How to document (or discover) what you’re doing

Most people don’t know what they’re doing, including me. So instead of guessing, document it:
  1. Enlist a small notepad, one you can fit in your pocket.
  2. Grab a pen or pencil too, again one you can carry with you all the time.
  3. You can do this without a watch, but it’s easier with one. That, or you can use your cell phone. You just need to be able to tell what time it is at any point during the day.
  4. Set a time limit. Yours could be for one day, one weekend, one workweek, or even one week or more. Set it to start tomorrow.
  5. Prepare today by writing yourself a note or something so you’ll remember in the morning. Maybe even place your notepad, pen, and watch on your nightstand.
  6. Tomorrow when you wake up, jot down what time it is.
  7. From there, every time you change activities, write down the time and what you’re changing to. For instance, one entry might be, “7:23 am: Driving to work.”
  8. Continue to note the times and activities of everything you do until your time limit is up (a day, weekend, etc.).

At the end, you’ll have a list of everything you did. You can then add up the times for all the similar activities (for example, to find how much total time you spent driving). Maybe you’ll even find some places where you can save yourself some time. Most importantly, you’ll notice what you spend most of your time doing.

That’s where you can start making adjustments, based on real data.