How do you measure where your time goes?

Calendars are really useful for keeping track of events, meetings and appointments.

Lots of them, crammed back-to-back-back!

Unfortunately, a calendar is pretty terrible at answering the question: “How do I spend my time?”

This week, Jerry Colonna gave me a simple exercise: “On Sunday night, email me the 3 big things you want to accomplish this week. We’ll check in on Thursday to see where you’re at.”

I emailed him the 3 big things that were the TOP priority, but then added the 9 more things I also needed to accomplish.

It demonstrated to both of us that I first might need to examine where my time is going, so Jerry recommended color coding my calendar into different buckets of activity.

As the saying goes – “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!”

So, I grabbed Jaclyn, and we spent a few minutes doing just that.

We added a color coded bucket for vision, strategy and communicating that internally and externally.

We added a bucket for hiring and managing the team – stuff like 1-1s, sync ups, staff meetings and functional reviews.

We added a bucket for resources – making sure the team has the money, the people and the clarity – to succeed.

We added a bucket for travel time (I am writing this as I ride the bus)

We added another bucket for professional development and peer groups.

We added a bucket for personal time.

We added a bucket for other external obligations like boards and non-profits.

When we squinted at the color coded calendar, we realized an inordinate amount of time was in managing the team.

But there wasn’t nearly enough time on vision and external communication.

bart calendar


One of the things we did to combat this was immediately set a few rules:

1. No meetings before 10AM.
2. No more than 1 meeting per hour.
3. No more than 7 meetings per day.

We will see how this first iteration works out.

I am hopeful it will give me more time to think, to write, to communicate.

Time will tell – I’ll use this approach until the end of the quarter and let you know how it goes.

I am curious how other people measure their time allocations and adjust accordingly.  If you have different approaches that have worked for you, please comment below!

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