Over the many years of teaching and coaching people how to best manage their time and energy, I came to realize that many of us have a hard time tracking our day-to-day activities.
Sure, many of us use calendars and planners, setting goals on what we want to accomplish.
But often, at the end of the busy day, we wonder what actually got done and where did all the time go.
This was a great start but I felt something was missing.
Each of us have a limited amount of valuable resources and sometimes the ones we track are not the most important.
Money, time, and energy for many of us are in short supply, and more often than not, we focus on the money and time aspects. And the reason is that those are easier to measure.
But they’re not the most important, energy is.
If your energy is high, it doesn’t matter as much where you spend your time and money, because regardless, you’re happier.
I’m not saying money and time is not important and that have a shortage of each can certainly create a drop in energy, but if you focus on, monitor, and track when your energy is highest and make that the benchmark for your priorities, inevitably you will create more success and happiness.
So I created a very simple, no-frills, template, to track a few things;
- The time of the day;
- What activity are you engaged in;
- Who, if anyone, are you with during this activity
- How do you feel emotionally during this time slot;
- And, how high is your energy on a scale of 1-10.
When you use it, set up a alarm reminder that chimes every 15 minutes during the day to remind you to track what you are doing.
I know it can seem tedious but think of it as a Mindfulness Meditation practice, where a few times each hour, you give yourself a timeout to pause and observe what is going on and how you feel about it.
An alternative method for using the Daily Tracker is if you are already using the Pomodoro Technique for focus and productivity; at the end of his Pomodoro, when you’re taking your break, use the time to use the Tracker.
I also find that using the Tracker is a great way to take advantage of Cal Newport’s hack on the importance of measuring activity more than milestones.
Cal believes that if we wait until something is actually completed, it may be disheartening to not see the box ticked off the to-do list. But, instead, if you are marking off the boxes showing how much you are working toward your goal, that can actually feel empowering, showing your hard work.
This is especially important when pursuing goals that are completely new for you, there’s no way to know ahead of time how long it will take to complete. You’ve never have done it before. But if you can measure your deliberate effort toward it, you can take solace that you’re doing your best.
And that’s where energy comes into play.
The Simple Beauty of the Tracker
Tracking what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, who you’re doing it with, and how you’re feeling about it can reveal a lot of interesting patterns when used regularly;
- You can discover your circadian rhythm, what times of the day are you in low energy and high energy.
- You will notice which activities you enjoy more and less, you probably already know this but now you will also know how much of your day is involved in these activities – giving you insight on making healthier changes
- You can begin tracking how you feel around certain individuals, how much time you spend around them and how you feel around them – again giving you insight on changes you may want to make
- But most of all, you can begin noticing how you are feeling on a day-to-day basis, something most of us do not do or take into account
“What gets measured, get’s managed.” – Peter Drucker
I hope you use this tool.
I hope it helps you to get better insight on how you are living your life.
More importantly, I hope using this tool helps you to be more successful, happy, and mindful.