11. Time Management Step #4: TALLY Your Time and REVIEW Your Weekly Progress

Now things are going to get interesting.

At the end of the week, take your filled-in Tracking Form, and figure out: (1) how much time you spent on your various goals and tasks, and (2) how close those numbers came to your Time Budget.

This is probably going to be an enlightening process, and it might also be humbling. Let me offer an example from my own life:

Several years ago, I was trying to get a business off the ground. I’ve always had workaholic tendencies, but at that time, I was spending almost all of my waking hours on the business. I was the business owner, so there was no shortage of things for me to be doing: writing business plans, talking to investors, supervising employees and contractors, and, of course, sales and marketing.

For all of my efforts, however, the business wasn’t doing very well. Important things weren’t getting done, and we weren’t making much money.

I consulted a mentor, who suggested that I do the time management system I’ve outlined for you in this book. I was a little skeptical, but I gave it a try. I did the whole BUDGETING and SCHEDULING endeavor, then spent a week FOLLOWING the schedule and TRACKING my time.

Saturday morning, when the week was over, I sat down and TALLIED my time and REVIEWED how well I had done.

The result, to put it mildly, was surprising. It turned out that, while I thought I was working seventy or more hours a week, I was actually working far less. I learned, in fact, that, even though I might have been sitting at my desk for seventy hours, I was actually spending huge amounts of that time on personal calls, Web surfing, video games, coffee breaks and other non-work activity. In fact, out of the seventy hours I thought I was “working” I was actually only accomplishing around twenty-five hours of actual work.

I remember feeling shocked when I learned this, and even a little humiliated. What I had just learned was completely at odds with my self-image as an ambitious person and a dynamo. I learned that I was a person who might be ambitious, but who was also capable of wasting huge amounts of time.

That was one of the most painful lessons I ever learned, but it was worth it—as you’ll learn in Chapter 13.

My only tip for Tallying and Reviewing is to do it at the same time each week, so that it becomes a routine. I did it first thing Saturday mornings; the whole process took less than half an hour, and was fun and interesting as well as enlightening.