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Monday, May 04, 2009

The Importance of Time Tracking - Part II

In this Harvard Business Publishing report, "Are You Spending Your Time the Right Way?" we're again reminded how important time tracking is to productivity, and ultimately, to executing strategy.

Key insights:

  • Though most managers understand that time is their scarcest resource, few make the effort to gain a strategic perspective on how they spend their hours each week.
  • Still fewer make a regular practice of keeping track of how the priorities they say are most important align with the way they actually spend their time.


  1. Break your responsibilities into categories - both strategic and tactical—identify not more than six.
  2. Ask yourself what percentage of your time you should be spending in each category. To answer, factor in the competing claims on your time: the activities that enable you to generate the most leverage, the company’s strategic priorities, and the short-term needs of your supervisors, direct reports, and customers.
  3. Check for alignment with your manager. Check with your manager and key colleagues; ask them to share their time allocations, if possible. Sharing time allocations with a team gives a group focus and cohesion.
  4. Audit your time. Take out last week’s calendar, and evaluate it using your newly established time allocations for each category. This will give you a sense of how much adjustment will be necessary going forward. Record how you spend your time in a time-management log—for many, this very discipline is half the battle.

BOTTOMLINE: Now that you have a plan for leveraging your time, "all you need to do" is be ruthless in your execution of it. (Which of course, takes discipline...)

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