Create a Consumption Ledger

Are you feeling unproductive? Here's a simple strategy to try organizing time to understand how productive you are.

. 2 min read. Goals.

I’m always trying to find ways to be more productive. Tracking time, creating todo lists and monthly goal planning are all ways that require quite a bit of attention and forethought to implement. One much more simple strategy is to create a consumption ledger. Here’s how it works.

Find a timer app – it could be in the cloud or locally on your most used device. I recommend Toggl which is free and can be used from any device. There’s also a handy Mac app I really like for it.

Create two timers – one called consumption and one called creation. If you’re consuming (however you define the term) use that timer, and if you’re creating have that one running. That’s it.

What is Consumption? What is Creation?

I define consumption to be anytime I’m passively watching or taking in entertainment or news that’s been created by someone else. This includes watching TV, movies, browsing reddit or forums and just about any website that’s not for research purposes. I don’t include books in this group.

For creation, I consider it anytime I’m building something up. From researching to programming to writing and editing.

These two categories don’t cover all hours in the day, and they’re not supposed to. If something isn’t clearly in one of these categories I don’t track it. Chores, organizing, planning, socializing, transportation, eating (ironically), work, sleep and walking Lily around the nearby lake are all some of the things that aren’t tracked and don’t fit into either category.

Review After a Week

After trying this for a week, review what your ratio between these was. Did you consume far more than you created? Or create far more than you consume? Did you feel stressed this week by your choice? Maybe you could make a change next week to find a better balance. There is no “right” ratio for everyone – but finding one that lets you feel happy, healthy and productive can be a breath of relief.


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