So here’s the deal.  I have seen many professionals (entrepreneurs/business-owners/etc.) keeping track of how much time they spend doing what and seeing how quantity of time relates to accomplishing goals.  Every Sunday evening, I pull up a Word document called ‘TIME CARD”.  In this document, I have a color-coded diagram of each area of my work routine.  There is also a little chart at the top that shows my progression from week to week and a place at the bottom for weekly goals.  I even have a nice quote at the top to keep me motivated throughout the week. I am going to spend the rest of this article discussing how I use each section, what I think is most important and what I have learned since implementing this system about three months ago. 

If you want to just download the word template, click HERE.

THE TOP (Goal changes, date and quote)


     As changes to the workflow come in each week and each area of my routine needs more or less hours, I have found it useful to monitor how these hours fluctuate.  The box labeled (✓?) is great for planning goals for the week.  Did I complete last week goal of 12 hours?  I didn’t? Well maybe I should lower it or keep it the same instead of upping it this week. This chart works nicely to set up steady goal progressions.  I actually put a bit of emphasis on the quote I choose each week.  If I need to be able to work under a higher level of stress this week or if I need extra motivation to do a task I really don’t feel like doing, I will find something that fits.



THE MIDDLE (Primary recording chart)


     This is not only good for recording but planning as well.  I use this chart both to monitor my hours and to write down high priority items.  If I know I must spend 2 hours on a research paper tomorrow, I will scratch in ‘RP!’ in that box for the next day.  I also write down how many hours I have left in each category by the time Wednesday comes along to make sure everything is going according to plan.  I always refer back to this chart at the end of the day.  Did I spend too much time on this category?  Is that why the other area suffered?  The whole point of this time card system has to do with something I learned in computer science called modularity.  Basically, divide and conquer;  break complex things up into modules and analyze those segments individually to see why the whole program is functioning as it is. 



THE BOTTOM (Goals and Eval.)


     GOALS ARE MORE THAN NUMBERS.  This is the biggest problem I have had with this system. I have had to catch myself a few times when it comes to obsessing over TIME when really it is actually getting PROJECTS done.  I try to pay the most attention to what I have in this section and then plan my hourly goals in accordance with what the tasks are that I need to get done this week.  I use the Evaluation box as a micro-journal.  What happens each day that promotes or hinders the accomplishment of my goals?  This little box and this little paper have been a big help for me since I designed it back in August.  I hope this will help some people with their productivity or work-flow like it has me.  I do not doubt that this little paper has increased the quality and quantity of my work.


Thanks for reading.