When I was a child my mother made up a rule I had to follow: “Do your homework first and then have fun!” Remember when you were children you knew exactly how many hours it took you to do your homework and learn your lessons. And what is more important – even though you had tons of duties, there was always time to play outside. How did we manage to do that?
As grown men we hardly find time to finish all the work we have included in our busy schedule. At the end of the day we feel exhausted and stressed because we had no free time to sit and relax. But is that the reality? Are we indeed so overloaded or we fool ourselves?
The answer to this question became clear to me when I started using time tracking software. It really opened my eyes and made me realize what the biggest mistake I make every day is. Over the years I had forgotten my mother’s rule and deviated from my assigned project in order to check my Facebook profile or to check my email. I stopped my work to call a friend just to ask her what has happened on the date she had last night. Without noticing I had wasted 2 or 3 hours while sitting in front of my laptop, pretending to be working. The weirdest fact is that in my mind I really had spent this 3 hours working. Over the phone I have been explaining my friend how busy I was and still that phone call lasted an hour.
But let’s focus on the question why time tracking made me more productive? This software helped me found out exactly how much time I waste every day and what sites distract me the most. I, like most of the people, was fooling myself about the number of hours I spend on the assigned projects. I underestimated the distraction factors. Since I started using time tracking I keep myself focused and finish the work faster than before. It has happened to me in the past to refuse working on a new project because I truly believed I didn’t have time to handle another project. Now I know this was not true. When I know what the main distractions are and exactly how much time them cost me, it is easier to avoid them.
Another benefit of using time tracking software is getting more accurate project estimates. Without having this software installed on your PC there is no way to know how much you have to bill the client if he is going to pay per hour. You may think that the project will take you 3 hours but in fact to work on in it for 2 days.