5 Simple Time Trackers to Get Your Life Back

by - November 27, 2021

 You know the feeling when your life seems to keep going faster and faster, and not to mention your to-do list is getting longer and longer? Plus, you keep doing the same old tasks every. single. day. and you never seem to make any headway. It's time to figure out what you are doing with your time so you can get your life back! Use these five bullet journal time trackers to figure out just what you are doing every day!

5 Simple Time Trackers to Get Your Life Back

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Updated for 2024

Continuing on in my time-management series, today, I wanted to share with you five different types of time trackers you can test out in your bullet journal to figure out where your life is going.

If you haven't read any of the articles in this series, you may want to read the articles below as well, but it is not necessary.

Your bullet journal can be an awesome tool, and for time-tracking, it is no different. By the way, if you have no idea what bullet journaling is, or you haven't taken the leap to start your bullet journal yet, you can read Bullet Journaling: What is It? to get started.

At the end of this post, I'll share some tips, for keeping up with time trackers, so make sure you stay until the end (or just scroll to the end right now).

I've gained a lot of insight into my day and how I spend my time using these five time-trackers, and you can too! Let's get right into this post!

5 Simple Time Trackers to Get Your Life Back

5 Simple Time Trackers to Get Your Life Back

1. Time Log

First up, is a simple time log. This bullet journal time log is my first attempt at time management, and probably the most in-depth.

I got the idea for doing a time log like this from the book I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam.

For privacy reasons, I blurred out most of my time log, but I left a little bit blank at the top so you can see that I only wrote a few words every hour.

I did my time log in hour chunks, but if you want a more in-depth look at your week, you may choose to do thirty-minute chunks or even fifteen-minute chunks. This will be a lot more work though, and harder to keep up with!

I already wrote a whole post about my experience using this time log, and how you can set up one yourself, so if you are interested in trying out this method of time management, then you can read the article linked above.

5 Simple Time Trackers to Get Your Life Back

2. Ideal Versus Real Time Calculator

Sometimes, you know that you want more free time, but your schedule already seems crazy busy, and you don't think you can cut anything out.

That is where this bullet journal layout fits in.

You'll already need data from a time log, so you can either use the one above, or you can create your own version.

As you can see, I made one column for my ideal life, and then one column for my real life. Then I used the data I collected from the week before (the time log above) to create this bullet journal layout.

To make this layout, you need to divide your life into categories. Below are the ones I used.

  • sleep
  • exercise
  • family + friends
  • blogging
  • school + studying
  • eating
  • church
  • chores
  • hobbies
  • other
  • total

Then, I wrote down the ideal number of hours I would like to spend on a certain area of my life each week. Please note that some things on this list overlap, such as "family and friends". I frequently exercise, eat, do chores, and spend "hobby" time with people. The "family and friends" section only covers the time that did not fit in any other category such as playing a game or watching a movie.

At the bottom, there is a "total" section so you can see how accurate your time log was, and how much time you missed tracking. Apparently, I missed tracking 16 hours of my life! 😂

5 Simple Time Trackers to Get Your Life Back

3. Color Block Time Tracker

I knew that keeping a detailed time log each week would consume more time than it was worth. For the next month or so, I endeavored to keep a color-blocked time tracker, so I could keep myself accountable, but not have to be so strict.

This method worked fairly well, and it got me to use my bullet journal more throughout the day. It didn't work so well when I didn't use my bullet journal because then I had to guess. Yikes!

I work on my business almost every day, but as you can see in the photo above, I missed tracking how much time I spent on my business for over a week. (Time spent on my business is the dark pink on this layout)

To use a layout like this, all you have to do is...

  1. Decide what areas of your life you want to track and pick a color for each one.
  2. Make a color code.
  3. Make a graph with the days on one side, and the time on the other side.
  4. Fill it in every day!

This layout is obviously not as accurate as the time log, but it will give you a broad picture of what your day looks like. Plus, I can see that I have more free time than I thought I did!

5 Simple Time Trackers to Get Your Life Back

4. Bar Graph Time Tracker

After using the layouts above, I decided that I wanted to track how many hours I was doing certain tasks. I was sleeping around the same amount each day, so I didn't want to track that time anymore.

I wanted to be entirely transparent with this layout, and show you that I only used it for one week. It didn't work for me. Maybe it will work for you, but it didn't work for me, and here is why.

I would lose track of what time I had already added to the bar. At the end of every day, I would put a black line through the column so I could see how much time I spent on each activity throughout the day.

This layout looks pretty, but it was definitely hard to use!

If you want to try out using this layout, here is what I recommend. Write down the minutes of how much time you spent on an activity you want to track, and then transfer it to this layout in a bar format. You could add a box at the top of this layout with that information.

5 Simple Time Trackers to Get Your Life Back

5. Time Tracker on a Weekly Layout

If you have read some of my posts about planning in my bullet journal, then you will know that I am a fan of making very minimalist weekly layouts. On a whim, I decided that I wanted to start tracking how much time I spent using technology.

While using all of the other time-trackers, I realized that I really want to spend less time on technology. It's kind of embarrassing, but as you can see, the first day I tracked my technology usage, I spent more than 8 hours online!

In my defense, I exercise for three hours on weekdays, and I use my phone for running, and my laptop for dance or HIIT most days. I also spent two hours chatting with my family online.

This layout works pretty simply, and it fixes the problems I had with the previous layout. For one thing, I only tracked technology usage, instead of multiple things, so that made it a lot easier!

To use this layout, all you need to do is...

  1. Mark the rows with the days of the week.
  2. Write down how many minutes you did the activity you are tracking daily. (It works best if you write down the time you did the activity right after you do it)
  3. At the end of the day, add up how much time you spent on the activity, and then make a bar chart if you want a visual.

Out of all of these time trackers, this has been one of the most helpful layouts to me! I made a whole layout for tracking my time on technology, but I'll be showing that to you in a future post because I'm going to write a whole post on how you can cut down on the amount of technology you are using... after I cut down on the amount of technology I'm using! Haha.

5 Simple Time Trackers to Get Your Life Back

Time is something you can't get back, so make sure you are using your time wisely! As I sit here finishing up this post on Thanksgiving morning at 7:33 in the morning, I've just realized that I've spent almost an hour and a half writing. You know what?

For me, that is time well spent because I love writing!

Here are a few quick tips on what you can do to keep up with your time trackers.

  1. Check your bullet journal multiple times a day.
  2. Keep your layouts as simple as possible.
  3. Don't track things that are unnecessary.
  4. Switch up how you track your time, so you don't get bored.
  5. If it's not working for you, it's not working for you so try a different layout.
  6. Whenever you do the activity, turn on a timer (I use the stopwatch on my watch)
  7. Don't waste time on your time-tracker. Remember it's just a productivity tool, and it shouldn't take up more time than it is worth!

Using these time trackers, you can become more aware of how you spend your time, and then you can cut out your time-wasting bad habits!

If you liked this post, you should read these ones too!

I hope reading this article was worth your time! Have a productive week!
Save this post so you can try out each time tracker!

5 Simple Time Trackers to Get Your Life Back

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