168 Hours Challenge Day 3

We are deep into the week. How are we holding up? I’m impressed with some of the time logs I’m seeing. One issue people are raising is how we can be deliberate about distractions. The truth is, we all need a break now and then. Many times, we take that break by losing hours in email, web surfing, Twitter checking, etc. Which is fine, if we’ve chosen those things. But maybe something else would do the trick too, like a short walk, coffee with a friend, etc. Here’s how my day is going:

6:30 AM – wake up, but house is quiet. Lie in bed for awhile.

6:50-7:10 feed baby

7:10 -7:20 snuggle with both kids in bed

7:20-8:10 hang out with kids and Uncle Dan

8:10-8:40 work emails, blog checking/updating challenge records, etc.

8:40-9 walk Jasper to school

9- 10:15 work (emails, scheduling new 168 hours events, etc.)

10:15-10:25 talk with husband via phone

10:25 – 11 work on random stuff…

11-11:10 shower

11:10-11:30 work (this is getting very disjointed – need to work on that). Mostly practicing speech for tonight.

11:30-11:50 – feed baby while reading Bobos in Paradise (by David Brooks)

11:50- 1pm more FB, twitter, email trying to keep on top of who is doing the challenge. Grab lunch, little bit of playing with baby, making list of time management bloggers for potential joint chat (email me if you have a suggestion).

1-1:20 – interview with Chicago Tribune

1:20-2:40 – more hunting for time management bloggers, organize books to mail off, brainstorm titles for next book

2:40-4:15 travel to and meet with co-owner of Defineum re joint projects (plus pick her brain for book titles)

4:15-4:30 pick up Jasper, walk him home

4:30-4:40 baby not terribly interested in eating.

4:40-5:20 playing with kids, then order pizza, then play with kids again

5:20 – 5:35 eat pizza

5:35-5:45 get dressed for speech

5:45-6:15 walk to In Good Company speech

6:15-8:35 speech, interact with people there, come home

8:35-9:55 hang out with Jasper. Trying to get him to go to bed. Finally succeed after letting him take cup of milk to bed (parenting FAIL)

9:55 – 10:55 back at work. Updating this blog, reading comments, reading other bloggers writing about 168 Hours, like this review from Hanging By a Thin Thread. Committing to going to sleep at 11. Will not update blog with that info.

Links to other days:

168 Hours Challenge Day 1

168 Hours Challenge Day 2

168 Hours Challenge Day 3

168 Hours Challenge Day 4

168 Hours Challenge Day 5

168 Hours Challenge Weekend Thread

168 Hours Challenge Wrap-up Thread

11 thoughts on “168 Hours Challenge Day 3

  1. Good News: Day 2 rocked! Big blocks of interrupted time transformed into creative time that I needed. I also managed to get a run in before the boys got home from school.
    Bad News: Day 3 is bits and bites of this and that and feels as though it is frittering away. Sigh. . .

    1. I too have been feeling like Day 3 has involved severe frittering. Guess I had no particular project I was aiming to finish, just some nebulous bigger stuff. Did have a few things happen. But all our hours have to be filled with something…

  2. Must be something in the air–my day felt very frittered too. This was partly because I spent a big chunk of time on something I know Laura doesn’t waste time on–cleaning out my Inbox, which was overwhelmingly cluttered after a wonderful week offline on vacation. So I don’t have anything concrete to show for that time, which is disappointing, but on the other hand, I’ve found that a cluttered Inbox is such a serious distraction for me that when it gets to that state I either spend far too much time reading emails I don’t really need to read, or I avoid checking my email for that very reason and miss time-sensitive things I really do need to read. So even though it felt like mostly wasted time today, I think it will pay off in the longer term by enabling me to be more productive the rest of the week and in weeks to come, because I tried to spend that time efficiently and with a view to avoiding the same thing happening in future, by creating more filters and by sorting to find out which lists I subscribe to but never read so I could a) delete them all en masse and b) unsubscribe from them.

    My big time-saving triumph today was doing my vocal warm-up, practicing a Handel aria, and brainstorming ideas for my next blog post all while taking a shower!

    Also, I forgot to post on Day 2 that I plan to spend some time this week or next investigating possibilities for a new computer that will save me time by not crashing constantly like my old one. Laura, as I recall, you switched from PC to Mac when you recently upgraded for the same reason. How’s that going? Is there much of a learning curve involved?

