Do you ever wonder where all the hours go? Do you ever get to the end of your day and feel like you have not accomplished anything? Have you ever started a diet or exercise program and become frustrated because you aren’t seeing results? How about a virtual tour company?
We’ve all been there, in fact we may go through periods where we feel that way every day. In exercise, there is a concept called the Borg Perceived Exertion Scale which rates the level of physical exertion that is perceived by the person and compares it to the actual exertion as measured by things such as heart rate, calories burned, etc.
The challenge is that often what we perceive to be our level of exertion is not really accurate. Have you ever been to the gym and seen someone who walks around the gym flirting and chatting and never seems to do any actual exercise? You can imagine though that this person goes home and says that they worked out for two hours! If you’ve ever worked in an office environment, you’ve probably seen the same thing! If you have ADHD like I do, you’ve probably DONE the same thing.
I find measuring my actual output is crucial to keeping myself honest about how hard I am working. For my fitness goals, I use programs on my iPhone to monitor my weight, calories, nutrition and exercise but I also have an old fashioned paper calendar that I write on every day so I can look back and see it in black and white.
I blogged recently about having an objective list instead of a daily agenda but when I find myself struggling to get things done in our virtual tour business, I often do an exercise to measure my actual activities throughout the day. I take a legal pad or notebook and put two columns for every 30 minute segment of the work day. The night before, I write what I plan to do for that 30 minutes in the left column and leave the right column blank.
When I start my day, I set a timer for 30 minutes and set off to work. Every 30 minutes I write down what I was actually doing during that segment of time. What’s great about the timer is that if I do go off on a tangent, then the timer rings and brings me back to the task at hand. My tangents include Facebook, looking at personal emails, reading an interesting article, or seeing what my husband is watching on TV in the other room. We run our Illinois virtual tour company out of our house. Because we live on a bay off the Mississippi River and are surrounded by water and trees – sometimes I just get caught up in staring out my window at some amazing display of nature.
None of these things are bad in and of themselves but by accurately accounting for my time, I am able to give an honest assessment of whether the things I am doing are the best use of my time at that very moment. By being objective and honest about my time I can answer the questions — Am I really working hard, working smart and working effectively?