5 Reasons Why Time Tracking is Good for You

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.
William Penn

Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.
Alan Lakein

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.
Theophrastus

These quotes speak for themselves. Time is our most valuable resource, yet we often use it carelessly. Fortunately, there is one way to help us use our time wisely: time tracking. I’ve written about how to use Rachota for time tracking. Now I’d like to share why I believe time tracking is good for you:

  1. You will know exactly where your time has gone
    If you are like me, maybe you often wonder where your time has gone. Suddenly you reach the end of the day and wonder why you have accomplished so few. Well, time tracking can help you. You will know exactly what activities you’ve spent your time on and for how long.
  2. You can identify your areas of improvements
    After knowing where your time has gone, you can identify your areas of improvements. Simply compare the actual time you spend on each activity with what you think is the best amount for each.
    The ones which actual duration exceeds your ideal duration are your areas of improvements. This is where you waste your time. One thing that obviously falls into this category is idle time. Try to minimize your idle time whenever possible.
    The same thing goes for activities which duration is below your ideal duration. These are the activities in which you do not invest enough time.
  3. You can budget your time
    You can go further by budgeting your time for each activity in the beginning of the day or in the night before. In this case, you set a specific amount of time for each activity and watch yourself not to spend more or less than the allocated time. Time tracker like Rachota makes it easy for you to monitor your progress throughout the day.
  4. You will have a sense of responsibility
    This is another benefit of time tracking which may not be obvious in the beginning. I realize it only after I use it. Time tracking gives you a sense of responsibility in using your time. Why? Because you must “report” your time usage. It is as if you must report your time usage to your boss, only in this case the boss is you.
  5. You will be unlikely to get distracted
    If you use a time tracker, you need to clearly state the purpose of the time you spend. For example, you state that this time is the time to read book and you put it into the time tracker. The time tracker will then start counting the time you spend in reading book. Since you have a clear purpose in mind, you will be unlikely to get distracted. You know exactly what you are doing right now.

For practical tips on using time tracking, check my previous post.

9 Comments

  1. Hello Donald,

    I am developer of timetracker and want to thank you very much for your great blog entry. If you are still using Rachota, I suggest you download yesterday’s build #070320 where I fixed two bugs #1684385 and #1678056.

    As for the motivation for time tracking I especially agree with reasons 4 and 5. I have been using Rachota since 2003 and it’s very useful to for example look back and compare how much time I spent on reading e-mails 2 years ago.

    Finally, if you encounter some problem or come up with an idea for improvement, don’t hesitate and report an issue or send us a message!

    Thanks for your valuable time!
    -Jirka

  2. What a surprise that the developer of Rachota himself comes here :). Rachota is a great tool, Jiri. Thanks a lot for taking the effort to develop such a useful tool! I’m just one of many who have used it to increase our quality of time. I believe many more people will.

    Keep up the good work, and again, many thanks!

  3. I believe that time tracking is a good way of knowing how you spend your time. There wouldn’t be any excuse about where your spare time went if you can track it. Like what you said, you’ll be able to budget your time like money.

  4. Being an adult could mean responsibility. And as #4 suggests, time tracking should give us a sense of responsibility. I think it’s the other way around. We need to be responsible inorder to keep track of our time. How can we manage our time if we are not even responsible enough to do it?

  5. @Alan:
    Sometimes it’s amazing too see how much time we have wasted. Yes, there is no excuse once we can track it.

    @Pamela:
    Interesting view. I agree, we need to have a sense of responsibility to even start tracking our time. Time tracking can then enforce it even more, which makes it a virtuous cycle.

  6. […] I’ve been using time tracking for some time now. Besides the benefits I wrote before, I can also see the patterns of my time usage. From these patterns there are some insights I get on how to better use my time. I hope they can also be useful for you. Here they are: […]

  7. […] in which you might be wasting, under-utilizing, or over-allocating your time. (Check out “5 Reasons Why Time Tracking is Good for You” for some more potential benefits.) Real-time feedback on how well you’re achieving […]

  8. I totally agree with the tenets listed on this page. Furthermore, it brought to mind an article I read on LifeHacker (http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2009/08/achieve-goals-using-the-smart-method/), which said that in order to improve upon something, it has to be measurable. The human mind is prone to biases unbeknownst to the self. While managing money matters by using concrete figures like a checking account is effective, keeping tabs on time subjectively is prone to error and inefficiencies. By staying afloat and aware on time use, one can say with conviction, I use 75% of my time on sleep, on work, etc.

  9. Time tracking helps to get an accurate picture of the time spent on various applications and websites. Time tracking applications can generate statistics, vector graphs by evaluating our onscreen activity such as emails, documents, applications, website usage and games.

    A good one that I’m using is Replicon, a cloud-based application. It works great for recording all our different projects and tracks how we’re spending our time. This time recording system is better replacement for the traditional time clock.

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