    1. Gwen: I am enjoying my new Mac. I have to get used to a few things (a separate step to save files as .doc, .xls, etc.) plus when I did a webinar the other day, I had to learn new commands on the fly because the software worked differently. But, ya know, the internet works the same.
      As for the inbox, if it makes you feel happy, then go for it!

  3. I love my mac too, Gwen. We had the crashing problem, with our PC all the time, and have never had an issue in 2 1/2 years with the Mac.

  4. Time log


    4:30 AMprayed

    4:50 read fiction book on treadmill, kept heartrate up, which is usually difficult while reading

    5:20 took in the waistbands of J’s new pajamas, repaired sleeves of hubby’s shirt, hemmed another shirt

    6am typed log at 168 Hours blog

    6:35 read 168 Hours, chapter 9

    7am shower & dress

    7:30 get V dressed for his first day of school

    7:45 make breakfast

    7:55 sit to eat– a new record! Read bible story to boys

    8:07 clean up breakfast dishes, brush teeth, put on shoes

    8:15 walk dog, kids bike & scooter to bus stop

    8:40 drive to preschool

    8:50 read a chapter of “Little Bear” to V

    9am glad I saw another mom with her camera that reminded me to take a first day photo

    9:15 research label makers (last week went to buy one and was overwhelmed by the choices)
    Get distracted by emails

    9:45 decide on a label maker–thrilled by the reviews that mention it helped their kids know where items go in the pantry, so i can now outsource that job to my boys, for a small increase in allowance!

    9:50 re-pack my waiting room tote into a backpack so I can bike to my orthodontist appt.

    10:15 arrive at orthodontist, crochet while I wait

    10:20 get called in and have impressions made for my new retainer

    10:45 bike home

    11am start tp code last week’s time log while eating snack

    11:20 leave for pickup

    11:30 p/u V Walk to car & talk, drive home

    12:00PM start lunch, plan what we’ll do this afternoon

    12:10 read to V while we wait for lunch to warm up, soak dirty oven knobs and spray range hood w/cleaner

    12:20 wipe down range hood and oven control panel

    12:25 eat lunch/read magazine

    12:50 empty dishwasher, help son find skates

    1:15 son watches Dora while I finish coding time log (takes a long time, and I added wrong somewhere, losing a whole day, but realized I spent 3 more hours on personal Core items, lowered meal planning & prep by 5 hours, and added 9 more hours with my family, but I’m missing 8 hours!!!! (maybe car time?)

    1:45 tried to find error while son sat next to me and colored
    and had a snack
    Blocked in 4 hours of professional reading for next week

    2:20 take 3 year old out so he can practice roller skating (not bad for a first time)

    3:30 get dog, go to bus stop

    3:40 walk dog while boys bike/scooter around the block

    4:00 snacks, remind 7 yr old of new rules to empty his lunchbox and backpack and put items in assigned areas

    4:15 husband is working late tonight so I am feeling tense now–meditate while boys do HW

    4:30 check email
    Forgot to start dinner on time, even though it was all prepped
    Pasta & sauce instead

    4:50 vacuum while pasta and sauce cook

    5:10 eat dinner

    5:35 do dishes etc

    5:55 finish vacuuming

    6:10 empty upstairs hall closet w/V, decide what to keep, throw out

    6:50 get V ready for bed

    7:10 finish closet

    7:45 change for dance

    8:20 excited about dance after 2 weeks off (but I did log in practice time)

    9:30 get gas for car and return home

    9:45 fritter away some time on the computer

    10:20 bed

    I have been keeping a log for 2 weeks now, your challenge was the end of that time.

    I’m finding that the act of keeping the time log is holding me accountable. I don’t want to fall back on old (easy) habits of TV etc. Now that I have a few averages for my core competencies I will keep a record of those to refer back to.

    I will log my time every few months to make sure I’m staying on track. I have started to block nearly everything into my calendar, which makes my husband laugh when we sync them.
    Random computer time is also taking away from many things, so I will have to schedule that as well. I figure if I know when I will be at the computer I can just save all the little things I need to do. (most of the time-management books i’ve read say ‘if it takes less than 2 minutes, do it right away’ but I’m learning that it’s not really efficient to be doing that.)

    As you mentioned too, I also need to be disciplined in my schedule–even though I’m in the middle of a chapter I MUST shower on time if I want to be done before the kids get up.

