I spent the early years of my working life in a public accountancy practice where I followed the discipline of completing “time sheets”. If you are not familiar with time sheets, basically they are a daily record of how you spend your time – what sort of work you are doing and for which clients. The reason for them is simply to keep track of the time which will be charged to each client.
This was a discipline that I followed for many years. Most Accounting firms have policies on how many “chargeable hours” you must have in a day. Of course if you are talking to your friend or wasting time there is a gap in your time sheets and you soon learn to make sure there are “enough” chargeable hours. In those days I was always aware of how I spent my time – and if it was chargeable! Generally speaking I knew how to be very productive. I knew how to trade my time for money.
You would think this would be a skill that would carry over to future careers. For me, this was sadly is not the case. When I moved into various marketing and sales roles I did not have the same discipline with my time.
It was many years later during a study course I completed with Dr Fred Grosse that I was reintroduced to the concept of tracking the working day. Dr Fred referred to the discipline as keeping track of your “Dollar Productive Activity”. I once again commenced the ritual of keeping a log of my time and breaking it into activities made money – and those that did not.
This time around it was not as clear cut for me as in an accountancy practice. There the activities had been clearly chargeable or not. Now my role included all sorts of marketing, PR, travelling, networking – I had to be very honest with myself as to what was “dollar productive”.
Even more scary was what we found when we had our staff complete the time logs. The internet and email have added to the activities that can distract us all.
Today working in a home based business on my computer for much of the day makes it very easy to lose hours reading and replying to emails. And Social Media – how much time do we spend on Facebook and twitter a day – and is it productive?
I am going to start tracking my time again. I encourage you to do the same for at least 2 weeks . You may be shocked by the results. Please leave me your feedback.