How to Check Your Time Management Progress
One way to determine your effectiveness at time-blocking is to check results. In as little as two weeks from when you launch your time-blocking schedule, you can probably see where you need minor adjustments. The best way to keep tabs on results is to track them on an ongoing basis. Conduct both a weekly review that focuses on the past week and a periodic review of where you stand in relation to your overall goals.
The weekly review is a time for you to replay the video of the week, looking at the highs and lows. You’ll have days where you want to pull your hair out because you face so many problems and distractions. You’ll also have days that are smooth as silk. What were the differences in those days besides the outcome?
As for the periodic review, review your job description, key responsibilities, and the ways in which your performance and success are measured. Then ask yourself these questions:
- Are you moving closer toward achieving your goals?
- Can you see measurable progress in reasonable time?
- Are you monitoring your performance well enough to see improvement?
- What changes do you need to adopt now to increase your speed toward reaching the goal and reduce the overall amount of time you invest?
Your success in meeting your objectives tells you whether the time-blocking is working for you.
Looking at measurable goals in time management
If you can measure your goals in terms of numbers (dollars or sales, for example), checking your results is a cinch. As a salesperson, for example, you may follow your sales numbers or commissions results over several months to get a good understanding of the effectiveness of your time-blocking efforts.
Or suppose you’re a magazine editor who’s evaluated on consistently meeting weekly publication deadlines; if your goal is to publish three articles per month in national magazines, you can assume that your time-blocking efforts require some tweaking if your review reveals that you’re getting only one story in print.
Evaluating qualitative time-management goals
If your goals aren’t easily measured in terms of dollars or sales, you may need to get creative in developing your own tally for results. Family and personal goals are difficult to measure, but you can likely gain a good sense of how your efforts are tracking by just paying attention to your daily life and how you feel about it, rating your day on a 1-to-10 scale.
Are your kids comfortable talking and spending time with you? Do they look forward to being with you? Are you on friendly terms with the people in your community activities? Do you and your spouse laugh together more often than you argue?
You can also turn to other measuring sticks, which are especially useful in the workplace:
- What went well this week? What could you have done better?
- Did you accomplish what you really needed to do? How many high-priority items did you carry over to the next day or week?
- How would you rate your week on a 1-to-10 scale, with 1 being utterly overwhelmed and dissatisfied, and 10 being completely in control of and happy with how you spend your time?
- How do you feel you performed at work? How does your supervisor feel you’re performing?
- Did you meet your goals at home?
- Has what you’ve accomplished this week positioned you better to achieve your long-range goals?
- What are the key improvement areas for you next week?
- What adjustments to your long-range plans do you need to make?
- What’s diverting you from your schedule?
- Were you unrealistic in your time estimates for tasks?
- What segment of the day or activity is tipping your schedule off track?
As you’re reviewing your results, be careful to do so with an open, observant mind, not a judgmental one. Give yourself a couple of weeks before you resolve to change your schedule. Doing so helps you get through a long enough period of time to account for anomalies.