The Answer to “Where Has the Time Gone?”

So if you are like me you’ve seen it many times before, you probably saw it today, and will most likely see it tomorrow.

On any given day as you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed you’ll see that photo of the child or grandchild’s birthday, the anniversary photo, or the special occasion that was celebrated years ago. I love that part. I enjoy learning about my friends and family through their photos. The photos are obviously important to them so I take a few moments to look, read, and learn from the memories they shared. I celebrate from afar and hope that they are enjoying the memories as they recall the good times.

Yet, more often than not I also find myself cringing anytime I read that all too familiar caption of “Where has the time gone?”. I know, it may sound a bit harsh to dislike a caption of someone’s memories but it is the truth. In fact, I think there are many sayings, phrases, statements, and questions we overuse or simply use because we don’t take the time to really think of anything else to say. Or better yet, I don’t think most of us really think about the answer to such a question.

So for the question, “Where has the time gone?” I ask you, where does your time go?

I don’t think our parents, at least not mine, or my grandparents would have been able to truly answer that question in detail. Sure, they could have broken down their life in decades or seasons of life like I did in my previous three posts. But, they could have never told you how many hours they spent in front of a TV, or in the car, or in a classroom, or how many miles they drove in any give month. The only way they could have done any of that was if they were meticulous record keepers. I don’t know about your parents or grandparents but I know none of mine were. And the truth is most of us today are no better.

What we do have today are all of our internet connected devices that help us keep those metrics. That includes everything from the smartphone in your pocket, to the step tracker & heart rate monitor on your wrist, to the small device you have plugged into your car to track mileage and the engine health of your vehicle.

Wait, what? You don’t have all of those smart gadgets? You will. If, today, all you have is a smartphone then you are light years ahead of anything your parents had. But how are those gadgets telling us where the time has gone? Well if you haven’t used any of the native applications that use the data collected from those gadgets then here is one I use that helps aggregate all that data providing me a much better answer to the question, “where does all my time go?”

But first, a little background. A couple of years ago I followed a blogger that shared how he kept his own data analytics that he shared on his website. Since this blogger, Jamie Todd Rubin, is also skilled in software code he created his own open analytics page. As I read about Jamie’s page I somehow found and started to follow Anand Sharma who also shared his daily analytics but at a whole different level. His beautiful site at really had me drooling to be able to do the same. Unfortunately, for me, I can’t write a piece of code if my life depended on it. Things changed when Anand started developing which offers similar functionality as his personal site. I started to follow Anand on Twitter and soon I found myself as a beta user and then eventually as a Pro user. Today I enjoy the online dashboard, the iOS app, and most recently the Chrome extension that all present in various ways where my time goes. The site of course also displays my sleep patterns, the miles I drive, my heartbeat, and much more.

So, where does my time go? For now, I’ll share a quick screenshot of how things break down and then in the future I’ll provide a more detailed overview of the dashboard and app.

Gyroscope Dashboard

At a quick glance you can see that in September I drove 69 hours, walked 11 hours, spent about 137 hours at the two office buildings, and that’s just the beginning. With the help of a little bit of technology, it is easy to see “where the time goes”. And that doesn’t even include the breakdown of the activities at work, or home. All of which is also being captured so I can continue to audit myself and really figure out where my time goes.

So? Do you know “where your time goes?”