How to Be Your Own Taskmaster: Tracking Inputs and Outputs

We all do it at some point – get off course. Whatever you might be working at or trying to work at, we get distracted and blown way off course. Perhaps it was a totally legitimate emergency. Maybe it was another important matter that required your attention. Quite often, though, it is us sabotaging ourselves. We either do it by convincing ourselves that something else is more important. Or we distract ourselves with YouTube or social media. Or we allow other people's priorities to supplant our own. We've all been there.

What is needed is course correction - pointing the nose of our ship back to the way we were trying to go in the first place. For me personally, my course correction has been about becoming my own task master again – intentionally choosing to do the the things that I want/need to do, and keeping on top of myself.

 

Inputs

In the busyness of a new semester, some extra responsibilities at home and at church, I began to pay far less attention to my inputs. What are my inputs?

  1. Sleep. I intentionally relax on my schedule during the summer, but come fall I'm usually pretty good at getting to bed at a decent hour, and not shying away from a quick nap at my desk to recharge mid-day. I did not keep on top of myself.
  2. Eats. I track my food on MyFitnessPal app. In the busyness of August, I slacked off and slowly stopped doing this all together. No surprise then that my eating has gotten worse, and while I am still losing weight, it has slowed to an unacceptable pace. And the increase in sugar in my diet has affected my stamina and quality of sleep.
  3. Spiritual Food. Because of my bad sleeping habits, my morning routine has been erratic. This is my main time to focus on my priorities and set my heart toward God.
  4. Exercise. The number of times a week I have been exercising decreased to unacceptable levels. And YES this is an input, not an output. Exercise increases your energy, stamina, and mental focus.

It really is incredible to me how inter-connected everything is. My eating affected my sleeping, which affected my morning routine, which affected my exercise. And once things were out of balance, I was off course. And this affected my output.

 

Outputs

A big part of my morning routine is placing priority on tasks that need to be done during the day which are directly connected to my bigger goals. One of the easiest ways for me to tell if I've been to simply look at my ToDo app (The Hit List) and see everything I've checked off. But neglecting to do that meant that I wasn't attacking each day with a plan.

Another thing I stopped doing was keeping an actual track of my time. I use a great free app called Toggl to keep on top of myself, so that I can look back and see what I did during the day. And if I see gaps in my timesheets, it is likely that I was slacking off. (Right now, the Toggl timer is set to "blogging").

 

However you decide to keep track, if you want to be productive, on task, and on course, you need a way to keep on top of yourself. Track your inputs and outputs, and you'll find yourself more focused and productive. Be your own TaskMaster!

 

photo credit: Outlet says oh via photopin (license)
Posted by Danny Zacharias.
Posted on October 27, 2015 and filed under Productivity.