“The first step toward executive effectiveness is to record actual time-use.” - Peter Drucker
While these are great first steps for hacking productivity, the concept of time tracking takes time management to the next level.
Time tracking is creating moment-to-moment awareness of actions by keeping track of time spent on projects throughout the day. When leaders record minutes and hours spent on specific tasks, alignment (or misalignment) between goals and actions becomes visible.
When school leaders audit their time, they are often surprised by the results. For example, leaders may contend much of their time is spent on instructional leadership tasks such as being in classrooms and engaging with teachers. However, an analysis of time may indicate minimal amounts of their day is invested in these activities.
Wondering how to track your daily actions? Here are three common methods:
Journal - Some leaders carry around a small notebook or journal to keep track daily outputs
Stopwatch - Wrist watches and smartphones both provide user-friendly options for tracking time
Apps - Smartphones and computers offer several choices for collecting detailed productivity information
Whereas time tracking is commonly used to analyze professional hours, this approach can be beneficial for examining time allocation in all aspects of life.
I find value in tracking my pursuits outside of work. By comparing my "productive" hours (reading, writing, working out) against my "unproductive" hours (social media, watching TV), I have become increasingly motivated to commit more time to meaningful tasks and less time on tasks that produce no tangible product.
Regardless if used to measure professional or personal pursuits, leaders who explore time tracking will immediately develop a clearer picture if daily behaviors align with intended outcomes.
Looking for a great book discussing the concept of tracking time? Consider reading Deep Work by Cal Newport.