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?