Keeping a time log

In The Now Habit, Neil Fiore says there are three basic reasons a person might procrastinate: 1) victimization, 2) sense of overwhelm, and 3) fear of failure. If you’re not aware of how or why you procrastinate, a time log can be helpful.

While there are variations and you can adapt to your needs, the basic idea is this:

– For at least two weeks, keep track of how you spend each day.
– Every thirty minutes, note down what you did.
– If you procrastinate, write down what you thought, how you felt, what you did, and what you should have been doing.
– You can even toss in some mood/focus/energy tracking to determine when you are most productive.

I’m at the end of the second week and want to continue for a couple more, especially because I didn’t keep up with it during the latter half of this week. I do feel like writing down how I use my time helps me to keep myself accountable, though. When I review my log, I color code it to get a visual sense of how I used my time—dark green for productive, healthy tasks; bright green for focus tasks; red for procrastination; and with all honesty, yellow for things I don’t want to classify.

A quick aside here: it’s normal and good to not be fully productive every minute of the day. We need time to decompress and for things to bump around in the subconscious. However, in addition to having a goal and charting a course to get there, a good navigator must make sure they are staying on course. The time log helps with that.