168 Hours Challenge Day 4

Finally, I am posting the Challenge thread! 168 Hours is the subject of Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project blog post today (head over there to read about my magazine addiction). I have been feeling a bit out of sorts this AM, partly because I am hashing out the title and angle for my next book. While this is exciting, it is hard to judge whether an hour spent doing this is “productive.” It feels more like “banging my head against the wall.” Anyway, congrats to Sam, who was the winner of yesterday’s drawing (Melanie, the winner of the previous day’s drawing, already had a copy, so it went back into the pot). Please keep me posted on your time logs, and anything you are learning from this exercise.

5:55 AM – Yes, that is what the clock said when the baby started hollering this morning.

5:55-6:20 – feed baby in bed in dark in hopes he will go back to sleep. Nope.

6:20-8:10 – full on kid-dom.

8:10-8:40 – short run. Nice day for it, but not too much energy, and had to cut it short due to Jasper’s mandated 9AM school start. Need to re-think how to pull that off.

8:40-9 – bring J to school

9am – 1pm – banging head against wall (see above). Actually, this can be broken into chunks of re-posting the Happiness Project interview different places, sending blogger names over to The Motherhood for a potential time management live chat, posting about a board game called IQ Fun Park over at Gifted Exchange (my education blog), with brief breaks for showering, feeding the baby, and making a snack. In between these things, however, I was brainstorming book angles, sometimes while checking Facebook and Twitter (never know when an idea will pop up there!) and reading Bobos in Paradise.

1pm-2pm – go for walk, grab lunch at Subway. I’m going to call this work time, however, as I was thinking about book angles the whole time.

2pm-3:10 – work, blog, etc.

3:10-3:30 – fall asleep. Seriously.

3:30-4 – feed baby, play with baby

4-5 – work on book positioning

5-5:20 Listen online to Job Talk Radio, before realizing I am supposed to be calling in, not waiting for their call.

5:20-5:35 Radio interview, Job Talk Radio

5:35-6 – wrapping up workday with emails on book positioning, etc. Supposed to be going to building party tonight but it is raining like mad, so unsure if that is still on.

6-6:45 – play with kids, get them dinner

6:45-7:30 – go to building end-of-summer party. Unfortunately, since it’s raining, they hold this on indoor pool deck. Herding 3-year-old and baby around in crowded space with open pool is nerve-wracking. We stay just long enough for me to grab food and them to get balloon dogs from the clown (who both scares and fascinates Jasper)

7:30-8 – putting Sam to bed, bottle, try to muster will to let him cry it out

8-8:20 – go back in to soothe him

8:20-9 hang out with Jasper, lie down on bed for a bit

9-9:30 on and off conversation with Michael, bad phone connection

9:30-9:45 – get Jasper down, read Jungle Drums and Babar

9:45 – finishing up this blog, will try to be in bed by 10pm.

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

9 thoughts on “168 Hours Challenge Day 4

  1. My blocks of time did not get used for what I had intended today. Trying to realize that using my time wisely does not mean that I have to be productive. And sometimes what you do instead of what you planned to do might have more meaning. Does that make sense?

