This is a very easy to use tool I’ve developed when working with one of my coaching clients. I’ve actually even simplified it more, to make it more appealing to a first time user!
The downloadable link is just at the end of the blog post. But first, here’s how you can use it.
It is said (and I tend to agree, with practice) that you can only have 5 roles. Attempt to do more, and you will feel overwhelmed. Roles are something you do on a regular basis, or something you have a responsibility for (which, you’ve guessed, demands action on a regular basis).
Let me count my own:
Full Time Corporate HR Person
Girlfriend turned wife
Friend of my boardgaming bunch of people
Dancing classes student
Well, that’s a bit more than 5. But you get the picture.
Include in your roles only those areas that really matter to you and on which you spend more than a few hours per week (or which are a responsibility that you don’t want to drop). For example, my “daughter” role is very important to me, but on weekends when I’m not going to my little town in the mountains, I don’t spend more than 1 hour a week on it (all my daily calls conglomerated).
How does it work?
It’s very simple. You just input the number of hours you spend each day on each role, and the pie chart in sheet 2 calculates everything automatically for you.
If you want, you can go into more detail and make a per-hour split. Or, you can be more general and eliminate the “morning”-”evening” split that I’ve included there, keeping just the number of hours you’ve invested in that role per day.
I’ve already included an example for you, on Monday. You don’t have to count the sleeping hours, of course. And there will be a lot of hours that fall in between – you may want to track them in the “others” section, or ignore them. If, however, these hours accumulate, I suggest looking at what you spend them on, and seeing where they fit in. Maybe you have another role you did not take into account initially.
Now, the whole idea with roles is to see where you spend your time on, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s a Life Management tool, not a Time Management – totally-related-to-work-thing. If you want to use it for your work projects, that’s fine. Just change each role’s name with your project’s name and start tracking.
But the big purpose behind this tool is to help you stay focused and decide what you want to spend your time on.
For example, let’s say you want to devote more time to your fitness role. Get more in shape (come on, summer is approaching!). So you decide you want to go running 3 times a week. After already one week, you might realize this goal is unrealistic, seeing you’ve only run once. And you could adapt it.
Sure, you might say, but I can do that by myself, without needing an Excel sheet.
With one role to manage, yes.
But look at your agenda. Do you struggle to squeeze in one more meeting with that friend from college you haven’t seen for years? How about your grandparents who’ve been begging to see you for months? Or that new language course you wanted to fit in?
That’s where a tracking tool comes in handy. It lets you see how much you can actually juggle.
I suggest you do your tracking in weekly batches, and post them on your wall. See how the pie changes every week.
Enjoy, and if you like the tool, drop me a comment!