Productivity, Task Management
Schedule Your Day Efficiently With A Task Time Journal
by Rachael Vandendool
A task time journal is a way to keep track of how long a task takes to complete.
By keeping a task time journal, you can manage your time and tasks better.
Think of it as a backward to-do list.
Instead of writing down the tasks you want to do, you write down the tasks you have done and how long they took you.
I started using a task time journal when I was scheduling out my day. I wondered how long does it take me to do laundry or write a blog post or any of the other many tasks I do regularly.
I needed to know this information so that I would schedule my time efficiently.
Knowing how long a task took me helped me plan my day better.
Why You Need a Task Time Journal
A task time journal helps you properly scheduling your day and be more productive.
When scheduling out your tasks, you need to know when you are going to do your tasks and also how much time you need to accomplish the tasks.
Otherwise, you could over schedule your tasks and give yourself too much to do and too little time to do it in.
For example, sometimes I think I am superwoman, and I can do way more in a day than I thought, because I am not aware of how long the tasks take me to complete.
If I know that I have 6 hours to work on my business, and my tasks are going to take me 8 hours to do, because I kept a task time journal, I could then break up those tasks and move them to days when they would work better for my schedule.
As long as they aren’t urgent and don’t need to be done that day, why over schedule and frustrate yourself?
Also, you could under schedule your tasks, and then you have all this valuable free time that you could be using for something productive.
If I want to be productive, I should use that free time to do something that maintains or improves the different areas of my life.
When I schedule accurately, I make sure I am using my time productively.
Finally, knowing how much time a task takes you to complete helps you when you are trying to decide if the task is worth starting or not when you have unscheduled free time.
A Task Time Journal Helps Overcome Procrastination
When I don’t think I have a lot of free time, I tend to overestimate how long a task takes me to accomplish.
For example, I like to spring clean each room of my house every year. I used to think I would need an entire day to work on each room. If I had 2 hours free in an afternoon, I wouldn’t choose to start a room, because I didn’t think I could get it done, and I hated leaving a room half-finished.
However, I realized after keeping a task time journal that a lot of rooms I could do in under 2 hours and that I was overestimating the time the task took.
Once I realized this, when I had that free unscheduled time, I was able to start and finish the task confidently.
This works great for smaller tasks too, if you are aware of tasks that only take 5, 10, or 15 min. then when you have those extra free minutes, why not accomplish those tasks.
I like to keep these tasks on a sheet in my to-do binder called a quick task list.
A quick task list is a list of quick tasks, less than 30 min., the quick task list states what the task is and how long it takes to accomplish.
What types of tasks should you keep a Task Time Journal For
A Task Time Journal works excellent for routine tasks or tasks that you do more than once.
The tasks do not always have to be completed in one block of time, but you should keep track of how much total time you spend on the task.
For example, I do not usually outline, write a rough draft, edit, format, and publish a blog post in one sitting; sometimes, I don’t always write a rough draft of the blog post in one sitting!
However, It is good to know the total time I spend completing a blog post. That way, I can estimate how much time in my daily, weekly, or monthly schedule I should dedicate to that task.
A Task Time Journal Works For Projects Too
While projects don’t always involve tasks that you would do over and over again, usually projects are done once and completed, it might be useful to know how much time you did spend on the project.
You can use this information to estimate how much time you would need for future projects, or to be aware of how long different parts of the project took you to do.
If you practice Kaizen, you know that making small improvements to the way you do things is an excellent way to becoming more productive.
Once you know how much time you spent on the different parts of your project, you could look for ways you can improve upon those times or the ways you did the tasks.
For example, if you noticed that you spent an exceptional amount of time creating graphics for a project, you can decide if it is worth it for you to do that again next time you have a project. Maybe this is something you should get someone else to do, or perhaps you could do it more efficiently the next time.
How To Keep A Task Time Journal
Keep a sheet of paper nearby, or use this task time journal sheet that you get for free when you sign up for my mailing list.
On the sheet, write down:
- What task you were working on
- What time you started the task
- What time you finished the task
- How long it took to complete the task
If the task is something you won’t complete in one chunk of time. Then you should keep one sheet just for that task and write down how much time you spent on it each time you worked on it. So that you can get a total time of how long the task took you to complete.
How Long Should You Keep A Task Time Journal For?
I am going to be honest keeping a time journal can be tedious, and I don’t suggest you do it all the time.
The main times you should keep a task time journal is when you are starting to create a proper schedule for your tasks, or when you are starting a new task for the first time.
Record how long a task takes you 3-4 times until you get an average of how long you spend on it.
Then use this information for when you are scheduling your tasks.
Keep A Task Time Journal
Start keeping a task time journal today to help you schedule your tasks efficiently and accurately.
Knowing how long a task takes you to complete will help you schedule the right time to work on a task.
Also, knowing how long a task takes to complete helps you determine if this is something you should be spending that much time on or if you should explore ways to accomplish the task more efficiently.
Be more productive with the time you have to achieve the things you need and want to do to maintain or improve the different areas of your life.