The above link connects you to a pie chart that shows how I allocated hours to certain activities by conducting a time audit. Why would you want to take your valuable time to do this? What could you possibly gain by pulling back the curtain, and seeing how you really live your life?
The reason I wanted to conduct a time audit was to get clarity. I just couldn’t see how I was tripping myself up in different areas of my life. I needed to know exactly how I was spending my time so I could tell myself that I was right. I was doing everything I possibly could, and life, people, circumstances were getting in the way. It was not my fault!! Amusingly, I realized that truth and lies can coexist quite beautifully in the same thought.
So here we go:
Time Audit Protocol
1. For 7 days, an alarm rings every two hours from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. That translates, roughly, to 6 to 10 entries — depending on how long you are awake.
2. When the alarm goes off, jot down in notes or on a notepad the answer to the following questions as quickly as you can:
a. What did you do for the last two hours and what were you doing when the alarm sounded?
b. What you were feeling at the moment the alarm went off?
c. How much energy did you have on a scale of 1-10?
d. What were you thinking at the time the alarm went off?
3. After you collect the data, look over your answers, and see if you can identify patterns. (Even after a day or two, the people, who did this with me, would say how amazed they were about the connections they were making.)
4. Correlate your energy to your feelings and thoughts. What did you notice, and how can that information help you?
That is all there is to it. Easy, but, oh so, deadly. Many of us were surprised by how much of our day was spent in activities that were nonproductive, or sucked our energy. The biggest awareness, from all of the participants, was the relationship between our activities, thoughts and feelings. As we became more aware, we were able to shift activities to a time when we had more energy, dump activities that were sucking energy from us, and choose thoughts that gave us better experiences.
On the whole, by simply becoming aware of our habits, we were able to live happier lives. Awareness leads to choices, and choices directly affect the quality of our lives.
For me, specifically, I never realized that I spent so much time on Facebook in the evenings while my family was sitting right there waiting for me to interact with them. That one bit of awareness, allowed me to have more meaningful conversations with my family, and more fun! I still have my Facebook time, just not in the same way.
So what about you? Want to try it, and see what can happen for you? Go on, what do you have to lose….except time?!
Thanks for reading.