Efficiency: Becoming More Efficient with ManicTime Automatic Time Tracking

Sharpening the saw includes becoming more efficient.

IT is a stimulating and constantly changing profession.  During the day, we focus most of our time on our internal and external customers.  These meetings and phone calls can, many times, keep us busy without a break for the entirety of business hours.  The work/life balance challenge comes when one does not leave time for customer follow up.  If you are "delighting customers" all day, when should you be designing architectures, responding to email, performing research or developing demos?  Using the other 12 hours of the day is not a sustainable practice.  Your sleep and work/life balance will suffer before too long.  

A better answer to to look at what you are spending your time on and when you are spending that time.  Are there activities that could be streamlined or removed completely?  Are there location-specific activities that are being performed in the wrong location?  An example of this is making phone calls while at your computer.  If you have time in the car during the day, that is the best time to be making phone calls as you cannot accomplish other tasks while in the car.  Personally, I am most productive with phone calls between 7 AM and 8 AM and 6 PM and 7 PM while commuting as coworkers are also in their cars and a captive audience.

To get a better handle on what I am spending my time on, I installed a free time tracking tool, ManicTime, today.  This tool could not be easier to use.  Just install it and go back to work.  The tool watches which applications are in focus on your desktop and keeps track of how many minutes they are in focus.  You can organize your applications into activities such as email, web, presentations, webinars or spreadsheets.  The activities can then be graphed over a custom timeframe.  I am looking forward to capturing data over a few days or a week and using my findings to become more efficient and more focused. 

Feel free to let me know what you do to analyze your time and become more efficient.