I Tracked All My Work and Personal Time For A Year
We track our time diligently at Texas Creative, as this is important for billing and understanding how our workdays are used. So – why not apply that to my time outside of work too? Over the past year I have tracked all of my time using an app called Now Then. Not just my work time – all of it. I was inspired by watching a video on YouTube and thought I would give it a shot because I was running into some time-management issues in my everyday life.
At the time, I was feeling a bit lost - when I started my time-tracking journey, I was 8 months into my first full time position and still trying to get a hold on what my life looked like outside of work. I had goals for reading, exercise, and art that I wasn’t meeting, but couldn’t put a finger on where all the time went. Journaling helps me ground myself and reflect, but I only sit down to write once a day and it doesn’t capture all the information about my day and the hobbies I want to keep track of.
I knew it would be a commitment, but I was really interested in the data I would be able to collect over the course of a year, and knew it was worth a try! So I shelled out $2.99 for the app and started tracking!
Benefits of tracking every minute of your life
- Time tracking made me more intentional about what I was about to do. For example, I’d be on my way to click “Social Media” when I was headed to Instagram, and it made me pause and consider that this might turn into a 30 minute doom scroll.
- Along with that, I could even use it as a tool to get myself to do something. If I clicked “Yoga” - that helped push me to roll out the mat and get moving.
- It made me reflect more on the 8-8-8 structure of my day and helped me plan my week. I could plan ahead and think, “Ok, I know I have around 8 hours to fit in my hobbies - how does that look in my schedule for accomplishing these goals for this week?”
- I now have a year’s worth of data to reference to be able to make decisions about my time. For example, maybe in 2023 I’ll try to meal-prep more on the weekends, so I can get some of that time back during my weekdays.
Throughout the process, I fell off here and there but I would say my tracking is pretty accurate - I only ever fell about a day behind and could make a good estimate of where my time went.
I won’t dive into detailed specifics, but here’s a glimpse for those wondering:
- I watch too much TV/YouTube. That number was quite eye-opening!
- Despite this, I’m proud of the fact that I averaged over 30 minutes of exercise and drawing a day, and 45 minutes of reading every day.
- I logged a ton of time under food (I grouped cooking and meals together). I developed a love for cooking in March of 2022 that hasn’t stopped, and you can see a significant increase in time trying out new recipes.
Will I continue?
Moving forward, I will continue to track my time, but definitely in a different way. In hindsight, I found I only really cared about tracking specific goals like exercise, crocheting, and reading, so I may only start the stopwatch for those specific tasks next year. Logging my sleep added a large amount of hours that I didn’t really care about, and made my bar graphs look a bit weird in the app.
I found so much value in this experiment and really feel like I reclaimed time that I had lost. I am looking forward to seeing how my next year turns out. Would you ever try tracking every minute of your day?