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December 4, 2020 5 mins

When it comes to time, the truth sets us free

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Good morning. This is Laura. Welcome to the New Corner Office,
the podcast where we share strategies for thriving in the
new world of work, where location and hours are more
flexible than in the past. Today's tip is to track
your time. While this can be tedious, I promise that

most people who try this exercise wind up finding more
time for the things they want to do, so it's
worth a little bit of hassle. Whenever I do time
makeovers for people, the first thing I have them do
is track their time for a week. The reason for
this is that if you don't know how you're spending
your time now, how will you know if you're changing

the right thing. Maybe something you thought was a problem
really isn't. Maybe something you haven't considered is taking more
time than you thought. We want to make decisions based
on good data, and the best way to get that
data is to track your time. And this is key
not just your work hours, especially when people work at

home or work flexibly. Work hours can be all over
the place. It's easy to make assumptions, but that doesn't
make the assumptions correct. Also, we want to know about
leisure time and family time and chores and sleep time too,
to make sure that everything is occurring in proportion. You

can track time anyway you want, with an app with
a notebook. I use a spreadsheet with the days of
the week across the top Monday to Sunday and half
hour blocks down the left hand side five am to
four thirty am. I have actually been tracking my time
that way for five and a half years now, which
you do not need to do. A week is perfectly fine,

but try to see what sixty eight hours in your
life looks like now. Your work hours might be surprising,
particularly if you are working from home now and work
in the past. In general, many people work fewer hours
than they think they do, especially if these hours are
all over the place. Working a bit in the morning,

some here and there, through the afternoon into the evening.
On the weekend, too, can feel like you're working all
the time, but when you add up the actual hours,
it might be within normal range. Trust me on this.
I used to think I worked at least fifty hours
a week, and maybe sixty or more. Now that I've
been tracking my time for five and a half years,

I know that forty is more accurate. But this exercise
isn't about playing gotcha, like, look, you're working few hours
than you think you are. The upside of knowing I
work more like forty hours a week is that I
can recognize that there are ten more hours hanging out
somewhere than I thought there were, and those hours can
be used or other things, high quality things, fun things.

Even if I recognize the patterns of my time, maybe
you will find something similar. Or maybe you are totally
correct on work hours, but you also have more leisure
or family time than you think, or maybe you are
misestimating chores. You might also see that there is some
free time available somewhere, but you don't always know that

it's going to come up. Now that you know it's
coming because you can see the patterns from your time log,
or at least maybe you have a rough idea of
when it will happen, then you can plan for it.
You know, to have a book with you, and voila,
suddenly you are making time to read. Now. I know
that some people have to track their work time to
build it, and I know that many people hate doing that.

Oh well, it's still useful to know where the time goes.
But even if you aren't required to track your work time.
I'd suggest trying it for a little while, thinking of
yourself as a lawyer, billing your time to different project us.
If perhaps you are working more hours than you'd like,
you can take action to change that, whether that's working
to share some responsibilities with your team, or to push

some things forward. In any case, I find that the
truth sets us free. So why not start today? Check
in three times a day to write down where the
time really goes. Keep it up for a week. You
will learn a lot about your time and your life.

You'll probably find more time for what you want to do,
and that is worth any annoyance that tracking brings in
the meantime. This is Laura, thanks for listening, and here's
the succeeding in the New Corner Office. The New Corner

Office is a production of I Heart Radio. For more podcasts,
visit the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever
you get your favorite shows. Two
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