Time Tracking Strategies For Beginners

Building your time tracking strategies around the proven productivity systems is a good idea for improving your focus and setting priorities right. We tell how with harnessing time trackers you set your technological preparedness to 100 even if you are a beginner.

Time Tracking Strategies For Beginners

Uncertainty caused by the pandemic alongside demands of new work practices made it extremely hard for workers to manage time. But in some cases with uncertainty comes opportunity.

If you are a beginner, it can be your chance to 'establish' your personal time management rules or, if you felt challenged before, rethink the 'relationships with time' to build a strategy aimed at flexibility and resilience.

Below we discuss time tracking as one of the most effective practices in time management and show how using a time tracker, especially a time tracker for work, incorporates in the most effective and widely recognized time management strategies.

PDCA ⏩by William Deming

plan do check act strategy

E.Deming is recognized worldwide as an author of one of the most effective theories of management. The acronym offered by Professor Deming famously stands for and defines the cycle of any project.

He suggested that planning aimed at improvement will always pay off. At the 'Do' stage you need to give a try to your plan in the short-term span. Checking is for seeing and measuring results. Once you are armed with the specific metrics, you can act with confidence to complete the cycle for guaranteed success. As William Deming stated in his bestseller 'Out of the Crisis':

The most important figures that one needs for management are unknown or unknowable.

The Benefit of Time Tracking⌛  You apply time tracking starting with 'Do' stage and analyze it at the 'Check' stage. Getting metrics of performance helps:

  • optimize 'acting'
  • 'bite-size' big projects and obtain realistic estimates for tasks
  • plan more effectively.  

Eat That Frog!🐸 by Brian Tracy

morning cup of coffee

The idea of having to eat a frog the first thing in the morning so that nothing could spoil the rest of your day is credited to Mark Twain though it was a French writer Nicolas Chamfort who famously said it, and Brian Tracy made it a title of his book on time management that was translated into 42 languages.

The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.

The Benefit of Time Tracking⌛ We would suggest you modify this unquestionably effective tactic by applying time tracking. How?  By allocating 'frog time' to the time of your peak productivity.

In this case, performing even the most mundane tasks will feel less challenging. To identify what your peak performance is, during a week or so, you can observe your activity levels visualized on a timeline.

Pomodoro Technique🍅 by Francesco Cirillo

tomato for pomodoro technique

One of the most known time management techniques was authored by Francesco Cirillo introduced in his namesake book. The method is based on the idea of blocking time (the sessions can vary and start with 25 minutes) for concentrating on one task and letting yourself no distractions.

Applying time blocking has many benefits for those who want to experience deep work or flow state.  Aside from improved focus Pomodoro technique helps reduce stress and strengthen our ability to keep accountable and responsive rather than reactive.

The timetable is protracted, fatigue increases, productivity drops, and the timetable again is protracted.

The technique became so popular that it has the subreddit devoted exclusively to discussing the impact of Pomodoro on time management, discipline, motivation and performance.

The Benefit of Time Tracking For those who practice time tracking using time trackers with visualized timeline, allocating 'focused' time comes naturally. It not only lets non-stop work but automatically stores all the information about online resources you utilized and all the activities you engaged in to accomplish the desired results.    

GTD🎯 by David Allen

get things done and an alarm clock

It is widely recognized productivity system presented by David Allen in 2001. The success of over two decades is easy to explain: if you feel pressure of time, David Allen will help you remove it. He teaches how to start with a clean slate and sort tasks in hand not to lose focus.

Moreover, this system unlike other time management strategies implies reaching long-term goals. Applying it, we get laser-focused on tasks of high priority, which prevent us from falling into abyss of multitasking. As he stated in his book:

You can do anything, but not everything.

The Benefit of Time Tracking⌛ Increasing workload does not lead to increased productivity, and automatic time tracking comes in handy in providing the full overview of task distribution and the amount of workload. Time tracking helps train your time management muscle, learn how to complete one task at a time and guarantee to get things done.

Priority Matrix 🔠 by Eisenhauer

priority matrix

Not to play a game of musical chairs to accommodate all the plans, the first thing to do is to address the question of priorities. The best time management solution for organizing your to-do list according to 'the one and only' order of your priorities comes with applying the famous Eisenhauer priority matrix.

Both a military man and a politician, Eisenhauer made a huge contribution to a theory of time management by creating a technique that lets you itemize any task in terms of how important and urgent its performance is, and schedule it accordingly. The trick of accomplishment is to do important, non-urgent things first.

The Benefit of Time Tracking⌛ With harnessing automatic time trackers featured with task management options, you advance to a level of tech-savvy, optimize planning and streamline prioritizing.

DBTC🔗⛓🔗 by Jerry Seinfeld

do not break the chain

Due to the incident, a famous actor Jerry Seinfeld became the author of one of the most simple and elegant calendar-based productivity systems (it is available online for free). In its core, it narrows down to setting a goal and reaching it every day by completing tasks and crossing the day once it's completed.

The idea is not to stop and turn crosses into an unbroken chain. Although it may seem too obvious, this technique found lots of fans who prefer adding gamification to their approach and favor visualization. This system is based on the belief that time is like a built-in arrow in all our plans and aligning with its unbroken movement will lead us to accomplish the goals we set without fail.  

The Benefit of Time Tracking⌛ Since our daily actions build habits, the 'don't break the chain' technique becomes an ideal solution for tracking daily activities while adding time tracking plays well for the purpose of keeping things intentional and reviewing progress. It helps you not overschedule and avoid being excessive.

MoSCoW 💪🏼🙌🏼👍🏼 by Dai Clegg

moscow method

The idea of this framework belongs to Dai Clegg, a top expert in the computer industry and the co-author of Case Method Fast-Track. Applying MoSCoW (a shortened form for what you “Must, Should, Could, or Won't” do) allows us to pair intuition with analysis and set our priorities for better and faster decision-making.

Engagement in tasks is important but in the busy work environment to learn to be selective is as important as being productive because due to a finite nature of time as a resource you cannot expect to accomplish tasks on your to-do list if it is too lengthy or chaotic.

The Benefit of Time Tracking⌛ Time tracking enables us to perform down-top processing while keeping top-down attention at best. Since we have clear limitations on the information we 'absorb', time tracking comes as a solution for understanding principles we need to follow to allocate time for what must be done more effectively.