Tracking Days...

I've just printed out a Emergent Task Planner ala David Seah. I haven't tracked what I do in an "hourly" detail type system since college.

Do you utilize this type of tracking? What are pros-cons for using this type of tracking?

I'm planning on trying it out and seeing how it suits me. I must admit I am a bit hesitant - I fear discovering I waste much of my days :( However, I consider myself pretty productive. I hope this helps develop more of a sense of daily accomplishment.

Insight and comments would be lovely. :o)

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I use the ETP form you

I use the ETP form you linked to to roughly plan out my days, sort of. I keep a form per day going out a week or two. I always have at least a few days out in my planner, but if I know I have to come back to something in the future, I will take and ETP and give it that date and stick it into the appropriate spot in the planner.

The Emergent Task Timer form, on the other hand, has been extremely useful to me in coming to terms with just where my time disappears to, and keeping track of it in detail like that helps me stay on task, even though no one but me actually sees it. I also use his Resource Task Quantizer form as a rough project sheet. This one doesn't quite work for me, and I need to work on my own form for projects, but I haven't had the time lately to do that. I think I actually need to just start with perhaps a blank sheet of paper, and figure out exactly what items I actually want/need on a project form. That would probably make building it easier. ;-)


I think I might try that Task Timer sheet too... Its hard because my job revolves around the customers. Some days are very very slow and other days are flooded with jobs. We have been having a very slow time... which makes tracking what I do kind of pointless... surf web, count ceiling tiles, clean desk, surf web, clean desk again, annoy coworkers.

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Yeah, some days it's not

Yeah, some days it's not very useful...other days, it is very helpful. Mostly it was useful to me in determining how easily I could get sidetracked by a phone call or some email that just had to be dealt with immediately. Turns out that I have a whole routine for when I'm sidetracked. I'm already not working, so while I'm not working I'll just check this list, and that list, and this website, and that website. Oh, and the dogs need something. And before I get back to work, let me just check all this one more time... Realizing that I could waste 60 minutes this way without even knowing it helps me not fall into that particular trap.

I don't do the whole timer thing, because once I AM on task, I get, well, side tracked too easily. *G* If I'm on task, I let myself stay that way, but when I complete what I'm doing, or take a break, or get interrupted, I turn immediately to the time tracker and make note of how long I was doing what. And a few days of seeing huge chunks of time spent on "mindless internet drivel" or "pointless phone call" helped me get better at getting back to work. I'm also easily pleased by being successful at having a productive day. I'd probably work just as well for a nice gold star sticker. ;-)

Also, on the ETP, I don't actually plot out my tasks in the time bubbles. I'm NOT very good at sticking to that kind of scheduling for anything other than appointments or meetings. But I do definitely find it useful to list out a few (and only a few!) top priority tasks for the day, and of course the note area is great for keeping track of other things that crop up or small things that need to happen. It's a good all-purpose mini in-box for my day. At the end of the day, I can figure out what I haven't completed, and either add it to the next day or to a later day depending on what is required.

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I'm not sure....

...that the ETP would be the form for you. It's more designed for the creative pro, or such types, who tend to work on longer-time projects. In Dave's case, he does web design, etc. So, he would need to devote several hours to a single project.

In my case, I use it for sermon prep, translation work, editing, writing, etc. So, in a day, I may need to work on three or four big projects. I block out my day on the left column, and work it out on the right. It works great for me. And I use the box down below for an inbox and task list for things that pop up while I'm working on one of my projects. That way, it goes into my brain, onto paper and out of my brain ASAP. It's an adjunct to my hipster "inboxes".

I think the key to understanding the ETP's use is in the word "emergent" It's less a way of planning than it is a way of catching what is coming up, and keeping yourself on-task. If you work on projects in your shop, and constantly find yourself getting distracted/interrupted, then maybe the ETP would work for you, but if you are more task-oriented, then I doubt it. The ETT might be more what you are looking for, then.



I see your point :) Since my workflow revolves around getting things done quickly and efficiently - I don't really struggle with keeping on task too often.

Do you think tracking the hours of my day would be pretty useless then? or do you have any other suggestions? :D

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hard to say....

...not knowing your exact work etc. However, the suggestion someone made, to use the Emergent Task Tracker rather than the ETP, would probably be a good way to find out. The full tracker allows for bunches of different tasks. And it seems more geared towards more, shorter tasks, especially ones you may set aside and pick up again later. At the end of the day, you see all you did, and what you did it doing (so saying you remembered to fill in all the ovals) ;-) So, that would probably be a better place to start, if only to see if it's really worth it. However, you may not want your boss to see this at first. ;-)



My boss stays in his office... when he does come out to annoy me I always tell him to "go back from whence thou came"... (I'm reading Malory's The Morte Darthur) hehehe.

I'll give it a try this week... its mostly for myself. I can't decide if a daily log would be a good addition/switch for myself. Mostly I just track to-dos/next actions in one place and then kind of write what did get done (MITs) in my weekly pages. It still is missing something... my quest for organization zen is ongoing. :o)

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I use an electronic form to keep track of the hourly stuff. It's call Twitter.
Duc Ly