I sometimes get asked how many hours per week I spend on work from home projects. While I can give a general guess the truth is, I’m not exactly sure. So I decided to track it.
Tracking my time left me with a very surprising result…..
The “Already-Done” List
My morning routine entails waking up, getting myself and two daughters ready for the day, driving the girls to school and then coming back home and working.
When I decided to start tracking my work from home time I made a rough list of things that I had to get done for the week and began working. I would write down the exact time I started, what I was working on and when I finished that particular task, I’d write the exact time again.
I wanted to be thorough so I could report back accurately.
Only, writing down what I had actually accomplished made me want to keep adding to the list.
The first day I tried this method I had my entire weeks’ worth of freelance articles done in one day with time to spare. (I normally space these out from Monday through Wednesday!)
My “already-done list” was blowing my traditional to-do list out of the water. I felt such a sense of accomplishment when I could look back at the end of the day and see so many things I had done.
And it didn’t stop with work either. I started writing down everything I did while the girls were at school. Laundry? Check. Make lunch? Check. Feed the animals? Check. Watch Dr. Phil reruns? Nope……I stopped “sneaking” in TV time because I didn’t want to write it down. I’m sure I stopped sneaking in a lot of time wasters I normally succumb to.
Keeping an already-done list versus a to-do list turned out to be monumental for my productivity.
(The downside to this is that I’m going to have to track my work from home time a little longer to get an accurate answer to how many hours I work as I’ve seemed to unintentionally, but for the better, change my hours the past few weeks.)
General Guidelines for Making this Work
A couple general guidelines for making this work.
First, tracking every minute of time doesn’t really work when kids are home. You can still write down what you’ve done but it’s harder to track it down to the minute. If you’re working at home by yourself or are at a workplace I’d highly encourage to track how long it takes you to do certain tasks. This can be a huge eye-opener.
(I found out, for instance, that coming up with good blog post ideas for the other blogs I write for takes me more time than anything else I do. I never would’ve guessed this to be true! Now that I know this I’ve been tinkering with ideas on making blog post topic creation a smoother process.)
Secondly, it’s good to have a general list of things you’d like to get done for the entire week so you can go from one task to another without having to think about it.
Every Monday write down every single thing that MUST be done and add throughout the week as necessary. Then, every day when you begin working start tracking what you do and how long it takes you. Once you have one thing done look at the next thing on your list.
It’s so insanely simple but I cannot even begin to tell you how much more I’ve accomplished since I began doing this. It’s crazy.
Try it out and let me know how much your productivity increases!
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