Track me down

I’ve just spent the past two or so hours organisng how to organise my work time better. I proudly showed hubby my system and he laughed because he saw the irony that I overlooked. I was using my non work time to figure out how to track my work time. I smiled and went “but it’s so cool!” 🙂

Just before we come home from the Philippines in June, I got a lead at a potential part time and flexible job with the 10thousandgirl Campaign. I had a chat to the lovely Zoe and two weeks later I was in Sydney, talking about my role, what to do and where to start. 

The eight weeks that followed were a whirlwind of recuperating, playing with my nephews, being my grandma’s driver, catching up with friends, starting a new job and moving to Hong Kong. Looking back now, I didn’t really give myself that any time to relax and just be. 

They say it takes you three months to settle in a job, find your feet and be comfortable with what you’re doing. After being unemployed since July last year, I unintentionally dove head first into everything, jumped at the opportunity for a part time job, crammed as much family time as I could and basically tried to go in double speed.

This is not sustainable and I found myself constantly frustrated, mainly at myself at not being able to organise my time, my life and my brain. And I really do love organising so it totally bummed me out that I couldn’t figure out how to make the best use of my time. 

And the big kick in the butt is that fact that right now, I’m in Hong Kong! I took a part time job because it was part time and flexible and just because I have the time, doesn’t mean I need to turn it into a full time job. And as my husband cleverly pointed out:-

Much like a gas will expand to fill its container, a task will grow to fill whatever time you allot it.

I like this saying, and it’s so true. I procrastinate a lot but, when I put my mind to it, give the tasks the time it deserves, it gets done so much more efficiently. And I feel so productive!

And so, when I came home from my retreat last weekend, I thought OK! Let’s prioritise, I want to make work work but I also want to embrace the fact that not only am I in a different country but I have the time to explore.

Since I started working, I’ve been semi tracking my time, making to do lists and tasks in my notebook. But I would end work feeling like nothing was ever finished. I kept re-writing the tasks for following day, simply because I ran out of time. I wanted to take control of this so I looked for a timesheet template and downloaded a lot of crappy iPhone apps. And after too much researching I decided to make my own. I made a simple one but kept finding that all I wanted to do was “improve it”, but I didn’t allocate anytime to do this, so it didn’t happen. As it turns out, I’m not the only one looking for a timesheet app. Someone in a LinkedIn group mentioned Paymo – an online time tracking app. It’s brilliant. I started tracking my time more efficiently, and got a bit to excited with making labels. But it still wasn’t working the way I wanted it to, but it would have to do, for now.

Today, I started writing my invoice and I wanted to see how much time I spend on my different tasks. My current system was okay, but it still wasn’t “it”. And so I decided to have a bit of a play around with Paymo, going back to the drawing board to list what is it exactly I do? Since I work in events, it became obvious pretty quickly that I can allocate projects to each event I’m working on. Since there are multiple events, my aim is make sure my time is used effectively.

Although, I didn’t intend to work on this today, but I did give myself a free afternoon to do whatever and what better way then to organise 🙂 And since I dedicated the time to improve my time management system, I’m happy with I have. I don’t need to second guess the system, myself or my time. I logged out knowing that it will be waiting for me (no improvements necessary) for when I decide to do work next.

How do you track your time?

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