In December 2016, I gave myself one year to go after a dream and the only thing that was certain was that I had to make something happen before 2017 came to an end. It wasn't a maybe, it was a must.
My reasons were simple. For way too long, I had pushed important goals to the side and I didn’t have a good reason as to why. I couldn’t find a satisfying excuse and it made me wonder if eight years of my life had been a complete waste of time.
Other people didn't see it that way, in their eyes, I had done well both personally and professionally but for that investment of time, I just didn’t feel my achievements were enough.
I freaked out and it scared me enough to commit to to finally figuring things out so that eight years wasted wouldn’t become nine. I decided that the best way to start would be to focus on understanding what I was doing with my time and that's exactly what I did.
One year later I have close to 4500 data points broken into four foundational categories which allow me to understand at any moment, how my time is being used on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis.
The data is divided into categories and is manipulated by multipliers using an algorithm built to extract insights from the data. All of this information makes up a time tracking system focused on the concept of time density.
Once time has passed, it disappears, we can't ever get it back. However, I have found that we can make up for lost time by using the concept of time density to achieve results in a significantly shorter period of time. Here's how it works…
We all have 24 hours available to us each day, but the way we choose to use those hours can vary significantly from person to person. Some people cant take an hour and get ten times the results of other people, this is the concept of time density, the amount of results you can get out a given time period.
There are four foundational categories of time tracking that give a complete look into how a person spends their time.
- The focus is on yourself, anything that is mental, physical or spiritual. Examples are learning, reading, exercising or meditation.
- The focus is on connecting with others: Examples are spending time with family, dinner with friends or communicating with people.
- The focus is on the things you do to make a living provide for you and your family. Examples are a person's career and investments.
- The focus is on doing and discovering things that make you unique. Examples are dancing, singing, traveling or enjoying a hobby.
- Not a foundational category but it does focus on a very important area for all of us, the amount of sleep we get on any given day.
RETURN MULTIPLIERS (ROT)
When I started tracking my time early on this year I realized that simply tracking hours spent on an activity wasn’t providing the data that I was looking for. Time spent on important goals such as starting a business, had the same value as time being spent on less important things such as watching TV. So I started using a return on time (ROT) multiplier to better understand the return of my time.
I tested different values as multipliers and ended up settling on 1X, 2X, and 10X to help guide me in spending my time on higher value tasks and projects.
Let consider a person that wants to get healthier in 90 days, below are three examples of results based on whether the person decides to make this a 1X, 2X or 10X goal.
- A 1X goal would provide a 1X return for the time period
- Example: They decide to become healthier by working out
- A 2X goal would provide a 2X return for the time period
- Example: They decide to become healthier by working out and eating right
- A 10X goal would provide a 10X return for the time period
- Example: They decide to become healthier by working out, eating right with the end goal of running a marathon
Adding a multiplier allows you to see not only where you spend your time, but also its return. It helps guide you to focus on goals that have a higher return.
VALUE MULTIPLIERS (VOT)
Value multipliers are similar to time multipliers, but instead of showing you the return for your time , they provide insights into the value of a task.
For example, if a person wants to start a business, 1X, 2X and 10X tasks would look like the following:
- A 1X task would provide a 1X value for the time period
- Example: You spend 8 hours a day answering emails
- A 2X task would provide a 2X value for the time period
- Example: You spend 8 hours a day in meetings
- A 10X task would provide a 10X value for the time period
- Example: You spend 8 hours a day creating a product
Adding a value multiplier helps guide you to focus on tasks within goals that provide a higher return.