A lot of time management strategists out there are big fans of time auditing – i.e., tracking your time for a day, week, or month so you get clear on where your time is going.
I’m… not one of those people.
Don’t get me wrong – I see the value in a time audit.
I just don’t think they’re very fun.
And when things aren’t fun, you’ll lose all the excitement and momentum you rolled into giving your time management approach a refresh with. I mean, I love this stuff, and the idea of logging what I do every 10 minutes makes even my eyes glaze over.
So, let’s take a step back and ask why people recommend time audits.
Time audits help you see all of the things that you may not realize take up so much of your time.
So, let’s cut to the chase.
Instead of running a time audit, I like to skip straight to the fun stuff. We start by building out a visual schedule that includes all of the invisible to-do list stuff that time audits uncover, like getting yourself ready in the morning, cooking meals, and processing email. (This stuff takes up a surprising amount of time – but we often don’t account for it in our daily plans, which explains why we so often feel like we’re running behind schedule and never get our to-do lists done.)
This approach allows you to uncover and account for those sneaky things that take up more time than we realize – while also helping you get intentional about where you want your time to go in a faster, more thoughtful, and proactive way than an audit does.
Plus, it’s weirdly more fun to kick things off by building out this schedule than just logging your time, so you’re way more likely to stick with it to find a solution that will majorly improve your life and peace of mind. Make sense?
If you want a taste of this, I recommend picking three things that never make it into your calendar or to-do list but that take up more than 30 minutes of your day/week. Think: running bath and bedtime with young kids, walking your dog, picking meals for the week/shopping/meal prepping, etc.
Plot them out in your calendar on a recurring basis so you see how much time they take – and then make some changes if necessary (e.g., shift them to a new time, leave the house 10 minutes earlier, outsource the task to a partner or company that can make your life easier).
See how this helps you get a more realistic understanding of where your time is going and helps you immediately make changes to make your life run more smoothly? Awesome.
Okay, next week I’ll tell you about the ONE situation in which I recommend running a time audit. I know, I know… don’t fall off the edge of your seat 😉