estimated reading time: 3 min
As a remote worker, it’s very easy to lose focus and get distracted by the things one needs to do around the house. “Every working day is typically about 7 hours of billable work, but if I take an hour lunch, walk the dog twice in the middle of the day, try to start laundry, etc… I found that I’m spending nearly 11 hours just to get my 7 hours of billable in to ‘call it a day’.”
Chris works as a web developer at Happy Cog. When working remotely it can be challenging to not let other household duties stretch your workday.
Chris knew that the first step to master this challenge would be to get clarity about the situation and start tracking his time.
He could then use this data to focus on getting his work done in fewer hours.
How Chris tracks his time in detail
In the beginning, he had a long list of activities: “I used to have every individual side project as their own activity, but then I decided to merge them and use #tags and @mentions to track the individual projects”.
He narrowed the list down to a few personal and work activities. For work, he tracks his Top-level projects as individual activities and uses the @mentions for individual issues. For his side projects, he uses one activity called Personal activities.
Additionally, he has one activity called General activity that is a catch-all during work hours. On this side he tracks things like stepping away to the bathroom, grabbing lunch and walking his dog.
More focus time by shifting non-work related activities
The distinction between “not working activities” and “working activities” helped Chris see how much time he wasn’t focused on work. “The more time I spend on General every day the more time I need to make up later that evening.”
The analytics showed him that he had way too many tiny entries. “They were just 5-10 minutes long because my focus would keep shifting. ” He saw that he needed 11 hours to get his 7 hours of billable work done. That’s when he knew he had to change something.
He started shifting his household duties to later in the day. In addition, he said no to a lot of other things that took away his focus for work.
This helped him narrow down his working day and created a longer period of focused time. AND more free time afterwards.
Chris works remotely as a web developer for Happy Cog, a full-service digital agency that combines design, development, and marketing to solve complex business problems using a creative and user centered approach. Timeular is on his side since September 2018.