Forge Career Course

Forge Course Day 1: Tracking Your Time

Today, we’ll focus on time — including all the ways you spend and squander it — to design your ideal day

Illustration: Julia Moburg

This is day one of a five-day course on finding what you’re meant to do. Read our introduction post, which includes an overview of each day.

The writer Zadie Smith once said, “Time is how you spend your love,” and I believe this to be true. Before you start your journey to rediscover your purpose, you’ll need to take a step back and evaluate how you’ve been spending your precious minutes each day.

This means looking at where or with whom you place your energy and how you want to spend your time in the future. Our lives don’t radically change just because we want them to. We all carry around bad habits and routines like luggage sets. The important thing is that we’re aware of what we’re carrying so that we can take small steps to build the habits, routines, and mindsets that align with our purpose and goals.

You might feel like you don’t have time to analyze how you’ve been spending your time, but let me share with you some wisdom from money maven Patrice Washington, who said this in an episode of her podcast, What’s Still Possible:

What if you took out your calendar right now and really planned and really put aside the hours that you needed. If you work nine to five and are tired at night, I get it. But you can’t put 30 minutes a night towards doing something very focused that will move you forward? You spend more time than that scrolling on social media, looking at things that disrupt your peace, so I know you have time. It’s not about finding it; it’s about making it.

Tracking your time will require focus and discipline. Let’s get to it. In each day of this course, the real work will happen in the worksheets linked under “today’s exercises.” It’s helpful to print them out and complete them in a quiet spot away from your screen. Once you’re done, return to this page for an extra dose of inspiration and more resources for digging even deeper.

Today’s exercises

Get inspired

Try a “one for them, one for me” approach

Brand designer and illustrator Krista Elvey shares her strategy for protecting her time: “Balance is everything,” she says. “I’ve come to embrace a ‘one for them, one for me’ mentality. The struggle between chasing your wildest, weirdest creative impulses and paying your bills is very real. So, I always try to balance every case of high-intensity client-led work with a project that pays next to nothing but is dictated entirely by me, for me.”

Go deeper

  • Read: Cal Newport’s Deep Work and James Clear’s Atomic Habits.
  • Listen: Erik Fisher’s Beyond the To-Do List podcast is about balance — how to do great work and live a good life.
  • Learn: Watch the free Time Tracking webinar from Being Boss (email required).

Marketing Exec/Author. I build brands & tell stories. Work in Human Parts, OneZero, Forge, Index & Marker. Hire me: t.ly/bEnd7 Brand & Content eBooks: t.ly/ZP5v

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