In my former life as an urban planner, we had to keep timesheets. Timesheets were the bane of my existence for 3.5 years.
Obviously, not one of my old timesheets, but you get the idea. Each day, I had to write down what I did for every 15-minute time block. My time had to add up to 8.0 hours a day and 40 hours a week so we could then bill clients.
I really, really, REALLY hated timesheets. I understood WHY we needed timesheets (to justify costs), but having to account for everything you do in a day is hard. You also quickly discover that you spend a lot of time doing meaningless stuff and small tasks take 5 times longer to do than they should. This makes billing without upsetting your boss hard. It also makes you feel like a caged animal, but whatever.
Anyway, in my quest to stop being late all the time, I am forcing myself to log a daily timesheet for myself for the next few weeks. For now, I’m not trying to do anything differently, I’m just observing my work habits.
I’m hoping that by writing out a timesheet, I will be able to streamline my workload, get stuff done faster, and hopefully achieve a better life/work balance. The best part of being self-employed is that I can create my own schedule, which means that some weeks, I only work 30 hours. The worst part of being self-employed is that it’s really hard and no one else can pick up your slack. So there are many weeks that I work 70 hours, including Saturday and Sunday.
So, guess what I’ve learned so far?
- I’ve spent two hours writing blog posts.
- I’ve spent thirty minutes interviewing people for a freelance.
- It took me 15 minutes to get out of the house for a run because I got distracted by email, the trash, and laundry.
- I looked for my sneakers for another 5 minutes (my house isn’t that big). Then I ran for 29 minutes (3.0 miles). So I nearly spent as much time getting ready for my run as I did actually running.
- I only wasted a combined 5 minutes on Twitter.
- I showered and got dressed in 15 minutes.
- I spent 1.5 hours responding to emails and comments.
- + lots of other stuff that I won’t bore you with.
I cannot believe that I wasted 20 minutes of my morning wandering around my house, trying to get ready for my run. Honestly, I think 20 minutes is probably GOOD for me. I probably usually blow 30 – 40 minutes standing around in workout clothes. It takes me forever to get out of the house, and I could’ve spent that time writing. I would’ve banged out 1/4 a freelance piece in that time.
Do you have to maintain a timesheet for work? What are your biggest time suckers at work and in your persona life? Do you prefer to work in the morning or evening? I tend to do most of my work at night, but I’m trying to switch to AM writing because I’m more creative then.