Barcelos Knows Quidditch: Track Your Time!

Tracking the time I spend on projects is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. It’s one thing to feel like you’re spending a lot of time on something, but it’s another thing entirely to quantify it into cold hard math.

I meant to do this when I was living the two team life, I meant to do when I was managing the Argonauts, but I never did. The last thing I wanted was another administrative task, especially one that I didn’t feel was necessary.

I regret that now. I wish I could say how much time I spent on those things, but I can only guess. But now that I’m trying to prove that a tournament director’s time and work are valuable and worth paying for, it’s time to back it up with evidence.

Last week’s timecard

Not every week is the same. Last week was pretty relaxed, actually. No fires to put out, no emergencies. Just a few administrative tasks a lot of laying down the groundwork for my October and November tournaments.

BKQ Timecard Sept 9-15

I’m lucky that my day job is flexible enough that I can answer messages and emails without having my workday derailed. My hours are also pretty flexible, which means that I can work on my own projects during the day and schedule my work around them. But still, seeing that I spent over six hours in a week that I’d call quiet? That’s almost a whole extra work day.

Where does the time go?

When I decided to track my time, I meant every single TD related task. I’ve always set aside a few hours during the week to work on things that need a longer period of time to finish. Tracking that was easy.

Remember to write down how much time I spent every time I fielded questions outside of those hours set aside for longer tasks was the hardest part of my week. Answer a message? That takes me anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour, because I want to give people accurate information and I don’t always have it at hand. So I expected those little moments to add up. Of the almost six and a half hours I spent on TD tasks, those little messages and emails outside of designated TD time took up over an hour when lumped together.

On that note, the burden of feeling that I have to be constantly available is draining. Not every question needs an immediate answer, but striking the balance between unplugging my brain without feeling like I’m ignoring people is tricky for me. Last week was a pretty draining one for me because of things you won’t see on this timecard, so I intentionally didn’t open my email or messages. (I did peek at previews to see if anything was urgent, but I won’t count that.) Everyone needs time to unwind and recharge.

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