It always seems as if we never have enough time to do the things we need to get done. But there is a way to get more out of our time. We can’t add more hours to the day, but we can make better use of the time that we do have.
One way to get started is with a time audit. It’s kind of like doing an audit on your finances. When you do an audit on your finances, you’re checking to see what your spending habits are like. The time audit is similar. Here you’re looking at where you spend your time. Here’s the process for the audit.
Your equipment for a time audit is relatively simple– a pen, a pad, and a timer. You can simply use your smartphone.
2. Choose a period of time
You want to choose a time period of 15, 30, or 60 minutes. If you change tasks frequently during the day, you would pick a shorter period of time to record. If, however, you are involved in assignments that take a longer amount of time, you should use a longer period of time for your audit.
At the end of each time interval, you will make a note of what you are doing. It should take you less than a minute to do. The note should be detailed enough that you can refer back to it later, but not so detailed that it takes up too much time to write.
You are going to audit a total of three days. You can do three days back to back, or three days in three separate weeks. You need to be careful that the audit doesn’t change your typical work behavior.
3. Sort the results
After doing the audit, you need to go through all of your notes and put each of them into one of three sections– high value, moderate value, and no value . High value tasks are those that are adding the most value to your job and to the company. Moderate value tasks are those adding a moderate value to your job and company, while no value tasks contribute little to either.
4. Evaluate the results
Look over your category chart. In what area are you spending most of your day? If you find that a lot of your time is in the moderate or no value category, you know that you need to make some changes.
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