13. Time Management Step #6: WATCH Yourself Get More Productive!

Let me finish my discussion of the Time Management process by telling you the rest of my own time management story:

As you will recall, after tracking my time usage for a week and tallying and reviewing the result, I was left with the humbling realization that I was wasting lots of time. I thought I was working around seventy hours a week, but I was only accomplishing around twenty-five hours of actual productive work during that period. The rest of the time was going to personal phone calls, Web surfing and other time-wasters.

The next week, I didn’t make any conscious changes or resolutions, except to “do a little better.” Amazingly, I wound up working only sixty hours, with thirty of those hours being productive.

The following week, keeping the same modest goal, I worked fifty-five hours, with around forty of them being productive.

I kept at it, constantly raising the ratio of productive to unproductive hours, until I eventually settled into a routine where I was working around forty-five hours a week, with around forty of those hours being productive. What a difference that made in both my professional and my personal life! Let’s just say I was a much more productive and happy person all around.

That’s the way it typically works for my students, too. Tracking and Reviewing, it turns out, is tremendously empowering. By providing you with accurate information on how exactly you are using (and misusing) your time, it allows you to make the kinds of conscious choices and changes that can not only radically increase your productivity, but improve your quality of life and overall level of happiness. Moreover, this process of improvement often happens pretty much automatically once Tracking and Reviewing lets us see, finally, the scope and outlines of the problem.