After recently reading ‘Off The Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done’ (who doesn’t love a good personal development book?), I got interested in the idea of time tracking. The author, Laura Vanderkam, encourages readers to track how they spend their time, in 15-minute increments for at least two weeks.
The idea is to figure out WHERE your time is ACTUALLY going. We’ve all been guilty of the “I don’t have time” excuse. But do we REALLY not have time? Or are we just spending our time inefficiently?
As a self-employed escort, I only get paid for face-to-face time with clients. Before I started this experiment, I knew that my job entailed other things – I reply to enquiries, set up and clean my workroom for bookings, travel to hotels, do laundry, file my taxes, update my advertisements and website, etc. But I had NO IDEA how much time I spent doing these things.
So the idea of time-tracking intrigued me. I wanted to know where on earth my 168 hours went each week.
I committed to a month of time-tracking. At first, I felt as though tracking every 15-minutes was overkill and would take up half my day. But after the first day, it became a habit. Every few hours, I would check-in and record what I had done using the calendar app on my iPhone. It took no time at all.
At the end of the month, I was shocked at my findings.
I found that for every hour I spent face-to-face with a client, I spent another hour doing other work-related tasks. This means for every hour I got paid, I spent another hour working WITHOUT getting paid.
This means my hourly rate is essentially HALF of what is advertised (not even taking into account my expenses and taxes). This was really shocking to me, and I’m surprised that I’ve never paid more attention to this disparity.
Even more interesting was that I felt that tracking my time made me more efficient. I used to fall prey to post-incall slump syndrome (you know, when you lay down on your incall bed after a booking and spend an embarrassing amount of time scrolling through Twitter rather than cleaning up).
But tracking my time stopped this behaviour immediately – I didn’t want to have to write down that I had wasted an hour doing nothing. I procrastinated less and completed work (outside of bookings) more quickly. I would hate to think what my hourly rate would have worked out to be BEFORE implementing time-tracking. And I’d hate to think of what my hourly rate would have worked out to be before I deleted all my work social media! I used to spend SO much time scrolling and interacting with clients (and for what? A lower hourly rate? No thanks).
I also felt as though I discovered a secret cheat-code to earn more for working less. Now that I KNOW how many hours I spend doing work outside of bookings, I can monitor this number, and REDUCE it. Reducing time spent doing administrative tasks will automatically INCREASE my hourly rate – I’ll be getting paid the same amount to work LESS.
Give time-tracking a try. It doesn’t have to be a big production. Create a separate calendar on your phone and plug in your data every few hours. You might be surprised at what you find.
Photo by Unsplash.
Disclaimer: I cannot, and do not, speak for all sex workers. I speak from my experience of working in a legal brothel and as an independent escort in Australia. Where possible I try to be inclusive. However, I can’t relay every experience of sex work – especially if I haven’t experienced it myself. This blog is for entertainment purposes only.