Keeping A Time Diary Can Identify Patterns That Affect Your Productivity

A time diary can help you track good and bad productivity habits in the same way expense tracking can help identify spending habits. Like a spending diary, you will have to maintain a time diary for a few weeks before patterns emerge, but the end result can be well worth it.

Photo by Pittaya Sroilong.

Trent Hamm at personal finance blog The Simple Dollar kept a time diary for the month of May, going into as much detail as possible. After analysing the diary he found that a bad night's sleep didn't affect him until two days later, that the more he reads or interacts with his children the more he is productive the next day, and that his optimum amount of sleep is eight hours. He states:

I learned how much of an impact spending a couple of hours cleaning my office can really have. I learned how direct the positive impact of reading is on my life. I learned that going to bed around ten during the school week is probably optimal.

These little things make a huge difference in my weekly productivity. They seem like small tweaks, but the impact of these tweaks is felt during every hour of every day in the form of increased energy and alertness and mental productivity. This adds up to more income and more life enjoyment as well.

Try keeping a time diary for a month. It should help you discover things about yourself and your routines that will more than repay the time spent logging your life.

Building and Using a Time Diary [The Simple Dollar]


    David Seah has a great time tracker at:
    I use this every day to both plan my day then see where the time really went. It's a great record for when your boss says, "What did you do today?"

      +1 - This is awesome, thank you!

      A follow up on this:

      David Seah also has a Flash app version of the Emergent Task Timer:

      Makes tracking my time effortless and at the end of the day I just print it off for later analysis :)

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