Analyze how you use your time


“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” (Gandalf)

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

How you choose to spend your time is a good indicator of the activities and people who are most important to you in your life. It shows your priorities clearly. How well do your daily activities reflect your priorities?

Have you faced any of these challenges?

Personal Development. Maybe you have considered taking an evening class to improve your skills or obtain a qualification you need, but you are not sure how you will find time to attend that class because of your busy life.  Taking a closer look at how you spend the time that you do have may help you see opportunities to change your schedule and make more time for career development activities.

Leaders and managers have many priorities to manage and often feel there are not enough hours in every day to accomplish the business objectives they have set for themselves and their teams. Taking a closer look at how you spend every day and every week my give you some interesting insights. You may discover areas where you could refocus yourself or delegate activities to free up more time for those other priorities.

Performance feedback could be indicating that your supervisor/manager feels you are not using your time at the office in productively. This template can also help you discover where he or she may be right and whether you are actually using your time optimally to achieve the performance goals that you and your boss have agreed upon.

The template, which you can download below, helps you to take stock of what you are doing with all of the time that you have available to you. I once discovered that 30% of my time was at my own discretion and I created a mantra for myself “make the 30% count.” Whenever I caught myself involved in an activity that I had labeled as of low value to me given my own goals and values, I would just remind myself of the mantra and shift my focus to a higher value activity.

Should you need more development in how to be more effective at work, I suggest you look for a class on time management tools. These classes typically focus on how to get better at email management, how to better plan your day to do the right type of activities at the right time of the day (energy management) and also how to get better at keeping track of your highest priorities and making sure that you are working on the right items at various check-in moments with yourself during the day. A coach or a buddy can also help you with this by not only sharing tools with you but also helping to keep you accountable for the goals and outcomes you have committed to.

I hope your efforts to take a closer look at how you spend your time has given you the awareness of how much time you have available to spend at your own discretion. Are you using your time wisely? Are you doing things that will get you closer to the goals you have for your life?

I found one has to repeat these quick checks on a regular basis – maybe every 6 months – to make sure you are still on the path you had set for yourself when it comes to being in charge of the time you have.

Delegation Tracking Sheet


Effective managers know how to optimize the value provided by their departments and groups by effectively delegating tasks to their direct reports in a way that continuously increases the skills and competencies of their direct reports.  Tracking who is working on which delegated task at a given moment can be tricky though. The template I am sharing is a great way to keep track of not only who is working on which delegated task, but also what was the overall purpose of the delegated task.

Try to match the task or activity/project you need to delegate to the right person in your team given their current skills and competencies and also matched to current development needs each of them have.  The template is based on a list of categories to consider: (see second tab in template for the definitions shown below)

The delegation tracking sheet helps you keep track of the level of capability the person has – which uses the definitions above to help remind you how much support he or she might need with that task.

Use the drop down list in column B to select the category that applies to that task/project and the person that you are delegating to.  You can create more lines for delegated tasks by just inserting a line between the existing lines.

Reasons why this list can be very useful:

  • Keeping this list up to date and referring to it in a regular basis will help you remember when to check in on someone working on a delegated task or project.
  • You keep track of the reasons why you gave a specific task to someone – from a developmental perspective. This means you know how much support and coaching may be needed while the person is working on this task.
  • Avoid giving the same task to more than one person. There is nothing more demotivating to an employee than finding out another colleague is working on the exact same project as he or she is after having already spent several hours doing research and talking to people about the project in order to deliver a great result.

You can do more and accomplish more as a manager when you don’t have to rely on your memory alone to remember who is working on which tasks and projects for you.