Ask most people who work full time if they think they have a good work-life balance, and the answer is likely to be NO.
In fact, 66% of full-time employees in the United States do not think they have a healthy work-life balance.
But what are people actually doing to change how they spend their time?
Many of them have discovered that time tracking apps help to balance the time they work with the amount of personal time they get to enjoy.
Let’s take a look at how time tracking apps can improve your work-life balance.
1) Track How Much Time You Spend on Each Task
To have a good work-life balance, you need to set aside separate hours for work and for your family and personal life.
Before you can do that, you need to know how many hours you’re spending on each aspect of your life.
With a time tracker app, you can keep a record of what you’re doing every moment of every day.
From your morning workout to your commute to your bedtime routine, understanding how you use your time is key. Once you can see where you’re spending the bulk of your time, you can start to identify places where you may be able to shift your focus.
But you’ll need some data first.
With the use of an app like RescueTime, you can get a good overall sense of how you’re spending your days. You can access the app on your phone, computer, and your tablet, so it’s easy to use at home, at work, and on the go.
2) Discover Which Tasks are Taking up Most of Your Time
Do you know how many hours you spend each day checking emails, chatting with colleagues, or helping coworkers out with their own tasks? All of those things can take away from your productivity, so it’s important to track how much time you spend on the tasks that really matter.
The more minutes you can free up during the workday, the more time you’ll have to focus on getting the job done. If you can take your 11-hour workday down to 8 hours, you’ll have extra hours each day that you can enjoy at home.
To understand how you spend every moment of the day, check out the TimeTune app.
By tracking your routine and analyzing the data, you can identify which tasks are taking up too much of your time.
If you’re spending the bulk of your workday doing actual work, good. That’s what you’re there for!
But that’s not always the case.
Does a quick trip to the coffee machine always result in a 15-minute chat with a certain coworker? Do you linger at your laptop typing, re-typing, or re-reading emails over and over again? Are you the first one to volunteer to help out with a task that’s not even yours to do?
Your goal in the office should be to get your work done as quickly and efficiently as possible. By analyzing your time, you can see where you need to make improvements and identify a few things that you may be able to cut out of your day.
3) Shift Your Focus to Your Goals
A time tracking app can take the place of your personal calendar, as many of them allow you to block out specific hours for certain tasks or events.
Decide how long you think a task will take, schedule a block of time for that task, then look back and see if it took you more or less time than you thought it would.
You may find that you’re routinely setting aside one hour to do tasks that take two hours. On the other hand, you may be wasting time by allowing yourself an hour to do something that should only take 30 minutes.
Once you know how you spend your days, you can realign your goals or shift your focus to areas in which you need to improve and become more productive.
The Way of Life app is great for this.
This app sets reminders to keep you on track and helps you break bad habits so you can get closer to achieving your goals. It lets you plot goals for the day, the week, or the month, and it provides a scoreboard-style display to let you know if you’re meeting them or not.
Whether your goal is to spend more time in the gym, spend more time with your kids, or spend more time relaxing, the best way to achieve your goals is to donate the time to do them.
4) Learn to Spend Your Time Wisely When You’re Out of Office
Being productive in the office is key to having a work-life balance. But you also need to learn how to be productive at home.
It’s just as important to track work tasks as it is to track how much time you spend on household chores, such as cleaning, doing laundry, and cooking dinner. Monitor how many hours you spend on those tasks, and you may be able to free up a few hours for more satisfying things.
Do you know how much time you spend on social media each day? Are you wasting several hours a night watching TV or texting with your friends? Sometimes the little things that become a part of our routine can be incredibly time-consuming.
Spending five minutes here and there on Facebook might not seem like a big deal in the course of your day. But if you add up all those minutes at the end of the week, you just might find that Facebook is draining hours from you that you don’t have to waste.
Think about what’s really important and then try to refocus your time by only doing things that are truly meaningful.
Check out the Weekly Planner app. It’s completely free, and it’s an easy way to plan out your week. You can schedule work tasks, household chores, social events, exercise, and whatever else you deem important.
5) Get Help Staying Organized
Once you have your calendars and goals set, you’ll be ready to organize your time to make the most of all aspects of your life.
The more organized you are, the easier it will be to tackle the task at hand. And, as you learn how to be more productive, you’ll find that you have more time to enjoy the things you want to do.
The Todoist app is designed to help you organize your entire life.
You can create schedules and integrate them with your Google calendar, Asana, and other apps. You can also watch your progress and plan every single moment of your life — both in and out of the office.
Find a Time Tracking App You Like
There are dozens of time tracking and planning apps out there, and they’re all a little different. Some are extremely basic with almost nothing more than a timer and a stopwatch. Others are loaded with filters, options, and ways to schedule, categorize, and assess data.
You may need to test out two or three to find the one that works best for you.
Plan With a Purpose
Some people like to live by a schedule. Other people prefer to do what they want when they want.
Neither way is right or wrong, but having some method of organization is necessary if you want to maximize your time and be more productive.
But that does not mean that you need to plan every day down to the last second.
If you’re a spur-of-the-moment type of person, then be one! Having a schedule doesn’t mean that you can’t be carefree. You can.
There is a happy medium out there. Sometimes, organizing just a few certain aspects of your life is all you need to free up time for the things you love.
Start by organizing your time at work, then move onto organizing your time at home. With the help of the right app, you just might find that planning your day and sticking to a schedule is a lot easier than you may think.
The imbalance is staggering. It’s no wonder so many U.S. workers feel like they have little to no work-life balance.
Productivity on the job is key to creating and maintaining that balance. That’s why more and more people are making use of time tracking apps.
Use these apps to monitor how you’re spending your time and for scheduling, organizing, and staying focused on your goals. Analyze the data to see where you can cut back or readjust time and tasks.
Ready to find that perfect work-life balance?
Download one or two tracking apps now, and you’ll be well on your way to creating more time to enjoy the things you love!