I spent last week logging my time. As always it was an enlightening experience. Time passes whether we consciously choose how to fill our hours or not, and so keeping track of our time shows us a lot about the architecture of our lives.
What did it show me? Well, first, I really like my life! Over the course of writing 168 Hours, I learned to choose a small number of priorities that I wanted to fill my life with first. These are my family, my writing, running and my choir. I spent a reasonable number of hours on all these things last week. There was room for improvement of course. I ran 4 days (rather than the 5-6 I should have). I spent more time dealing with email about my writing than delving into long-term projects. But that’s partly because I’m in the gray area of waiting for the last round of edits on my next book manuscript. Keeping a time log reminded me about setting work priorities each day and then blocking them in to the times when I’m most focused.
Figuring out better ways to use the time I’m with my kids has also been a challenge for me. I was a single mom for much of last week (albeit a single mom with a ton of help – so a slightly more tolerable situation). My kids do not sleep. Oh, they sleep through the night (though not on Friday – ugh!). But a “night” can be 10pm-6am, like a grown-up. This means that I spend time with them in the morning and in the fairly lengthy evening. We can all sit at home, but this has a tendency to devolve into my kids begging for television shows. During mornings, I can keep them occupied with toys and books. But 4 hours at night is a long time. Last week we took a trip to the pool and the playground, and those evenings went a lot more quickly. It’s a reminder to do what I know I should: plan my family time. So I’m working on thinking through that for other nights as well.
What have you learned by logging your time?
5 thoughts on “168 Hours Challenge Wrap-Up Thread”
you just reminded me that I wanted to start my time log today. I wanted a ‘regular’ week, as opposed to a holiday. I like the new format of “just a minute’. I have already made my list of summer ideas, and will ask my kids to do the same this week, then we’ll see what we have in common and put those at the top of the list.
The pool is a godsend! Most kids in childcare are up later than those who are home with a parent b/c of the napping or at least quiet time they get state-mandated during the day … the good news is you can put in quite a few hours with them and still work a 45 hour week. The bad news is there isn’t time for much personal meandering, or down time other than the scheduled — for example I don’t read magazines unscheduled and neither do most of my friends who work and have young kids… but I like your philosophy and ideas for making it all fit and just focusing on the most important. Weight loss and exercise are on my list and by making them a priority they do happen you do just have to be careful about how many priorities you have.
my time log revealed that i spent over 25 minutes making a salad today!! (the lettuce was really sandy) I could have done so much more with that time, even though I washed enough lettuce and chopped veggies for a week of salads, this is an area I need to re-think. I believe it may be timed for bagged lettuce! Healthy food is a priority, but not at such a cost.
@Denise: Fresh fruits and veggies is definitely an area I am trying not to be penny wise and pound foolish. Pre-cut veggies and fruit and bagged salads mean I am more likely to eat them. Apples sit in the fridge. Little baggies of sliced apples do not. Yes, this is silly, but it is true. Just think, all the money I spend in 30 years on convenient produce will not compare to the cost of any major health event, in terms of medical care, lost work time, etc. So if the produce lowers the chances of the major medical event occurring, then it is worth it. As are gym memberships/equipment, pricey sunscreen, etc.
I agree with you there. As I think in terms of the 35-40 hours a week I will “lose” to my job, I need to look at more of these areas. There will be more money and less time, so I want to spend both in the most enjoyable way.