When we think about time tracking, we mostly think about it being a best practice for work purposes.
Tracking time boosts productivity, allows freelancers to accurately bill clients for projects, and gives us a better sense of how long a task may take (which can help both with planning and developing scopes of work).
But did you know that tracking time is also essential for your life outside of work?
Regardless of what fills your hours and days, time management is something nearly all of us struggle with.
We all have a lot of responsibilities and expectations, both from external and internal sources—work (of course), family obligations, friendships to nurture, personal health and wellness, and the daily maintenance of life.
A lot of times it can feel like being on a hamster wheel—how can we possibly fit everything into the 24 short hours we have in a day?
Granted, life isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon, so it’s on us to gain ownership over the things we can actually control.
That’s why tracking time relates to basically anything you do. By being ordered in how you approach your everyday tasks, you are able to maximize your time while also prioritizing your health and happiness.
It’s up to you to decide the things that are most important and should take precedence each day, but in this article we will focus on some of the most common areas.
We hear a lot about “screen time” and how it affects us—mostly to our own detriment.
In this digital world, many of us are heads down toward our screens—whether they be attached to our smartphones, mobile devices, or laptops—for a big portion of the day. Advances in technology have a lot of indisputable advantages, but with constant communication comes a lot of pressure, too. That’s why it’s important for us to have an idea about much time we are actually spending glued to our electronics.
Apple has also come to value this, which is why it launched Screen Time as part of its iOS 12 update. With no app download needed, Screen Time lives within your settings and allows you to go into a dashboard to see what apps you’ve been in—and for how long—in the last 24 hours. You can also get more detailed information about your day or week, plus get a weekly notification of your average screen time.
Though this takes care of your iPhone, it’s important to note that Screen Time doesn’t work across all your devices. Luckily, Timing is basically Screen Time for your MacBook (plus so much more).
Being active isn’t just important for our physical health, but for our mental health (and productivity!) as well.
As Harvard Medical School explains, “Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells. Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.”
All this being said, to reach peak performance in all areas of your life, exercise should become a consistent part of your weekly routine.To reach peak performance in all areas of your life, exercise should become a consistent part of your weekly routine. Click To Tweet
Since you are tracking your time, it’s easier to see pockets of your day where you may usually experience a lull—either in workload, or in your level of productivity. This could be an optimal time to exercise.
If you have children, then chances are this is a big category to consider. Though we all have certain family obligations, being a parent definitely puts additional stress (along with fulfillment and happiness, of course!) on your day-to-day life.
If you happen to work outside the home, then you know that showing up is important—whether it be for family dinners, a youth soccer game, a school event, or the nightly bedtime routine.
Have something you need to do every day? Make sure you are carving out the proper time to do it. Whether this means putting it as a repeating event on your calendar, making sure you aren’t diving into a task that will interfere with this time (hence why time tracking is so important), or shutting down the electronics for an hour or two each night, being present in your family’s life with help make unforgettable memories for all of you.
Aside from family, your other personal relationships and friendships deserve some love, too!
We often feel tired at the end of the day or the week, and the thought of meeting a friend becomes less appealing. However, it’s important to prioritize your human connections and reason with yourself that getting together for a cup of coffee or cocktail is good for your spirit—you’ll likely gain some much-needed support and enjoy some laughs.
And, because you work hard to optimize your time, you should find that you have some moments to spare to spend with others.
Ah yes, relaxation. You might be thinking to yourself, “Me? Having time to relax? Yeah right!” But yes, you do in fact have time for relaxation.
Aside from the obvious one, sleep (by the way, the National Sleep Foundation still recommends 7-9 hours for adults aged 26-64), relaxation means something different to different people.
For you it could mean watching TV, reading for pleasure, taking a bath, or savoring a few precious moments to meditate. Whatever floats your boat is fine, just make sure you are giving yourself a little time each day to do so.
Now you might be feeling a little resistant to integrating time tracking into all areas of your life—after all, it’s just another thing to remember to do.
Technically, yes, but with Timing it is much simpler than you think. Timing does something that many other products do not—it tracks all the time spent on your Mac automatically. Yes, without you having to lift a finger. Now, to make the most out of your Timing experience, it is in your best interest to invest time upfront to properly organize your time categories and create customized rules.
However, once that’s done, the majority of the work is over. The good thing about Timing is that you can also enter time manually, so no need to worry about the time spent off of your device. You can easily set reminders throughout the day to manually enter time—for your lunch break, say—so that you can account for all minutes of the day.
Plus, with a calendar setting built right in, you can easily see your appointments, family events, and oh-so-important exercise reminders.
The Bottom Line
Along with everything else, don’t forget to take some time for the thing that’s most important—you.
By carving out time to focus on personal development—whether it’s taking a class you enjoy or could advance your career, reading for enlightenment, or volunteering—working on yourself will benefit every other aspect of your life.
See? Time tracking isn’t just about work, work, and more work. It’s about taking the time we are given every day and using it to help us make the most out of life.