If you are feeling busy all the time but you are not getting that much done, it is a sign that you need to take a look at your productivity. Measuring this, however, can be tricky. But if you know productive you have been, it can really put your day in perspective.
What is being productive? How can I know how productive I am. And how do I spend my time better?
How to track your time/productivity
If you want to know how you can spend your time better you first need to know where you are spending your time now.
Pen and paper
This one is just for honest realistic people that like to work on paper. If you are one of these people it is easy to just write down the time you have to spend on something.
You can also add the time you think a task is going to cost (or even better how much time it has cost you in the past). Or you can add a rating for how good it went.
This is the most basic manner to see where your time is going and how you are spending it. But most of us are not that good at remembering and being honest with ourselves.
To do list
Of course, if you don’t care about time, to do list are another great way to track your productivity. How many items did you finish vs how much did you plan to finish? It is a great way to track if you have lots of little tasks.
However, writing to do lists that work is a skill on it own.
Is a to-do list app that is also great for tracking productivity. First of all, it tracks how much to do items you have finished. It also sends you emails on how much you’ve gotten done. (In my case it just keeps sending me the same few tasks that I did not complete)
It also literally has a system that keeps track of how productive you have been by using a karma point system.
This extension is seriously amazing. Now it tells me exactly the amount of time I have spent on YouTube watching videos of cats.
This is really a great extension when a lot of the work you do is online. It tells you in on which websites you have spent your time in minutes and seconds precisely.
How to use this information
Now that you know how productive you are and how much time this costs you it is time to make the changes that will make you more productive.
Make sure you put quality over quantity
Being productive means you are putting time into something that actually is important. And not just spend a lot of time on little tasks that might be less important. So instead of just seeing how much stuff gets done. Make sure you also know how important that stuff is vs the stuff you might not get done or are putting off.
It is also important to have a clear view of what is productive and what isn’t. For example, if you spend time on facebook is that networking or procrastinating.
For knowing how productive you are being you need a good and clear view of what is productive and working towards your goals. And what is just you being busy, without being productive.
One thing that is really important for this is prioritising. If you know how to prioritise you can spend your time much better.
Keep tracking and adjusting
Habits get build over time. Nobody just decides to get productive and then is productive the rest of their lives. You need to find systems that work for you.
Plus, you need to set goals that make you feel motivated and that you actually want to work on.
If you know where your time is going, you can slowly adjust habits, routines and systems to shift this.
But don’t be upset if you have lesser days.
Tracking is just a tool. And you can never be evenly productive every single day.
Do you have a favourite tool you use to track your productivity?