I got a good question On Twitter from @Carole_Fabre. She wrote:
@sebastmarsh Are you not afraid to fall infinitively in the mirror with all these mesures ?
@sebastmarsh and have you already mesure the time you spend mesuring ? :-)
She's half-joking, but it's a good point. Here's my thoughts -
1. Tracking should serve you, you shouldn't serve it. Your system should be lightweight and easy and fun to use. You should get much more results out of it than you put into it.
2. If you are getting much more out than you put in, it can make sense to keep putting in. I keep seeing more and more gains from my tracking. My health is improving, my energy is improving, I'm doing more enjoyable and more meaningful work, I'm more connected to people I like and respect, I write more, I spend more time on art... all very valuable.
3. But again, don't track for its own sake. If some category has become useless or isn't producing results, delete it or stop tracking or get rid of it. The tracking can be a rough map, your life is the territory. It can be very worthwhile to spend time looking at the map and planning, but don't forget that the end goal is to navigate the territory.
Abraham Lincoln: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
That's how I feel about tracking, planning, and goal setting. It sharpens the axe. But really, it doesn't take so much time even. How much do I spend with it? About five minutes in the morning, a minute or two here and there throughout the day, and then a weekly review that takes between 20 minutes and an hour once a week. But I get much more back from knowing what I should be working on, never missing or being late for appointments, getting all my deliverables done, not missing opportunities, recognizing patterns, saving money, making money, etc.
How much time do I spend with it? Well, not so much compared to all the time I get back. Time I would spend worried or confused or not knowing where to go disappears, and I get good insights and learning from the numbers. Helps me stay disciplined, and keeps me from having to remember everything I need to do. I can trust my tracking and notes, and keep my head clear and focused on the current moment. I enjoy it and highly recommend it.
As always, good questions and comments are welcome.
This comment is not a direct response to this post, except that it does have to do with time-management.
When I read the quote by Lincoln, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe", I thought, "Geez, that's a long time to spend sharpening an axe", which caused me to think perhaps "Honest Abe"'s quote could be used to demonstrate "Parkinson's law", which says that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." I wonder if he had been given three hours to chop down a tree, and if he spent the first two sharpening the axe, if he would have still done a good job, in half the time. I'm teasing a bit, here, but the Parkinson's law is nevertheless useful to know for time management.
Sometimes I get an idea and think "My life should be like that" - I try write it down right away.
I just leave this little things to work on in a file and look at it occasionally. Every now and then I'll make one of them active in my Time and Life Tracking and start paying attention to it every day.
Here's what's in the list right now:
Wednesday September 25, 2013
Good day for the challenge. I began a tracking habit, that I think will bring good gains and help me to keep on track and be more productive. It's given me a boost of motivation for today, that's a good sign. What it looks like:
Just looking at this, I know I spent 1 out of 5+ hours I know that I had free time on campus studying. Some of it was spent on eating, and things went well there. The tracking also gave me a motivational push to do some meditation today.
Going forward, I think this will be a useful tool.