I mentioned in an earlier post how writing every day for this site had unexpected side benefits.
I had been using Klok to track my time working on editing projects, and found it to be very helpful. After I started the writing challenge, it occurred to me that tracking my time on other projects just made sense – so I started tracking them with Klok, too.
That was February 22nd.
Before then, I had absolutely no idea how much time I was spending on writing projects, and that was limiting my efficiency. I was wasting a ton of time, allowing distractions to creep in when I should have been working, and just suffering from a general lack of focus.
Since I started tracking my time, things have been slightly different.
Here’s the lowdown of my writing/editing time since the 22nd.
Editing: 3:02 – more than 5,400 words edited
Novel Writing: 3:08 – more than 2,500 words written
Research for Future Guest Posts: 1:46
Site Admin/Email/Comment Moderation: 4:06 (includes posting to Fizzle)
Writing Blog Posts: 8:52 – 10 posts written and published
Total Hours: 20:54
To give some perspective, in the entire month prior to the 22nd, I managed less than one hour of editing. Granted, I was focusing most of my time on writing posts, but since I’ve started tracking everything, I’m still doing that – and my editing time has gone up by more than a factor of nine! In other words, in ten days, I spent more than three times the hours working on editing than I did in the entire preceding thirty days – that’s a pretty significant jump.
For my novel, it’s a little harder to quantify – because I hadn’t been keeping track until the 22nd. I do know that it had been at least two months since I’d written anything on it, which means it was probably longer than that. When you don’t keep track of time, it tends to get away from you, and you underestimate how much you waste. But in the past ten days, while still producing posts and editing, I’ve logged more than 3 hours of fiction writing, and put out more than 2,500 words toward my rough goal of 100,000. From zero in the previous who knows how many months to 2,500 in ten days? Again, pretty significant.
I’ve never done any guest posting, so there’s no data to compare in that category. The increase is obvious though – my writing practice got me an offer to write for two sites I really like; and I did some initial research toward a guest post in addition to everything else I was working on. Significant? I think so.
I was surprised to find that site admin/email/comment moderation took up about 20% of my working time during this period. My purely unscientific view of this stat is that it’s too much. This is the one area I’m measuring where I don’t feel the pressure of the ticking clock while I’m doing it – and that allows time to get away from me. I tend to wander in the Fizzle forums after I post my progress report and moderate comments, and that costs me time. That’s where keeping track of things helps measure efficiency.
Lastly, the category that took up the lion’s share of my time in the past ten days: Posts for this site.
I missed one day out of ten, broke my streak of writing every day, and felt like a huge failure because of it. But thanks to Klok, I can see my actual productivity didn’t stop on the day I missed a post. I got a lot done that day – and I continued posting the next day – the world didn’t come crashing to an end.
To sum up, using Klok for all my creative projects allowed me to see where I was spending my time, but it also helped me to be more productive with the time I spent. Knowing that the clock was ticking helped me to focus and get the work done, which helped me spread my effort and work on more projects. My blog posting took a very slight hit, but every other category saw huge improvements.
What was the word for that?