    Keeping the log on my iPod helped so much, especially in posting it here.


    wake up at 7 even though went ot bed at 9:30 — count this to 9 hours I need this pregnancy
    fool around on computer do 168 hours until 7:30, now going ot get on the treadmill and try ot check email and do some other work things while I walk on the treadmill.. — I prefer to run on treadmill but it is near baby’s room (maybe I should learn to run outside) and I have so much work from being in meetings all day yesterday feel I need to check some while walking on treadmill
    Neither the intensity of my workouts nor the length is to my choosing but not sure how to get more time for it
    workout on treadmill
    workout on treadmill a pretty low intensity, baby wakesup, breakfast with family
    play time breakfast with family
    o leaves with daddy for daycare, start work

    work — I did start logging some of the time at work as to what activity but then it gets away from me so I will work on that.. and just dont feel like taking time to put it here … hope I can still win the gift card !!

    still working
    work, end work, leave to pickup o, stop at bank, stop to look at swing sets, even thogh we have like 10 parks within a 15 minute walk of our house, thought with baby #2 baby 1 would play outside more with neighbors with swings out back … also toddler is not really that great about sitting in the stroller even for 15 minutes, making a stroll to the park less enjoyable than it used to be
    pickup o drive home
    arrive home play w o
    leave for NAMI meeting
    end meeting
    drive home
    arrive home play w o
    play w o
    o goes to sleep, I go to sleep! , try to read for 10 minutes but don’t get very far

  6. Thanks for the PC vs. Mac feedback, ladies. That’s so true about random computer time adding up like crazy. There was a long stretch this spring when I had no internet access at home, and it was amazing how cramming all my internet use into time spent in the library or in cafes forced me to prioritize and streamline what I did online much more than I would have at home.

    1. Gwen: Someone was actually telling me about this at my speech last night as one of their major time sucks — waiting for pages to load and computers crashing! Ugh. Technology is supposed to help us. When it doesn’t, something is wrong.

  7. We’re into Day 4 and lessons learned so far this week…. I have better days when I get an early start! This week, Monday was the only day that I was able to wake up early at 5:00 am vs. the 6:30 am I did for the last couple of days.

    I work between the hours of 7:45-2:45 +/- a few minutes, pick up the kids and am home by approx. 3:30 pm. Kids and I pray, recite Quran and I start dinner around 4:30-4:45ish.

    Dinner so far has taken an hour to cook and I have used this time to help my second daughter with her homework. There is usually an informal snack time going on and one or two children have taken showers during this time. Sometimes, the kids take showers in the morning… depending on the day. (My husband handles the kids’ morning routine and I prep for lunches, but my eldest daughter helps put it together in the morning while I’m off to work).

    This week I’ve also been trying to organize the kids fall activities and have been making a few stops to the local rec. centre /pool to pick up schedules. I’ve been leaving home around 5:45 ish to run these errands. I am thinking I will mostly schedule the activities after dinner or on the weekend… I like the afternoon at home without too much of a rush. Trying to limit the # of activities so that we are not commuting everyday!

    Dinner as a result has been around 7ish a little late. After dinner, it has been prayer time again and bed time routine which is not too long as all the kids are reading. Between 8:30-9:00 pm, I sit down at my computer in my room, after completing my bed time routine, 30 minutes of FB/Email and try to get in some study time for my online business course. What I find is by this point I am quite tired and do not have the energy as much to focus on homework etc. Hence, it is not as productive as I would like.

    I have also been a little under the weather this week with the flu and thus have been sleeping by approx. 10:30ish without a whole lot of studying done…..

    Overall, I like my afternoon with my kids, but I need to schedule more me/school time during the week and more exercise time (none so far) which I think will help with my energy levels. If I could train myself and body to sleep between 10-5 am and take advantage of an early morning to exercise and get some reading done… that would be helpful. Another task, I have not been able to do… mail out holiday (Eid) cards—I have the addresses —it’s a matter of formatting address labels and printing….(I think it would take me approx. 30-45 minutes to do—hasn’t happened yet and the actual holiday was on September 11!)

    I find that I try to squeeze little tasks such as this comment plus other personal items at work—not really good for my work schedule though!

    I’m also finding it hard to schedule blocks of time as mentioned….

    1. Sukeina: Sounds like you are learning a lot from this. That sounds like a nice way to spend your afternoons with the kids, and I agree that not trying to put too many activities in there is a good idea. It is nice to have open blocks of time for family interactions. Could you exercise with the kids in some way? Go for walks/bike rides together? Just brainstorming here…

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