Missed Part 1? Click here to read it.
So, as I alluded to in Part 1, Monday and Tuesday (days 1 and 2) were meh in terms of rocking this 5 day I Dare You to Track challenge. No light bulb moments. No down and dirty despair. Not much of anything except bit of annoyance at having to give focused activity a useful name and remembering to start and and stop the dang timer … which I admit I sometimes forgot to do or just ignored doing for certain activities.
Then Came Wednesday full of surprise and discoveries
On Wednesday I decided if I was going to get any benefit from this challenge — and, frankly, why would I bother continuing if there wasn’t? — something needed to change. Early in the day I decided to check out more fully a different online time tracking app called Clockify that many of my fellow challengers, including host Kelly McCausey, were extolling the virtues of.
There is a robust free version forever version I had actually signed up for earlier in the week but only played with the browser version a few times, which I liked a whole lot better than Toggl but still triggered my time-tracking annoyance level.
The Game Changing Moment
Then I discovered Clockify’s desktop version. Holy cow! Suddenly I’m falling in love with this free little bundle of time-management app. I found it so intuitively easy to use that my prior annoyance at starting and stopping for each focused activity became … dare I say it? … fun!
More importantly, what I started noticing were behaviors about my use of time, plus ways to better estimate how long certain tasks took me to do. And where I actually was … and wasn’t … spending focused time on. Ouch!
The Finish Line Is In Sight
Suddenly, I was looking forward to Friday and finishing with benefits the inaugural I Dare You to Track Challenge.
Part of qualifying as a finisher was posting in the group’s forum what experiences and insights we’d had doing the challenge. Here’s what I shared:
Whew! Must admit I initially found it difficult to predict what I would notice, positively and negatively, after tracking 5 straight day beyond the obvious. The obvious was:
- Was I spending as much focused time on important tasks and projects that I had convinced myself I was?
- Was I brave enough to be honest about tracking all of my work time?
Here’s some of what I discovered:
- Nope to #1 above. While tracking triggered me to actually spend more focused time on COMPLETING several lagging but needed-to-be-done projects, I can easily see where there was still room for improvement, especially mapping out and staying on-track to complete longer term projects. Those longer projects are in my Zone of Genius. Some of the others could have been outsourced … if I had someone at the moment, and others could be more automated. Those fell into my zone of competence.
- Somewhere in-between Yes and No to #2 above. Going forward I’ll be tweaking how I track some of my time because I realized looking at the reports the data wasn’t as useful for evaluating my time/activity as I thought it would be.
— I’m glad I created my Rabbits & Squirrels project category (in Clockify). But I also realize that avoided noting exactly what some of the common denominators of those rabbit holes and squirrels diversions. For instance, just how much “free time” did I spend playing an online mind-improvement game?
- Adding the Clockify desktop app made me a rockstar tracker.
— Monday and Tuesday I had used just the Chrome browser version [of Toggl then Clockify]. I found it annoying to not easily see the details and wasted some time clicking it. I also forgot to start or stop it sometimes, which resulted in more wasted time manually adding or adjusting entries based on memory.
— Wednesday I discovered the desktop app. I love that I can leave it open on my secondary monitor where it’s an unobtrusive reminder to start and stop my tracking. I like that I can see several recent time tracked units for the time.
- Still tweaking my naming of tasks, the general project categories, and how best to make use of the tag option in Clockify. All with the goal of generating more useful reports in the future.
— Admittedly, I’m still spending far too much time on tasks that aren’t in my Zone of Genius or even Zones of Excellence and Competence [as identified by author Gay Hendricks in his book, The Big Leap.]
— I’m befuddled about tracking time for things like self-improvement and learning software … both activities I love to splurge on (time and sometimes money) but also sometimes fall into the Rabbits & Squirrels realm of procrastination.
However, I am now a bona-fide lover of consciously tracking my activity and my use of time throughout each day. Looking forward to reviewing my time-tracking reports each week, looking for patterns (good and bad), and feeling grateful that as a solopreneur working from home I am in charge of my time rather than a slave to it by constructs and restraints demanded of me by others.
Sharing a couple screenshots from my Clockify entries
The first/smaller is of my desktop app. The second/larger is just showing some of my naming/assigned project choices. I wanted to avoid showing anything that included a private or group client’s name.
Say Hello to I Dare You to Track Finisher Kat
I did it. It wasn’t the experience I had expected. And, that’s actually a good thing.
In the meantime, you can check out Kelly’s I Dare You to Track Challenge for yourself. It’s free and everything’s ready for you to challenge yourself. As I write this (during the Covid-19 pandemic), there are some pretty nifty rewards for finishing…ones I didn’t know about when I started, like the I Dare You to Email Challenge I’m doing next.
I didn’t participate in the challenge but I can see how it would be useful. Especially being able to determine when you’re productive or more focused.
I used to use Toggl but haven’t in several months. I’ll have to try the app you mentioned.
Hi April. Looking forward to hearing how your own time tracking efforts go.