As the end of the year draws near I update, review, and reflect on my many projects. One mini-project (I always have a number of these on the go) is keeping track of my projects. This is done, if you recall, with a time tracking spreadsheet.
The time sheet is now six months old and, yes, I am using it every time I sit down to work on a project. It serves its purpose well because I review where my time is spent both weekly and monthly.
I believe it has helped me become much more aware of my time and how to spend it more productively. For example, I aim to work seven hours per day for a 35-hour workweek. It does not matter to me if this includes weekends, or if I achieve my goal in four days. I may find that by mid-week I have not averaged enough hours per days to meet my goal if I continue to work at the same pace. This, then, spurs me on to put more hours in for that given week.
The one change I have made on the spreadsheet for the coming year is to remove the word count. Counting words really doesn’t mean much to me, particularly if I’m writing a rough draft or editing. I’ve never been able to write something from beginning to end without going through the drafting and writing processes. Therefore, the number of words I type in one day or month isn’t useful.
I also found that a few important elements were missing from the spreadsheet. I have a part-time job, so this plus the travel time, is now included in the spreadsheet. I’ve added a row called admin, because I found some things, such as the spreadsheet, don’t take care of themselves.
Additionally, I’ve added the names of a couple of side projects to the list. Whilst my main focus must be my dissertation, it’s a breath of fresh air to get my head out of the paper and into a related project. I’ve always found that having a couple of things on the go makes me more productive.
Lastly, I’ve removed data sorting section, as this should, by all rights, fall into time spent on a project.
I believe that time management is a fluid processes, and therefore I am expecting to make further changes in the coming months and years.