We’d like to share some excerpts from Jeffrey Perkel’s article about his time-gap discovery, when he first started using Harvest for tracking his time. Thanks Jeffrey, we hope this will help other freelancers and small business leaders, and we’re glad to help you along the path of productivity!
I have a confession to make: I’m not as productive as I’d like to be. For me, the realization that I was less productive than I thought came via Harvest, a web-based app for time-tracking and invoicing. At the suggestion of productivity wonk John Pavlus, I gave Harvest a whirl.
Harvest is a productivity dream. There’s a web interface to track your projects, tasks, invoices, and expenses. There’s a dedicated MacOS dashboard widget, even an iPhone interface. I set up my tasks and projects, and then diligently set to work trying to track my day: 44 minutes to interview so-and-so; 36 minutes to read this paper; a bit more than 3 hours to write that article, and so on.
I felt very accomplished… until I added everything up and found that, despite all my careful tracking, I had gaping holes in my day. Partly, that’s because I didn’t add things like lunch, picking up the kids after school, and the occasional break to check Twitter, email, and the news. And partly it’s because I’d start reading something and then realize, oops! I forgot to turn on the timer. Still, it’s clear I can do better. It’s not that I thought I was some productivity machine, working 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. But I didn’t realize how much time I was frittering away, either.
By casting my daily activities in such sharp relief, Harvest helped me identify the problem. It’s up to me to set things right.
Confessions of a productivity hack(er) was originally posted on Freelancer Hacks