Time tracking challenge: Day 3

It was a good day with a good start: the baby slept through the night! I woke a few times coughing so it was not perfect, but oh did it feel lovely not to spend 90 minutes dealing with a fussy toddler. I turned off my light at 10:30, and woke up on my own around 5:45 (7.25 hours is sort of my base sleep need, so this makes sense). I could have gotten up, but I also felt like, eh. So I lay there thinking, and enjoying my warm bed, and drifting in and out until 7:15. I call that drifting nature’s snooze button. So much better than the alarm clock version.

Anyway, up, showered, breakfast for me and the kiddos. I answered blog comments until 8:30, took the boys to the bus stop, then worked until 11 when I realized I was doing a Facebook Live chat at 2:30 and my technology was not set up to do this. So Nancy (marketing/social media guru) and I spent 30 minutes on the phone figuring this out. I had lunch at noon with the little kids, then back to work on one of my Fast Company pieces (homeschooling and working) until the 2:30 chat. I think it went pretty well (you can see it on my FB Author page). I do say “um” a lot. Sigh.

Then, a bit more work on this homeschooling/working piece. I have done way more research on this than my pay rate justifies, though often that’s a sign that I’m very interested in a topic. I wrote my senior thesis in college (well, one of them*) on homeschooling. People who work and homeschool have often figured out complete work/life integration. Nothing has to happen at the “normal” time and yet in the mosaic that is 168 hours it all fits. You could work for 35, homeschool for 25, sleep 8 hours a night (56 per week) and still have 52 hours left over. The math works, it’s just a matter of logistics. I would not write a book on this specific topic, but I wonder if it might be an anecdote to a larger point (except not a book called 168 Hours, since I already wrote that).

Anyway, work on this was interspersed with a snack, saying goodbye to the 4-year-old who was off to art, and getting ready for a broadcast phone call for some women in finance at 4. I nursed the baby when that was done, then got ready to go out for the evening. I met two friends for drinks and dinner at a new Mexican place nearby (an evening sitter came at 5:45). I really needed this. It was a good time. I’d set it up in part because I was logging my time on the blog this week, so cheers to accountability. We were done at 8, but since I had the sitter, I went and did my mid-week grocery shopping trip. I am in favor of grocery shopping after having a margarita. All was beautiful. The clerk even told me that there was a buy one get one free special going on with the bagged salads so I should go back and grab a second one. It is a little sad that this is the sort of thing I am excited about, but there we go.

Home and I said goodnight to the kids, who were in their rooms. Now I am posting this and planning to read before getting in bed at 10:30. Here’s hoping I sleep until 6!

*I wrote two senior theses in college: a novel with the creative writing department, and a thesis on homeschooling with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. I don’t know if this was a common thing or not, but neither department talked to each other or questioned this, so I wrote one in both.

9 thoughts on “Time tracking challenge: Day 3

  1. I had a goal to time track the first two weeks of January so your challenge was perfect timing for me. One thing I have noticed is that time tracking naturally spurred me to think ahead and look at the month as a whole as well. 7 months pregnant I won’t be skiing this year, but I am on kid duty while my husband gets away for two ski trips. Foresight ensured that I got two girls nights and a date night last week so I don’t feel short changed when he is gone this weekend. Also, I planned ahead for some fun things to do with the kids this weekend while Dad is away. I plan to use the same strategies next month when he is gone and will try to implement for his known work trips.

    1. @Hilary – very smart. When you can plan ahead you can make sure you don’t feel shortchanged. I’m thinking my toddler will be going to an art museum (strapped into a stroller). Because that’s what I want to do. If I plan ahead on timing, it will happen.

  2. I’ll be very interested to read your piece on homeschooling and working: it hadn’t occurred to me that those aren’t mutually exclusive.
    Your kids seem to be in a lot of activities, but you’ve written before about how that’s manageable for you, so I just think that’s interesting. I think your activity/busyness tolerance might be higher than mine (and that’s ok). Or maybe you’re just more organized than I am right now 🙂
    Do you schedule dates/time with your husband or does that happen organically? That’s a challenge I have (even though we don’t have kids yet) because our schedules are very different.

    1. @GirlFriday- I would not say we do a particularly good job on couple time. We have a date night this weekend, but that’s partly just because I’m tracking time and thinking about it!

    2. I’m curious about the activities, too, and mostly how you handle childcare for all. For example, when your 4-yr old was off to art, I assume your nanny stayed home with the baby (and school-age kids who presumably were home at that point) – so who went with the 4-yr old? I only have two kiddos and one is so young to have very few activities but with a husband who works very long hours and no family nearby it takes a toll on my schedule to get everyone where they need to be. I’ve purposely arranged a flexible schedule for my work but am finding that I may need to start pulling in babysitters to help navigate more than the occasional date night (we have a wonderful university child development center day care “school” during working hours for the little one and the older one is at school and after-school latchkey)

      1. @Shelley – there is a lot of logistical planning. Yesterday, P (nanny) took the 4-year-old to art (the baby was napping – with me home. I wasn’t doing anything so important that I couldn’t risk a wake up). The art class is also 5 minutes away. The one issue was when I was on a call speaking with 60 people as P was picking up the 4-year-old, just as the boys got off the bus. I’d discussed it with the boys beforehand, and put a note on the door saying to come in quietly and that P would be home in 5 minutes. Alas, the baby woke up while P was getting my daughter, but the 8-year-old nicely went and soothed him until she got back.
        So often the logistics involve me, nanny, and carpooling (like for a dance class today) – or my husband, who’s often available for the 6:30 swim pickup, he just wasn’t this week. I truly dislike taking the 3 youngest ones to swim pick up in the dark (the situation at the swim school is not great for pick up). We have an evening sitter sometimes to help with evening activity logistics (e.g. being home with the baby and 4-year-old).

  3. As a homeschool mom who works from home, I’m interested in reading your piece on homeschooling and work. My work hours vary week to week, but from logging my hours, I find that working 25 hours on top of homeschooling is my maximum… 15 seems to be ideal. The challenge balancing work from home/homeschooling is that work/email is always there (easy to “quickly” answer email here and there) so even if you aren’t officially working, you feel like you are. Of course, my limited work hours also reflect that I have 5 kids (2 homeschooled) and spend lots of time driving each day!

  4. I have 5 kids, and my husband is a pastor, so their are a lot of weeks where he is gone 2-3 evenings. I really struggled with this when my kids were younger. I am so blessed now that my oldest is 17… I have a “built in babysitter” for evening appointments! It is a struggle to juggle childcare though!

  5. Ooh, I hope you’ll post the link to the article you’re writing about homeschooling & working. I’m very interested in reading it, as we are trying to come up w/ a more structured plan for our daughter. She’ll be in school but we want to do more projects and stuff at home.
    Also, evening babysitters are hard to find. I’ve got an ad posted, and a couple of responses, but when I asked for more info, nothing…

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