Between June 2011 and June 2013 I diligently tracked the way that I used my 24-hour cycles. I initiated this painstaking task after going through a long spell of productivity draught; I was obsessed with how exactly I spent my ‘Work -> Eat -> Sleep’ cycles. To achieve this, I used Hamster Time Tracker . I recently decided to dig into this wealth of information and have spent the last couple of days analyzing it. While the data I collected is not 100% accurate, visible patterns emerge.
Summary – The Result at a Glance
During the period in question, my entire life predominantly revolved around Home and Work (Laboratory and SCAP workplace). I installed Hamster Time Tracker on the three computers I used at Home and Work. I ran a week-long pilot exercise and arrived at the five categories below. In addition, during the pilot phase, I got a sense of the types of activities I would eventually have to work with, suffice to say, these were open ended.
|Day-to-day||Daily mundane tasks--constant variables|
|Hobbies||Personal FUN activities|
|Future Plans||Activities associated with future plans|
|Scheduled Tasks||Known recurring tasks|
When I finally started running the live experiment, I would export/import SQLite 3.x database to/from my dropbox folder whenever I switched machines. Analyzing the results was a fairly straight forward process; I exported the data to CSV and the rest is obvious.
Some Useful Patterns
- I discovered that I slept an average of 5.1 hours per day (see table below)
- Day-to-day tasks account for an average of 36.14%, implying that I had 63.86% of productivity time at my disposal
- I work more and often in the morning (segmenting results into day slots– dawn, wee hours, morning, mid-morning, afternoon, evening–yielded even more interesting results…)
|Activity/Task||Duration (Min)||Weighting (%)|
Explaining Bizarre Patterns
- The 5.1 average can perhaps be best explained by this article 
- YouTube is on my Top-5 list because I am subscribed to tonnes of YouTube channels–I find that I learn best by watching. I am currently subscribed to 178 channels
- SCAP represents 20 hours/week I had to put in when I was working part-time 
- In 2011, I became obsessed with African American culture, I spent A LOT of time on sites like worldstarthiphop.com . YES! I know it’s a semi-SHOCK site :p
Leveraging the Results
- I was able to figure out when I am most productive and was thus able to plan my waking life accordingly
- I knew where most productivity leaks were coming from (social networking sites for instance) and was able to cut down on those activities when I needed to reclaim time
- I was able to identify tasks that I could easily perform when I was in ‘Zombie’ mode (e.g. current affairs)
- Perhaps the most prized outcome was figuring out when I was most productive–I wrote more in the morning, I read more in the morning and did most of my coding late at night