2 Tools That Will Help You Answer the Question "What did I actually do today?"

Do you ever finish the day and legitimately wonder where the day went?

Yeah, I do too (especially now that I have 3 kids). Here are 2 tools that I use to track where I am actually spending my time.

  1. The Time-Block Planner - Amazon

The planner is a great resource. Although most of my life is digital, I find the physical presence of the planner and using a pen forces me to consider what is most important.

Using a pen and paper has also forced me to face some distractive habits that I have as well as to recognize some shadow principles that drive me. (More on those topics in a future post)

The system is relatively simple to use, however, like most productivity gains it requires attention and determination to establish it as a habit. My first week did not go so well, and like the introductory text encourages you: don’t view circumstances arising that change your schedule as a failure, simply adjust the schedule to remain intentional about where you direct your time. As I was tempted to just jump into work most mornings, I made a rule: I can’t start using my computer or phone until I have filled in the schedule.

Benefit: time-blocking helps me be intentional about where I allocate my time.

  1. RescueTime - Website

I have been using this app for 5 years now. The data collected gives me a great glimpse into where I am spending my time on the computer. I get an email every week and I can see the top categories that I spent time on and if I was able to meet the goals that I have set for my time.

I recently listened to a GTD podcast and paraphrasing one the the speakers: “You cannot make time. You can take time to do something and that means that you cannot spend that time doing something else.”

Benefit: I have a transparent view of where I am spending my time, and can make adjustments and identify rabbit-holes that I might fall into again.