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Submitted by cynaus on


 The insight this tracking gave me was well worth the hours spent this weekend analysing the data.

Firstly, for the logging I used the Impetus app for Android, then set the Tabata to 50 rounds, with the Work timer set for 10 minutes. I left all other settings blank. So it just alarmed every 10 minutes throughout the whole day. The only thing I had to do was remember to switch it on at the beginning of my day – which by day three wasn’t a problem ;)

I managed to account for 99.34% of my time and have sorted the data in various ways. The over-arching summary showed me that after 6 months moving from peer to senior manager, I’m still in the weeds quite a lot. I need to be working much more on projects and actual project work only accounted for 12% of my total time (though I could add some email work and research in there, it still would be less than 20%).

I’ve started drilling down now to activities that can be delegated (and all of my directs are keen for me to pass stuff down – which is great). The past 6 months, with one on ones and feedback has also helped get the team on track with their own responsibilities and know my expectations (read “demanding”).

Here’s what I found (warts and all).

project work  12.02

see staff/ managers  10.88

meetings  9.92

writing reports/ letters/ agendas  9.54

email general  9.35

drop ins (by staff, managers, directs)  8.21

one on ones  6.68

admin  5.15

lunch  3.82

Research (project related)  2.86

email responses  2.48

update Evernote (GTD style)  2.48

coffee breaks  2.1

Reading (industry knowledge and MT)  2.1

chatting to directs, staff  1.72

phone calls  1.72

personal emails  1.34

Arriving first thing, seeing directs  1.15

filing, capturing (GTD style)  1.15

prep for meetings  1.15

approvals, signing  0.76

walking back to office from meetings  0.76

bathroom breaks  0.57

induction  0.57

performance management  0.57

personal texts to kids/partner  0.38

Total     99.43

Now to break it all down even further and delegate! This will coincide well with a team planning off-site I want to organise in the next few weeks (actually will get my admin to organise it ;)

cynaus's picture
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After a quick run through as to what could be delegated (or given back to the appropriate staff), it looks like - at a glance - 28% of all activities in those 10 days could be done by someone else. What a revelation!  

6 months ago our manager resigned and I was promoted to his role. And my role wasn't replaced - so since having taken the role, I've kept a lot of the operational work until we - as a team - could figure out how to divvy it up.  Naturally to do that, I had to know exactly which weeds I was getting stuck in.  Fortunately I hired an admin who assists the other team members too. 

Now we can focus on having the right people doing the right jobs :)

Thanks again MT.

PS - That habit was so ingrained after 10 days it felt very weird not tracking my time today!





jskehan's picture
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Thanks for sharing, I started mine last Monday. Just getting started was the hard part for me as this has a couple of hurdles to implement. For example, "what to log?" and  "how to remind yourself?".

Did you, or anyone who has done this before, have any theme/buckets for the tasks? I am curious how others classify them. I am trying to write mine in larger buckets with some specificity where needed. For example, email(processing, writing meeting minutes, scheduling, following up, etc.,), meetings(1:1, project mtg, staff mtg, etc.), information gathering(hallway chat, reading, etc.), documentation (xls, ppt, HR systems, etc.). I will have better insight after I continue this for a few weeks and see others input.

I am using an iPhone app to remind me to log the time and a corner of my notebook to keep score. I am narrowing in on 3 apps to chose the one I'll continue this with Habit Maker(Free, 7-9 alarms over a selected time period per day. Can start/stop alarm manually), Random Alarms(Free, allows >32 random reminders for a single time range), Mind Jogger($0.99, Allows up to 64 reminders along with some calendar based tracking randomly of select time periods and days of the week). I hope to be able to use Random Alarms after finding out that Mind Jogger's calendar tie in limits it to <64 reminders by the iOS system.


cynaus's picture
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Hi - with regard what to log; I wrote down exactly what I was doing and why/ who for. I had a pen and A4 sized pad and just scribbled away every time the alarm went off.  Later I entered everything into a spreadsheet.  Then I was able to see what went together - email (general) or email communication - info gathering - for a specific project or task I was working on.  

This meant I could sort and filter the data in lots of ways.  Since the summary I published above, I was able to drill down into project areas - eg I spent 11% of my time on new intern from Hong Kong and Shandong in those 10 days (which was a combination of email, communications, chats, meetings, writing schedules) - all of which I've handed over to 2 of my directs now.

The more data you capture, the more you can do with it :)

Have fun!





davek's picture

Thanks for this. I've been behind on the podcasts, but the thread caught my eye. I've found the podcast, and am planning to try the timelog. Looks like it could be very useful information.