I have been tracking my time for 3 months now. In the comments on yesterday’s post, SHU asked if this accountability affected how much time I waste. I’m not sure — I still waste time! — but I do think it nudges me to put more fun stuff in my life. I like to see interesting things on my time log, so I’m marginally more likely to do them.
Yesterday was a prime example of this. It was kind of a long day. I woke up at 5 to feed the baby, then went back to sleep until 7. I got up, showered, and did my hair. I made myself breakfast and made lunches for the kids. P (nanny) came at 8 a.m., and I was preparing to go to the enrollment meeting for kid #2’s kindergarten enrichment program when kid #3 threw an epic fit. This was partly about her wanting me to come to her school and *not* her brother’s school, and also residual annoyance at not getting to go to a birthday party because of family logistics (which I totally sympathize with). Anyway, I got out the door at 8:20, making me a few minutes late to the 8:30 meeting. Our district offers only half-day kindergarten, but they have an official relationship with a childcare provider for “kindergarten enrichment” the other half of the day. The kids get bussed there from their elementary schools. The whole thing strikes me as ridiculous, but in any case, I went to the enrollment meeting, paid my fee, and talked about kid #2’s likes and dislikes. I was done by 8:55, got in the car, and made it home in time to bring kid #3 to her day camp (which runs 9:30-noon; P brought the boys to their camp, which runs 9-3:30).
I did a wee bit of work, then drove downtown to meet a Wharton professor who studies time use, and her grad student. We had coffee (10:30-11:45, roughly) and talked how one might conduct various studies. I chatted with my husband on the phone as I walked back to my car. I drove home, got there at 12:18, and said hi to the 3-year-old and baby, who were eating lunch. Then I got back in the car and went to meet a friend for lunch (12:45-1:45). We discussed her new job, the kids, etc.
I got in the car at 1:50 and raced home and made it in time for a scheduled 2:00 interview with a writer working with Cosmo. Then I did more work (checking in on my meeting schedule for BlogHer, etc.) until the kids all came home a little before 4 (I fed the baby in here somewhere). I had a snack with them, then got myself ready, and was back in the car around 4:20.
I drove back downtown — to the same parking garage I’d been in before! — and got on the 5:18 train to NYC. It was in the station early, so I was actually on by 5 and could start doing various work reading and email responding. I continued that until we got to NYC at 6:50. I got out, used the lovely Penn Station bathroom (ick) and then walked to Ilili restaurant, where I met my husband and some of his colleagues, who’d been at a meeting nearby. I used to go to my husband’s work dinners fairly frequently. When we lived in NYC and he was working a lot in Philly, I would often take the train down, and stay in his hotel overnight, and come back in the a.m. With the kids, we don’t do such things as much anymore, but elected to last night. It was a good group to have dinner with. Many of them do work in public health and vaccines, which means they had great travel stories (think South Sudan, DRC, etc.) I had something called a “poison sumac margarita.” It was great. OK, I had two.
We walked back to Penn Station at 9:30, and got on the 10:05 train back to Philly. I did more work reading on the way back, then we got into the station at 11:30. We drove home in our separate cars, and chatted with the evening babysitter who informed us that our kids had not exactly been little angels. I think the boys rebelled against being told to go to bed at 8:30 – which is when I usually make them go to bed too, but maybe they thought they could get away with more because they had a sitter. I don’t know. In any case, I pumped, hung out with my husband for a bit, and was asleep around 12:45, in time to wake up for a 4:45 feeding, but then I slept afterwards until 7 again, which made it less awful.
I think tracking time has reminded me of how much can fit in a day if I want it to. Going to NYC for the evening was tiring, but I’d likely be tired today anyway, and I’m glad I went. I’ve been missing the city of late and so amid all the other bits and pieces of life — school enrollment meetings and camp drop offs — it’s nice to do big things too.
In other news: Have you purchased your copy yet of I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time? I’d really appreciate it!