompanying software for maintaining it. And the point of life is not to glued to our technology.

So let me share with you what works.

Time Benchmarking is Big Brain

Let’s get right down to it, Time Benchmarking is what works. The reasons for why it works are deceptively simple.

If you have only 3 important tasks set for the day, how long does it take to do those three tasks? If you have to enter a start time and an end time for 3 tasks, that’s 6 entries. I am sure you can handle that on a day to day basis. You probably text more often than that.

What’s more, those three most important tasks are probably like the ones you had yesterday, and they are most likely the ones that you will have tomorrow as well. How long did it take you yesterday as compared today? How long do you think it will take you tomorrow?

But you don’t only have to benchmark the important. You can start to discover with a stopwatch and timer how accurate your powers of estimation are for using time. Set a timer for how long you think it will take to do something and then start the stopwatch once you get started.

Questions to consider

  • If you get done before the alarm, why did it take you less time than you thought?
  • If you didn’t get done until after the alarm went off, why did it take longer than you expected?

These kinds of insight can create tremendous insight into your work and managerial process.

An example?

  • How much time do you routinely dedicate to investing your money?
  • If you annualized that effort, how much time would you have dedicated?
  • Assuming your benchmark is the slowest you went all year, how much time have you dedicated so far?
  • Assuming your benchmark is the fastest you’ve ever done it, would the outcome of doing it less frequently be worse, same, or better?

After I asked the following questions, I saved nearly 80 hours a year. What would you do with two work weeks of time?

When you benchmark the time you use on the activities you routinely do, you can discover how to trim processes down to the essential. This in turn leaves you with an abundance of time to reflect on things, read important stuff, or… like… polish pennies.

o 2022/01/12 10:58:35


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