Time charts are a great tool for organization and planning, whether you're planning your workday, a project lasting many months or even the daily events in your family's life. There's no single format for a time chart, but most charts start with a matrix -- a grid with one axis representing time, while the other axis lists events or steps in a process, the chronological waypoints of your planning. Basic time charts can be simply created on graph paper, or more elaborately within spreadsheet software.
Things You'll Need
- Spreadsheet software
Open a new file in your spreadsheet program. Microsoft Excel is a common business spreadsheet application, while OpenOffice Calc and Google Docs provide similar features and are available for free.
Enter your first time or date reference in cell B1. This example uses a horizontal time axis, but your time chart could use a vertical time axis, if that suits your needs. Enter your next time or date reference in cell C1 and continue to the right as needed. For example, you may enter hours in a day, days of the week, weeks in the month or months in a year -- whatever works best for the period your time chart covers.
Enter the first event or process step in cell A2, and continue listing these below, in cell A3 and beyond, as needed. For example, if you are organizing your family's schedule, you may list events such as, "Sally's soccer," "Max's baseball," and "Mom's book club" in the first column.
Locate the cell that corresponds to time and event. Using the family schedule example, "Mom's book club," entered in cell A4, may occur every Wednesday, which plots as D1, K1, and so on, every seventh day. In cell D4, you may enter the time of the event, or choose to color the cell to indicate a busy time.
Continue adding events or process steps, identifying and resolving conflicts as these arise. You may wish to use additional pages within a single spreadsheet for future planning. You can also format and print out pages for sharing with co-workers or posting on the fridge door.
Tips & Warnings
- Entering data into your time chart gives you a basis to create time graphs and other analytical tools. Gantt charts, for example, are a time chart style frequently used in project management to display activity against time.
- Photo Credit kemaltaner/iStock/Getty Images
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