Create / Consume 6 Month Update


As I previously mentioned, I’ve started tracking my time in an attempt to spend more time creating than consuming. Since my initial foray into the challenge, I’ve made some adjustments to my process and have a lot more data.

I’ve shared my analysis in the presentation below, and you can find some of my key insights from the slides “after the jump.”

Key Insights & Actions

Here are some interesting insights and actions I want to take as a result of the analysis of the way I’ve spent time over the last six months.


  • In my first month of tracking (July), I only tracked 21% of my total time. By December, I tracked 89% of my total time.
  • I slept an average of 7.7 hours per night.
  • I spent almost 2x more time creating than consuming.
  • My biggest form of consumption is browsing the Internet (Reddit, ESPN, Facebook).
  • I’m most productive between 10am and 8pm. I consume the most between 10pm and 2am.


  1. Stop hitting snooze.
  2. Increase my creation slightly. Reduce my sleep slightly.
  3. Focus more on business building elements, not just writing and performing.
  4. Spend more time reading for pleasure.
  5. Try to follow a rough schedule of Sleep (2am-10am), Create (10am-10pm), Consume (10pm-2am).

To learn more or to try setting up your own challenge, check out the Create / Consume blog.

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Tom the time tracking tool expert :) March 17, 2014, 9:07 am

    Really inspiring article. Really like that you track all your time. It is the only way to really know what you do.
    I’d recommend TimeSheet Reporter (, which makes it possible to track time via Outlook, and also via web and smartphones.


  • Nicolas January 10, 2013, 8:54 am

    Well, i also think you should not reduce your sleep. What you should do is find the optimum sleeping time you need. Some people need 7, some need 9.
    One way to do this is to try to wake up ‘naturally’ and see after how many hours that happened.
    Tracking your time during 6 months is great… how did you do it exactly? I read a bit the several posts, included in Consume/Create blog, but couldnt find anything… RescueTime? Evernote? I am also thinking of doing the same!

    • Andrew Tarvin January 10, 2013, 12:34 pm

      Nicolas–Good point about waking up naturally. I may have to try that for a period of time and see how long I sleep (plus it’s a guaranteed way not to hit snooze since no alarm is involved!).

      As for tracking, I first started with Excel. I would work for a bit and then go into Excel and enter the activity with a start and stop time. It’s not exact but it gets pretty close (you just have to remember to do it). At the 3 month mark I switched to toggl. It’s an online site where you can setup different “projects” and either hit start / stop for activities, or enter them after they’ve been completed.

      You can also use an app on your SmartPhone. Toggl has an app created using HTML5 for Android or iPhone, and Matt used the iPhone app Eternity for all of his tracking.

      The biggest key for me was making sure that I made all of my entries by the end of the day at a minimum. Trying to remember what I did yesterday and when I did it is a lot less accurate than doing it before I go to bed.

  • peter parker January 9, 2013, 1:17 pm

    a thought – sleep should be considered an outlier excluded from your dataset, since it’s a necessity and skews your data. perhaps only include sleep as an activity when it is over a 7.5 hour/night allotment.

    and actually, you should be optimizing your sleep not based on hourly limits, but REM cycles. there are a number of interesting apps/tools that help here. or you could just do what Kramer did (but you run the risk of any “visiting female” dumping you in the Hudson)

    • Andrew Tarvin January 10, 2013, 12:26 pm

      Spiderman, you’re right that it skews the data, which is why I really only looked at it for the overall analysis (mostly because I was interested in how long I was sleeping). One thing I didn’t do was look at productivity vs sleep, which might be interesting to see if there’s any correlation.

      REM tracking would be interesting, I’ll have to look more at the possible tools and consider including them in the future. Would getting dumped in the Hudson be consumption?

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