Tracking Time

Tracking Time

I’ve had a breakthrough in my productivity. Again. Specifically in the area of being focused and distracting myself less often when a new shiny thing crosses my path. Look! There’s a pony!

We’re tracking our time to the minute at work at the moment, to get an answer (or an inkling) to the question – how long do things actually take? Interesting how the observed alters behaviour. I stay on point. When an interruption comes blazing across my path, as they are wont to do, I either ignore it until I have finished the task I’m on, or take it – and then return to the task I was doing. Unheard of. I no longer have ten things open on my computer at once. I empty my inbox regularly.

It’s not like I’m racing the clock to see if I can do things faster. I’m actually curious to know how long things take. I’ve discovered that certain emails that seem to take forever, actually only take a couple of minutes. Even an email that was difficult to compose and required sensitivity and diplomacy took no more than seven minutes in total.

So how did the humble excel spreadsheet become such a source of power, as in the velocity with which something is accomplished, and accountability, the fulfilment of one’s word? Is it that it keeps me present and on track? Does it provide a safety net against distractions and interruptions? Is it deepening my relatedness to reality? I wonder where else I could apply this practice in my life?

Where could you?