  2. Wednesday: Wake up at 7:30, work at 8am. Cover register and pasta for the entire time.

    10:02 clock out.
    10:02-10:05 walk to CPA.
    10:05-10:20 work on resume
    10:20-10:30 Walk to Hoyt
    10:30-10:45 get resume critiqued
    10:45-10:50 walk to Peabody
    10:50-11:15 work on homework waiting for class
    11:15-12:30 class time, actually worked the whole time
    12:30-12:45 walk to class
    12:45-2:00 class time, learned about different buildings
    2:00-2:10 walk to Peabody again
    2:15-3:10 talk about persuasion with my english class
    3:10-3:20 walk to CPA
    3:20-4:10 observe music class i’m assisting
    4:10-4:13 run to class that starts at 4:10
    4:13-5:30 learn about the electronic style of music with rep
    5:30-5:32 awlk to Scott
    5:32-5:50 eat dinner with Luke
    5:50-6:00 go to apartment
    6:00-7:00 take a nap
    7:00-7:15 walk to rush party
    7:15-7:30 set up for party
    7:30-9:30 host wonderful party
    9:30-12:30 work on homework (with some facebooking in the midst)
    12:30-9:00 sleep
    9-10:20 play around on the computer, enjoy some free time, get some homework done, wake up, etc
    10:22 catch the bus
    10:30-10:45 eat breakfast at Shriver
    10:45-10:55 walk to Boyd
    10:55-11:15 talk to people about how awful this class is
    11:15-12:30 have awful class, including a pop quiz
    12:30-12:45 walk to Bachelor
    12:45-2:00 go over more projects
    2:00-2:05 walk to Presser (I realize I walk much faster when I’m not walking with someone else)
    2:05-2:15 check up on email etc
    2:15-3:30 spend the entire time with my teacher trying to decipher Sibelius
    3:30-5:00 practice steel band
    5:00-5:30 walk to shriver and eat dinner with Erin
    5:30-6:40 Career Fair training session (Can you tell I’m worried?)
    6:40-7:00 drive car (my coworker’s) back to apartment to grab phone that I forgot all day and drive back
    7:00-7:15 talk to Erin for a little bit
    7:15-7:30 walk to PResser, sit with other and wait for steel band to start
    7:30-9:30 steel band
    9:30-10:14 get a ride home, then mess around on the computer. No classes tomorrow 🙂

    1. Andrea: Much resume and career fair time! Yes, it is not exactly a low-stress time to be looking for a job. And the problem with such activities is that it’s hard to know what exactly is productive and what is not. It’s only clear in retrospect what actually led to a job offer and what did not. When I was on Job Talk Radio yesterday, I talked a little bit about that — about setting clear goals of doable steps. You can’t put down “get a job” as a weekly goal because to some degree this isn’t entirely in your hands. But you can get 3 critiques of a resume, drop 20 resumes at a career fair, go on 3 informational interviews, call 5 “grown-up” contacts for leads, etc. I felt like that when I was originally trying to get a book deal for 168 Hours. It took 18 months. I know now what mattered and what didn’t, but those are certainly a random string of things that seemed to matter!

  3. THURSDAY
    Goals: get GSA info to michelle
    send advocacy emaila bout involuntary commitment
    50 cold calls -Trenton Authority, Museum,
    pickup phone, meet with collections guy
    About 2 of these goals met today…

    wake up make hot chocolate, do 168 hours log
    get on treadmill, got in 1 hour and two episodes of general hospital at 9 incline which is over 400 calories..

    end workout

    At 9:30 leave to get cell ph one left at meeting lat night, stop at starbucks,

    work on advocacy email for non profit consulting on involuntary commitment hearing in trenton
    3 hours total work on this

    15 minute phone chat with friend on drive home from non profit
    meeting over retirement planning

    work
    work
    work, send estimate to state
    work
    eat pizza with hubby
    work
    work
    work
    work, stop work at 5:45
    eat dinner w oriana just me and her nice
    play, visit neighbors
    take grandma to sign up for english class w o
    play with water fountains at school walk around school
    come home, papa gives oriana a bath while I do time log, trying ot figure out how to better use time when daddy grabs child
    end time log.. Going to try to go back to work for a bit to send proposal from meeting yesterday
    do not do work, do 1/2 hour of putting dirty clothes in hamper, hanging clothes up, make myselsf snakc, put on pajamas, maybe less than 1/2 hour?
    star work while o watches tv w daddy, get no work done
    play w o
    play w o
    o goes to bed
    go to sleep

    1. Cara: Wow, 50 cold calls seems ambitious! I too am trying to figure out how best to use the hours when Daddy has the kids. Work? Exercise? Chill? Hard to know. Definitely not for cleaning the house.

