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How do you know you are using your time profitably?

So a few weeks ago I talked about three bad ways to measure your daily progress (that we all fall for) and as I was looking for some better ways to track progress I came across this post by @macsparky about a method he’s been using, it’s simple, effective and I kind of like it (with a twist).

David has a lot of ways that he makes money, he’s a lawyer, he writes books, he podcasts – he’s a busy guy! But, he wanted to stay focused on the things that were driving dollars into his pocket. So he developed a system where he made a little hash mark for every 15-minute interval that he worked on something directly tied to revenue. You can read all about it here.

What I like about this system is that it measures the proportion of your work hours spent on revenue-generating work without a lot of time tracking, or project hour calculating, etc. So if that’s a challenge for you, this might be a quick fix.

But a lot of you track your time already for billing purposes. You know what you spend your time on, so maybe that’s already covered for you. However, I find when we track our “billability” it causes us to optimize for more production today, instead of things that create the intellectual property that we need to create income tomorrow, or next week, or next year?

So here’s the twist I’m adding to David’s hashmark system to my own time tracking (partially based on my last email)…

Instead of tracking billable hours with a hashmark, I’m tracking the time spent on work that is builds my intellectual property for long term. If what I’m working on is likely to produce revenue for me more than 6 months from now, I add a hash mark. 

My notebook doesn’t have a lot of hash marks in it right now — but awareness is the first step to change. If I measure it, I’ll bet I have more hash marks 10 days from now then an I do today. 

How are you tracking your productivity? Is what you are tracking what you want to optimize?

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