Managing Your Time

Time management is a critical life skill that's unfortunately not taught in our schools or even colleges. As a result, Students usually find it difficult to manage their time and feel overwhelmed with the number of things they need to accomplish in an academic year. Sometimes it feels like we've been studying for hours and hours with no end in sight.

One of the ways to address this is to track our time, evaluate where the time is being spent and identify things that we can tweak to make better use of our time. This idea is based on Laura Vanderkam's book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. Laura points out that we all have the same amount of time available in a week - 168 hours - it's how we use it that sets us apart from the others.

To make it easier to track time, we've created this template based on Laura Vanderkam tips. This template has been modified to calculate the number of hours we spend on each activity which will help us manage your time better. Scroll down for instructions on creating a copy of the template.

Copy this Template

To make a copy of this template, click the Time Tracker Template link and click the Make a Copy Button.

Rename the Spreadsheet

Double click on the spreadsheet name to modify the name. This will help you find it easily later on.

Start Tracking

To track your time, copy the icon next to the category and paste it in the cell you want to track. For eg. if your school starts at 9:00 am, you can copy and paste the school icon in the 9:00 am slot.

If you want to, you can also add additional details to help you remember what you did during the hour. For eg. if at 9:00 am you start with the Assembly, you can type in "Assembly" next to the school icon.

Tips for Using the Time Tracker Template

So how do you make the most of this template? Check out these tips:
  • Mark off the recurring tasks to save you time. For eg. if you go to sleep at 10:30 pm everyday and wake up at 6:30 am, block off these slots in the time tracker. If school is 9:00 am to 4:30 pm every week day, copy the school icon to these blocks of time. If you want to add additional details like the classes that were held, you can do it when you are updating the tracker on that day.

  • Track your day every few hours to make sure you remember what you did in the prior hours. For eg. you can update the tracker before you go to school, once you come back from school, and when you go to bed.

  • Don't over think it. The tracking shouldn't take you more than a couple of minutes at a time. If you did multiple activities during a 30 minute period, choose the activity you spent the most time on.

  • Once you've tracked for a week, review the data. Think of the following:

    • How does this feel to you?

    • What do you over- or underinvest in?

    • What do you like most about your schedule?

    • What would you like to change?

  • Identify the changes you want to make and repeat for another week.

If you are not a student and would like to use this tracker, here's a modified version.