Category: Productivity

How (and why) to keep a time log

If you want to spend your time better, the first step is figuring out exactly how you spend it now. While recording a day or two is helpful, I recommend keeping track of your time for a week to get the best picture of life. A week is the cycle of life as people actually live it (what's a normal day for you? Tuesday or Saturday? They both occur just as often and have the sa… read more »

The ringmaster of the circus

In describing the day-to-day logistics of managing a full life, people use lots of analogies. Oddly enough, many of these seem to be circus-oriented: juggling act. Balancing act (which may imply walking a tightrope). Or even just a circus itself. In many cases, these analogies are trying to get at an idea of chaos or precariousness, but in thinking about it r… read more »

Do you work after the kids go to bed? Here are 5 ways to make it work.

Here's the dilemma: you need, or want, to work more than 40 hours a week. You also have young kids who go to bed on the early side. How do you see them while still putting in the hours? As I have analyzed parents' time logs, I have realized that one of the most common solutions is doing what I call a "split shift." You leave work at a reasonable hour, come home for family… read more »

Multi-tasking burns more time than you think, but you can get those hours back.

When I tracked my time for a year, I used spreadsheets. So did most of my subjects in I Know How She Does It. Spreadsheets are simple and straightforward, and show visually what life looks like. However, they have their downsides. They are imprecise. The tiny cells lead to a lack of nuance. What actually happened during the 30 minute block I called "work"? Many p… read more »

The productivity strategy you do not need to feel guilty about

When people track time, they discover all kinds of things, but one of the most common is that they do not work as many hours as they think they do. We (and I include myself in this statement after analyzing my 8784 hours -- yes, I overestimated too!) have a tendency to remember our busiest weeks as typical. Not only that, our mental image of a typical week does not in… read more »