**2 minute read**
Let’s be honest, the life of a voice actor, or indeed any self employed person can be a little chaotic. While the lack of a boss breathing down your neck is a blessed relief, it also opens the door to a dangerous scourge – unfocused action or extended periods of inaction.
Whether it’s procrastination, overwhelm or scatterbrained activity, the result is often the same – reduced productivity.
So what is the solution?
While we all have our own individual blind spots, let me put to you a process that could help you break out of a productivity rut – time tracking!
While this may be a bit premature of me to claim time tracking as a solution to all workload ills, (I’ve been employing this for a grand total of four days), almost immediately I felt this to be a – to use Apple jargon – “game-changer”. Ugh, hate that term.
How does ‘time tracking’ help?
There’s no arguing with data. The blunt truth of numbers are a sobering reality check for how you actually spend your time.
Just like squinting through your fingers and grimacing as you read the bathroom scale in early January, knowing the truth of your situation allows you to employ effective mitigation tactics for solving your procrastitative* problems.
So how do you track time?
My time tracker of choice is incorporated into my invoicing software (Freshbooks). It has a handy time tracking feature that allows me to select a client, define the task and start the clock. My process is thus:
- Open Freshbooks, click ‘Time Tracking’
- Shrink window to right side of screen
- Select my company, select task as ‘Emailing’, start timer
- Dive into emails
- Complete emails, click stop on timer
- Start timer, change task to ‘Auditions’, click start
- Complete auditions, stop timer
- Rinse and repeat…
An unexpected benefit
Not only is the ability to look back over your time management useful in retrospect, it is also a guardrail in the moment, a little extra motivation to stay on topic and not flit around from one task to another. This enables more single minded focus, which in turn accelerates the completion of tasks.
For a bigger picture analysis of time-tracking I will return in a few months with cold, hard data, and hopefully a better perspective on the efficacy of time-tracking my day to day work life. In the meantime why not try it for yourself? A spreadsheet and a phone timer work just as well as Freshbooks. And if you’re a regular time tracker, tell me about your experience in the comments.
My time tracker says I’ve been writing this for 29 minutes, so I’ll leave you now for some auditions…. click.
*Yes I made that word up.