  4. THURSDAY
    5AM sleep
    5:30 sleep
    6 wake up before alarm, pee, go back to sleep
    6:30 sleep
    7 try to meditate
    7:30 get up, make tea, steam sinuses, put away dishes, organize bills, look at vacation photos–all while computer boots up!
    8 make bed & brush hair, while listening to The Archers, try & fail to disable or remove ads that have suddenly appeared on My Yahoo page, complain to Customer Care about this
    8:30 update Facebook & Yahoo status, reply to post on business FB page, read & reply to emails w/ urgent-sounding subject lines
    9 make & eat breakfast, read 168 Hours blog & post comment
    9:30 check ingredient list for upcoming BBQ while waiting for computer to unfreeze, jot down ideas for future blog posts
    10 write fiction
    10:30 check Google Alerts on my business name, remind friend to post promised comment on my feng shui blog, read & comment on another friend’s blog, re-post it on FB & add it to my dashboard
    11 respond to feng shui query & encourage inquirer to post question on my FB page and blog, jot down more ideas for future blog posts
    11:30
    12PM check in with friend who offered to give feedback on synopsis to accompany query letters for my mystery novel manuscript
    12:30 make & eat lunch
    1 re-forward bounced-back email to boss at church gig with additional queries, online research for next fiction project
    1:30 announce launch of my feng shui website & blog on LinkedIn alumni groups & post links
    2 read feng shui-related online article forwarded by friend & re-post on feng shui FB page
    2:30 online research for fiction project, answer email from boss at church gig
    3 email brother thank-you note for birthday gifts & ask him for advice on choosing new computer
    3:30 online fiction research, put away dishes, dinner prep
    4 vocal practice while washing hair
    4:30 get dressed & get stuff together for rehearsal while listening to part of BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play
    5 batten down hatches against tornado, have dinner while watching M*A*S*H
    5:30
    6 wash dishes, brush teeth, email friends
    6:30 read while traveling to rehearsal
    7
    7:30 choir rehearsal
    8
    8:30
    9 grocery shopping for my building’s block party & BBQ on Saturday while returning phone call from friend wondering whether I’d survived the tornado
    9:30
    10 read while traveling home
    10:30
    11 chat with upstairs & downstairs neighbors
    11:30 talk down roommate having work-related meltdown
    12AM reassure folks via email that I survived the tornado & trip home
    12:30 go to bed
    1 sleep
    1:30
    2
    2:30
    3
    3:30
    4
    4:30

    Not sure how much time I spent figuring out how to use the spreadsheet–hopefully not too much! Am realizing I have a sort of mental disconnect where I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything if I do lots of little bits of different things all day, because for some reason I assume I need huge stretches of uninterrupted time to get things done–when in fact the opposite is true! Even if I had as much time as I needed all at once to complete a big project, I’d never be able to focus on it for that long anyway, so I actually get much more done incrementally by switching back and forth between all the different things I’m juggling in short bursts. Tracking it all reminds me to keep switching it up like this and helps me to keep in perspective that even though I may not finish any particular project on a given day, I’m still moving steadily forward on lots of things.

    1. Gwen:
      Good to know that about the little bits of time here and there. I am getting more distracted than I like, though I do see that some big things are getting done. As I say, there’s no point being busy just to be busy.

  5. Hi Laura!
    One thing I find is that if it is on my to do list as a goal it IS more likely to get done but that I am a bit disorganized about being reflective enough to get the stuff down.. so then I just start tackling different things randomly, still working but not the most efficient way… this weekend we have a b day party (my kids first invitation to a “peer” bday party so I am excited) and we are going to friendly’s to see the other grandma and to a mall about 1 hour a way, and on sunday we doing gymnastics class makeup and maybe that apple-picking idea is a good one we have a place here that makes it into a whole thing on weekends with a band and stuff.. but since the weather is good … it IS also nice to just relax .. I’m debating spenidng $500 on a swing set for the backyard.. should I just go for it?

    My husband takes the kid very whimsically so like it isn’t planned and I have trouble going back to work at night after I stop, late bedtimes and I usually don’t stop until 6 so maybe this would be better time used reading a book or doing something I don’t have to commit to as much. like your post about that 15 or 30-minute window this a.m. not being enough time to get into anything.. that is my issue with 1/2 hour when hubby grabs child.

    1. Cara- an interesting question on the swingset. If you think it will make you guys happy then yes, go for it. You could also check Craigs list and see if anyone is dumping one — it’s the kind of thing people buy, use for 3-4 years when their kids are the right age, then no longer need, so there may be a market in used ones, esp if you could get a truck to pick it up.
      As for the 30 minute window – I probably need to change up my childcare schedule/work schedule with that in mind. I could decide to not bring Jasper to school, but it’s kind of our special time right now. I have been using it to run, but I really have to go fast to get in my 3.5 mile route in the 35-40 minutes I can get. (Ok, fast is relative. Others might not find that so challenging!)

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