Research tells us that we are slightly delusional – we think we are doing one thing, but are actually doing something else. To help us check back in with reality we created a Time Analysis template to complement our previous blogs; in January’s blog I asked you to think about putting everything into a schedule, last month was prioritizing, this month I am asking you to revisit that schedule and see where does time really go by using our simple, free Time Analysis tool. In this way we aim to eliminate tasks, which do not take us closer to our objectives, thus creating more time for the ‘right’ things.
shown below, (see link at end of this article to download your free copy):
- The first column separates the day into 15 minute blocks,
- The next column provides space to record the activity undertaken
- Column 3 indicates whether this was your planned activity or if you were interrupted (i.e. unscheduled),
- Column 4 records your energy level (H = high, M = medium, L = low).
- Column 5 records the quadrant number (1 urgent & important, 2 non-urgent & important, etc. See February’s blog for further explanation).
How to Use It
Select two or three fairly typical days from your schedule, (a week is better, but don’t overcommit at this stage, as this will require some discipline to complete well). While the final column can be filled in in retrospect, all of the others should be completed at 15-minute intervals, without this accuracy will be sacrificed. Consider setting a 15-minute reminder to run throughout the day. Be honest with yourself – if you were chatting to Steph about the weekend, record chatting – this is for your eyes only and no benefit will be derived from self-delusion.
At the end of the exercise review what you have been doing – how much time have you spent in Q2 (leaders should aim for 80%), how much in Q1 – what planning can you do to prevent repeats of crises? What Q3 activities can you delegate and are you prepared to stop doing the things in Q4?
You will also see whether or not you are keeping to the schedule you set for yourself – if not, why not? What can you do to reduce/eliminate interruptions so that you are working to your own agenda and moving closer to your goals?
Reviewing your energy level will allow you to recognise when you are at your best and therefore the best time to schedule your most important and challenging work in future. Use these insights to plan your coming weeks to achieve the ‘important’ and eliminate the distractions.
To download the Time Analysis template for free (and without the need to leave your email address – just think of us when you need some help) use the link below
About the Author: Fran McArthur is a coach, trainer, action learning facilitator, and no-executive director with more than 30 years of business experience. She typically works with executives, who lead organisations of £1 – 10m turnover and who wish to effect positive change, particularly those making a positive impact on the environment . She collaborates to help them to achieve their goals using her practical, common-sense approach
Your can contact her at
enquiries @yibp.co.uk or 07789 520205