Time Management Hacks Vol. 1

Two weeks ago I had a call with Ben Rubin, an adviser and friend who has been helping us through the fundraising process at Kindara. We talked about time management and then I had a long-ass Friday where it seemed like I didn't get much done. The next Monday morning I decided to start tracking what I was spending my time on in minute detail. I made a google spreadsheet and added in each block of time and what I was doingduring that block. This has proved extremely valuable. It has allowed me to:

  1. See how many hours per week I was working (around 55 which is too much),
  2. See why certain things are not moving as fast as I'd like them to be moving at Kindara, and
  3. Become very aware of what I was spending my time on, thus improving my choice of activities and productivity at those activities.
  4. Develop a mental map of which activities I enjoy (making spreadsheets!) and which activities I hate (damn you email!), and
  5. Correlate my overall sense of well-being and happiness to what I spend my time doing, or in other words, answer the question: what should I do right now to feel a sense of accomplishment today, next week and next year?

Super valuable stuff. Here are my results breakdown from Week 1:

How I spent my time last week
How I spent my time last week

Some things I noticed:

  1. I hate email. Time spent cleaning out my inbox correlates to a low level of happiness that day.
  2. Software and Hardware product and project management are eating into my fundraising time. We're hiring a product manager to solve this problem.
  3. Too much email! I'd like to get email below 10% of my total weekly work time, which means cutting down on the volume of email I get, or the time I spend on each email by about a third.

This experiment was such a success that I've decide to keep going this week. And I made a public copy of the spreadsheet that you can access here. You can customize your categories along the top and then just add the start time, end time, category code, and task as you go through your day. At the end of a day, add a subjective evaluation of your performance and emotional state, as well as an objective evaluation of your performance as an executive and vs. your ideal day. At the end of the week read over these notes to pick out themes.

Track your time for a week and you'll see what a valuable experience it is. Let me know how it goes. Here's the spreadsheet.