Back in March of this year, Jess Tedder turned me on to David Seah's Emergent Task Timer form. While recording tasks and hours on paper goes against my standard belief in making everything electronic, I trusted Jess. He said that he was hooked and that he had been very disciplined in tracking his time using these forms. I decided to give it a try myself. I have been filling in little bubbles ever since!
I did have a few problems with David Seah's forms though:
- No task totals for the end of the day
- No project totals for the end of the day
- Only support for a 12-hour work day!? I need room for 24-hour work days (although not much recently)
- No place to indicate day of week
- No place to indicate start and end time for the day
Jess and I ended up creating our own version of the form that addressed each of these issues. Click on the image for a PDF download (now the 2008 version).
I swear by this now. This is the only process that I've stuck with for any measurable amount of time. I've found that tracking time on paper seems to be much easier than doing it on the computer. The primary reason that I've noticed is that filling in a bubble on paper doesn't have to interrupt what I'm doing on the screen (even though I run 3 x 19" LCD). Even if I'm spun around in my chair, talking with a coworker, I can grab my pencil and fill in a bubble, without looking like too much of a jerk (I don't think).
Whenever I need to log my time into our time tracker system, I go back and add up my task and project totals for each day, and then I transfer the numbers into the computer. And when I'm creating my status reports, I fall back onto these as well, to remember what the heck I did the week prior.
If you don't have a good system for tracking time, I highly recommend using these forms. Check out David Seah's 'The Printable CEO™ Series' for more ideas too. I have even toyed with requiring the developers on my team to use these--but I haven't done it yet.