Project Time Keeping - Intro
In late 2015, I began my Time Keeping Project where I tracked every minute of my time into different categories (e.g. Socialising, Exercise, Work, etc). Now, in 2017, I've revamped it and have been trying new ways to use and explore the data. It's become part-experiment, part-hobby for me, and is a visual and deep look into my time.
This is an intro to all the nitty gritty details and behind-the-scenes of my Time Keeping project.
The Pie Chart of my Life
So this is where it all began... the first thing I ever did with all my data was create a beautiful pie chart. Welcome to the colours of my life.
Note: If you're on mobile phone, best viewed on horizontal rotation. All the graphs in this post are interactive.
Next, I was curious what the 'average day' looked like for me.
I created this graph recently and honestly, it was a huge shock for me to see this. This is why I really like my Time Keeping project, I can think of a new graph and then make it (and then be completely shocked haha...)
Translated into what the 'Average Week' would look like, just to see it on a different time scale.
I also started creating weekly graphs to see trends on a week-by-week basis. This is because the above charts only capture a single snapshot in time and I wanted to see how things change over time.
For example, the blue line is "Productive Activities" so if you trace it, you can see how it's changed over time. For example, it's been steadily increasing since Week 5 as my mindset started to shift. However, it's interesting to note that only 2 out of 9 week was it actually above "Chill Activities". Don't judge me haha - I'm doing my best to change things up. Something I'll definitely have to explore more in my upcoming Review!
For reference, this is what is included in each categories:
These are activities that require a lot of active thinking. They include Website, Exercise, Job-related, Time Keeping and Videography. They are challenging, but are rewarding in the sense of learning and accomplishing.
These activities usually do not require much work from my brain. They include Socialising, Reading, Entertainment and Music/Reflecting. They generally make me feel quite happy, entertained or light-hearted.
These are activities which I must do every day, in order to survive and maintain hygiene and be fed. They include Upkeep, Life organisation, Chores and Food-related.
This is the combination of daily sleep + any naps taken. This generally takes between 37 - 40% of my time.
My goals for 2017 are to focus on my Website and Parkour. More recently, I've added finding a job and making health a priority (these will appear in my time keeping reviews coming up in the future).
Thus, one thing I like to use my Time Keeping Project for is to specifically track my goals. I really love this aspect because I'm a visual person so it allows me to tangibly see how I'm going with my goals.
And finally, here is a little FAQ for anyone who is more curious about it all. :)
- Where did the idea come from?
The idea first stemmed from when I was studying for an exam at home and also doing the Opal hack. What this basically meant was that every hour, I had to go catch a bus near my house for one stop, in order to record 1 trip on my Opal transport card. I had to do this 8 times in one day. In my mind, the plan sounded GREAT. I'd get an hour of study done in between each trip and then also get to stretch my legs and go for a walk each time.
The result was far, FAR from that. The first two hours I did next-to no work. So I started quickly jotting down what I did each hour following to reflect on it. That's when the idea first started. However, after that day I forgot about it for a while.
- Do you do it to be more productive?
No. So after the above incident, the idea was jostling somewhere around in the back of my mind. The week following the above, I realised I was actually quite a productive person already. I never really wasted too much time on Youtube or Facebook. When I do spend time on the internet, I'm generally reading articles or things that I find interesting or talking to people. So in the end, I was just curious to see how my time broke down.
- Why do you do it?
Because it's pretty damn interesting haha. And it makes me more conscious of my time.
For example, it helps me see what is 'underrepresented'. An example is my "Website" - when I first started the project, my Website was super important to me yet my time keeping showed me that I spent very very little time on it, despite wanting to make it a priority. Thus, with the time-keeping, I can make a conscious choice that I want to spend more time on it, and see in the trends if it actually eventuates. :)
- How do you do it?
I use a Google spreadsheet that I've created and changed over the years. Generally, I change the categories each year as circumstances change and as I figure out what specific categories I want to track.
This is the current version, cleaned up slightly for simplicity's sake:
- It's all well and good to log time, but how much time do you spend then cataloguing your time?
Time spent logging time, creating graphs and working the data is put under "Time Keeping" and averages 20 minutes per day.
- How do you make sure that you remember and are always up to date?
It's honestly a drilled-in habit now. I can't miss a single day or it gets voided, so in my head I have this message that goes "You HAVE to do it." even when I'm tired or lazy. I'm glad for this actually, because I think it helps to practice self-discipline.
Throughout the day, I time keep in a few ways:
Firstly, I send messages to myself like "Awake" or "Finished breakfast", allowing me to use the time stamp.
When I'm on my laptop, I time log throughout the day.
And when I'm out with people or at an event, I usually just wait until I'm finished. For this I just use rough memory and occasional messages. So when I come home I'll time log, for example, "Socialising 2 hours, Exercise 1 hour".
Very soon, I'll start doing regular 'Review' posts of my time where I actually reflect on the graphs and what's going on in them, analyse trends and figure out ways to improve. Keep an eye out for this and definitely send me any shocked observations, questions or ideas for it!