Measuring time spent

Measuring time spent

In my last blog, I told you about time spending and how we can influence the 168 hours we are given every week. Now, please let me share with you the result of my time measuring exercise. We initially made the tool structure in excel to test user interface and if the tool would actually provide significant information to us. I then set out to try the tool for a period of fourteen days, and I deliberately did not look at the results during the testing period.

The idea here is to define the ideal way we spend the 168 hours we are given every week. We use this as a benchmark for what we actually do. I defined my personal ideal week and then used 5 minutes every day to reflect on the tasks I have done, and time spent on every task. The result after 14 days showed me how I spent my hours compared to how I wanted to spend my time.

Measuring time spent can give painful insights

The outcome was devastating. I spent a terrifying amount of time on things inside my comfort zone, like numerous hours in front of the TV, social media, etc. My time spending went on the cost of other activities like exercise, meditation, reading books, and so on. I soon realized that I was a victim of my minds quick reward desire where I was entertained by elements I do not control.

This made me realize several things:

  • I thought I understood my time spending, but I didn’t.
  • I was wasting time on things that brought no value to my life.
  • My comfort zone is much larger than I thought.

The conclusion was simple, there must be a change.

Changing habits

Nothing change until you make changes and it was time for me to act. The information from our Time management tool made it easy to get an overview of my habits. I identified low hanging fruits where changes would make an impact. Using the Pareto chart where we identify the biggest deviation and then focus on the elimination of this deviation. To me this meant looking at my habits regarding the TV. The deviation was in excess of 14 hours both weeks.

I usually make dinner after work (around 18.00). When dinner is done I relax in front of the tv watching the early evening news horizontally on the couch. The problem I identified was my position. I laid down on the couch and did not get up again before 23.00 when it was time to go to bed. This made me realize the changes I had to sit or stand in front of the TV.

Change a small habit and get big results

My solution was to define an activity every day at 18.45,  like to go for a walk or start a washing machine. Not starting the evening on the couch made me do many of the other things I put into my perfect week. The new habits are still in place and working great. Now I manage to have the TV in the background without falling down on the sofa. It is time to run the time management tool again to identify the new major deviation.

Remember: nothing change before you make changes, and changes are best made when you have a full picture overview of the situation.

/Petter Sigvaldsen