We designed Harvest to track what is most important to a service business: its billable hours. However, Harvest is flexible and does just as well tracking all those non-billable hours—including, for some, their personal time. Just how can one use Harvest to get a handle on his or her own productivity and time management? Harvest user Darrick Weiber wrote in to tell us how he’s using Harvest for his time management goals.

I originally came across the idea of tracking my personal time in Neil Fiore’s book The Now Habit where he uses a calendar method to identify time spent procrastinating and to dispel the myth that people didn’t have enough time to do what they want. I initially emulated that method, working on paper. Unfortunately, as a contractor working from home, my time was not nearly as structured as the typical example in the book. Basically, the method didn’t work for me. With a little experimentation I did manage to become effective at recording my time on index cards with start and end times and a short note, but it was too much work to analyze my records and nothing of value came of that other than a new habit of keeping track of my time. When I discovered Harvest, I saw at once that it was a great solution for me. It captured exactly the information that I wanted, and allowed me to easily see how I had actually used my time today or this week and compare it to the average or to a goal that I have set for myself in a certain area.

In fact, using Harvest is what has made setting concrete time management goals possible in the first place. Until I started using Harvest, for example, I knew that I spent a lot of time reading blogs or keeping up with industry news, but did not realize that I was averaging over 3 hours a day. That had become a form of procrastination that I was only dimly aware of, especially since I felt I was doing something valuable. Thanks to the awareness I’ve gained, I’ve cut the time invested in reading blogs to closer to 3 hours per week, while still reading the same number of (if not more) blogs.

It’s also been a nice bonus to be able to identify areas where I have invested a considerable amount of time without ever really giving myself credit for it. Whether it’s on designing my wife’s website or spending an hour or two now and then keeping on top of my finances. The flip side of that is realizing, upon finishing my annually dreaded tax return, that entering my receipts and filling out the forms actually took me only an hour and a half from start to finish!

It is nice to be able to look back from week to week or month to month and see how I’ve spent my time and determine whether I have improved my habits and the way I have spent my time or not. Doing that helps me keep on top of my larger personal development goals and also to be able address emerging bad habits before they become real time wasters.

I’ve found Harvest valuable in my efforts to better manage my time, and intend to continue using it for the foreseeable future.

Thanks – Darrick

Do you have a story to tell about how you or your organization is using Harvest? If so, drop us a line: support at getharvest.com.