29 June 2011

Time Mapping

Have you ever tried mapping your time, either in advance or in the past so you can see what you have been doing or what you will be doing?

One of our readers (Helen or 'Nellie') wrote in an email:
I have been very short on time recently, so thought I would time map my day to give it a bit more structure and to make sure that I don’t neglect important things like exercise. I thought other Philofaxers might like the template.  The template is in MS Word. You could either print out a blank one and fill it in, or, as I did,  fill it in using Word. I merged cells to create the timeslots I wanted and then colour coded the cells. Grey for work, green for health, blue for well being... It gave me quite a nice overview of how I spend my time. I put it as the first page of my diary section, so I can find it easily.

Also attached is an example. The only problem is that being personal sized it is quite small, so doing it on the computer is probably easier. Once printed out, it’s fine to read. You can print it out using the instructions I sent through a while ago.
The file is available in the files area and linked to in the above.

Thank you Helen for send in your idea.


  1. Thank you for sharing your time mapping strategy & files! That's a great way to get a sense of how your time is used in any given week :)

    When I feel a need to do something like that, it's usually because the day is getting away from me or because I just need to see graphically/visually what I am concentrating on in my day in relation to other tasks - a reality check of time vs. tasks. I've been using a slightly modified version of this method found here:


    i.e., http://tinyurl.com/6m22dl

    (sometimes blogger does not show long links so the second link provided is a tinyurl version).

    I hope davegray does not mind me referencing his flickr photo. I learned a lot from it.

  2. Time mapping was very popular in the 1980s (yes really), and was almost 'de rigeur' as a starting point for 'time management consultants when working with a new client. It then fell out of fashion, as, if you think about it, did the whole 'time management' issue. Somehow people managed to get the idea that if they just bought the new and incoming electronic gizmos, that their time would automatically be managed *for* them. Which is why, now that most people are almost *entirely* gadget-driven in their diary and contact book, most people feel they have less time than ever. it's not the gizmos, it's that we stopped consciously managing our time. Which in turn is why I'm always banging on about it not being the style/colour/etc of your Filo that counts, but how you make what's in between the covers work for you in terms of a coherent system.

    Interesting link, and although a 'throwback', well worth looking into. Thank you!

  3. Thanks for sharing. We have to do this exercise at work around 3 times a year but I have never tried to do it for my personal life. Could be interesting...

  4. @ David Popely - I echo your sentiments - the trick is figuring out how to manage oneself!

    I usually have to invoice on an hourly basis and it can be be useful to record what I am working on as I go along. I've never thought of putting this in my filofax, so food for thought. Does anyone have a time recording sheet they use?

  5. Alison and all--

    I have used this colorful sheet from the smart women over at getbuttonedup.com:


    I might create a simple chart on word as time spent on an activity, especially at home, is in 10 minute increments (at times!).

    David--agreed 100% with your thoughts.

    I am reading Time Management from the Inside Out as recommended by Jotje--her time map is within her previously published guest post.

  6. I wish I could manage my time that well >.<

  7. @Alison if only!

    I think the template from the files are is pretty good (left margin needs widening though), but 15 minute segments would be better. But then it wouldn't fit on a Personal size page (unless it was two-sided.

    I could see what I can come up with if you like? :)

  8. @David Popely - thanks for the offer - I'm afraid I am an A5 girl so will probably design something which has the best bits of all I've seen here. If I am successful I will ask Steve to post it on the templates page.

  9. Glad you liked it.

    You can of course adjust the template to suit your needs. The limitation is really space if you want it on one side of a personal sheet of paper.

  10. I used to have a boss that made me do this @ work. Yeah, she was a real peach.

    I'm not EVEN busy enough to do this, but I really like the idea, esp. if you include how much time you spend "researching" on the internet or watching tv.

  11. I do my own version of this using colored pens on my 2PPD inserts. However, it's more like a map for my intentions, since some of it never happens. I should try something like this for what I actually do and see if it makes a difference. Thanks for sharing!

  12. The time mapping looks interesting. I want to try that for analysis purposes.

    @Alison; I too have to invoice on an hourly basis. I am a very big fan of the Emergen Time Tracker as it is simple, efficient and flexible.

    I have designed my own in Excel to make them fit into my A5 FF.

    Take a look at: http://davidseah.com/2006/04/the-printable-ceo-iii-emergent-task-timing/

  13. @schollert - what a brilliant form! Would you be willing to share your excel template with me as I use an A5 for work also?

  14. @schollert - forgot to say you can get me on ali at alisonreeves dot co dot uk

  15. I definitely will use this! My day gets busy and I need something like this. I will tell all Filofax holders. :)

  16. We can even, Add excel sheet to make this mapping more convenient to understand. Colourful cells gives an attractive look.

    Invoice Template


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...