Making Every Moment Count: The Science and Strategy of Time Tracking


Written by Asim Qureshi
By Asim Qureshi, CEO Jibble

Hi, I’m Asim Qureshi, the CEO and co-founder of Jibble, a cloud-based time and attendance software. I’ve always been fascinated with physics, which led me to earn my Master’s degree in the subject. Now I’m passionate about finding ways to apply that knowledge in the tech world, to come up with smart, effective time management practices. 

Time, as understood by modern physicists, is the continuous sequence of events from past to future. In physics, time is considered the fourth dimension, but philosophers have long pondered whether it might be a construct of our minds. Einstein’s theory of relativity is where things get really wacky. Einstein revolutionized our understanding of time, introducing the concept that time is not constant but relative. As we approach the speed of light, time dilates or slows down. Time also flows differently in regions of varying gravitational potential, such as near a black hole compared to on Earth. 

But even as these cosmic phenomena bend time in ways that defy our everyday experiences, it is the subjective experience of time that most directly impacts our lives. That’s where time-tracking comes in.

Tracking Subjective Time 

Time tracking is a method for recording how we spend our time. By logging our activities and the time we allocate to them, we can gain insights into our productivity patterns and identify areas to improve. 

However, the personal, subjective experience of time – how long or short moments feel, the pace at which we perceive life moving – is often overlooked in the context of time management. 

We all encounter our own form of time distortion as we go about our daily routines. Although it’s not the kind of time dilation Einstein was talking about (unless you happen to live on a spaceship that’s traveling at the speed of light), we do perceive the passage of time as fast or slow. In other words, psychological time often gets out of sync with physical time. 

Our perception of time can vary dramatically from one moment to the next, independent of the objective measure by clocks and calendars. For example, when waiting for a doctor’s appointment we find ourselves thinking “this is really dragging by”. Compare that to a night out or an exciting holiday that somehow passes by in a blink of an eye and you come to understand the old saying “time flies when you’re having fun”. 

When Time Speeds Up … 

You’d think that nowadays, with the flexibility of working remotely, we’d have more time at our disposal – both in our personal and professional lives. Yet somehow we still feel there isn’t enough time to do everything. We look back on our day and wonder, “Where did all the time go?” 

Time feels like it’s flying by when the neurons in our brain fire at an accelerated rate. During these moments, the brain processes more events within an interval. This heightened activity can occur during intense periods of focus, excitement, or anxiety, where our senses are hyper-stimulated, and we’re absorbing information at a rapid pace. 

However, we have more control over our perception of time than we realize. By tracking time and being intentional with how we spend it we can effectively “slow” it down. Learning skills and processing new information can help us experience time at a rate where it doesn’t feel like it’s always running away from us.

When Time Slows Down …

When we form memories and process new information, our perception of time can slow down. This explains why time seems to speed up as we age – we form fewer memories as we get older, so time feels like it’s flying by. 

Time slows down when we’re bored. As the long hours stretch by, our heightened awareness of the passage of time makes every minute feel longer. In some ways, a slow day can be beneficial. We might feel like we complete more work, feel more relaxed, and take a more measured approach to the task at hand. However, a slow day can also mean we’re not fully immersed in our work or we’re constantly getting distracted. 

We can counter this effect with time tracking, just as we can intentionally slow down subjective time when everything feels too hectic. Here’s how: 

How Time Tracking Shapes Our Perception of Time

Time tracking is an invaluable tool to make every second count, whether your typical day at work is hectic and fast-paced or slow and tedious. Time tracking software offers insights into how your time is spent and how to manage it more effectively. Beyond that, time tracking is a powerful tool that can shape our perception of time in several ways:

  • Being Fully in the Present: Time-tracking encourages us to be present and fully engaged with the task at hand. This concentration not only improves the quality of our work but controls the pace of our day at a manageable rate.
  • Feeling a Sense of Purpose and Control: Time-tracking allows us to make intentional choices about how we spend our time so that every moment is devoted to something meaningful and rewarding. Instead of feeling like time is constantly slipping away from us and events are beyond our control, we can consciously decide how to use our time. 
  • Motivation to Use Time Wisely: Timesheets are tangible evidence of our work progress. They are a source of motivation, encouraging us to allocate our time wisely. Reviewing them reinforces our belief that time can pass at a manageable rate and is within our control. 
  • Empowerment Through Self-Discipline: Time-tracking is an exercise in self-discipline, requiring us to set boundaries and stick to them. This discipline is empowering, as it demonstrates our ability to commit to our plans and follow through, without time slipping away from us. 
  • Reducing Anxiety About “Lost” Time: One of the greatest benefits of time-tracking is its ability to alleviate the anxiety that comes with feeling like time is slipping away unutilized. Having a clear record of how we’ve spent our time helps to mitigate feelings of guilt or regret over “lost” time. Looking ahead, we feel reassured that time will pass at a slow enough rate.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that time tracking isn’t about working longer hours, it’s about adopting a mindset of continuous growth and improvement. By being in the present moment and minimizing distractions, you are not only boosting productivity but also mastering your internal clock, taking control of your workday and making every moment count.