Time tracking challenge: Day 7 plus wrap-up

I did not feel like getting back on my computer last night to post, so here is the belated report on Sunday, the last day of my time tracking challenge.

The baby slept through the night (yay!) I was more restless for unknown reasons. Maybe it was the extra glass of wine before bed with my husband. We have to mark Saturday night somehow. The 8-year-old is officially staying up later than me, and he is not particularly convinced that Mommy and Daddy need Mommy-Daddy time. We convinced him to spend 20 minutes coloring while we had our drink together.

In the morning, I heard the baby at 6:30. He had managed to completely soil himself, so there was a massive clean-up before nursing. Then he played in the exersaucer while I showered. The boys and my husband got up for skiing. Somehow my 6-year-old got in the car without his pants (he was only in long underwear). My husband called from the slopes to say he had discovered this and had to buy him a new pair. By 7:45 I was home solo with the baby and the 4-year-old. We played with the new birthday toys. I drank my coffee. It was kind of a long 2 hours until we left for church at 9:35.

I decided to risk the nursery. I am a bit of a germ-phobe in winter (this is the wisdom born of having my oldest child in daycare for 2 years). But they had enough people working that he basically had his own grown-up the whole time, which was wonderful. My daughter went to Sunday school and I went to church. We got home at 11:30. I fed the kids lunch, and got the baby down for his nap at noon.

The next few hours were fairly chill. I ran on the treadmill (more intervals — a whole minute at 9.0 mph this time!) Then I read the Studs Terkel book Working for an hour. (My daughter was playing on the computer during all of this). Then I ate my lunch, then she and I played for quite a while — 90 minutes or so. The baby took an epic nap. It was fun. My daughter had said the other day that she did not want to be a mommy, because she wanted to be a doctor. I am not sure where she got the idea that these were incompatible. We went through the litany of People She Knows Who Are Mommies And Doctors. Sunday afternoon, she decided that we would play that we were mommies and doctors and teachers. Apparently my daughter wants to be a professor in an academic medical institution or some such when she grows up. We gave her Abby doll a lot of shots.

At 3:45 I went to check on the baby. He was standing there silently in his crib. Who knows how long he had been up, pondering life. Anyway, we bundled up and went outside to play in the snow. The boys and my husband (who did not ski — his hand was all bandaged up, he just drove them to the mountain) got home a bit after 4. I played outside with the kids in the snow until almost 5. Then it was inside to finally open the last of the 1-year-old birthday presents. Everyone played, and I got the kids mac and cheese for dinner.

Our sitter came at 6:30 and my husband and I drove downtown for date night at Osteria. I had the roasted vegetable board and an octopus pizza. We had a glass of port afterwards. Home about 9:15. The boys were still up, so my husband read them Harry Potter while I half-heartedly followed tweets about the Democratic presidential debate. We all hung out for a while, and I went to bed around 10:45.

All in all it was a pretty good week. Looking back on it in spreadsheet form, I see a few things. I slept 53.25 hours total, or 7.6 per day. This is pretty much right around what I need. The range was 6.5 to 8.5. More exciting for me is that I was only up with the baby 2 of 7 nights. This is a definite improvement over the week before when I was up with the baby 6 out of 7 nights.

I worked 35 hours. This was highly frontloaded in the week. I worked 9 hours Monday and Tuesday, 9.5 hours Wednesday, but then 5.5 on Thursday, 1.0 on Friday, 1.0 on Saturday, and basically none on Sunday. Long-term I would like this to be closer to 40 hours. That said, I did a lot during my 35 hours (including finding out that What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast was on the iBooks audio bestseller list for the week).

On the relationships front there were a few highlights. I went out to dinner with friends on Wednesday. I did date night with my husband on Sunday. I hosted two playdates and had the fundraising meeting at the preschool. I did one-on-one time with most of the kids: the long play time with my daughter on Sunday, and some late night coloring sessions with the 8-year-old. The 6-year-old was home with me Friday, so while he did have to split attention with the baby at the Please Touch Museum, he got some special time then too. And we celebrated a birthday!

In the personal category: I ran 5 times. This was all on the treadmill (it has been cold and wintry) but I kept myself interested due to the intervals/sprints. I got a massage. I read for about 5 hours. I went to the art museum. Granted, it was with the baby, but still. I went to church, and even squeezed in a bit of shopping before the dinner with friends on Wednesday.

If you were tracking time, how did your week go?

17 thoughts on “Time tracking challenge: Day 7 plus wrap-up

  1. Interval sprints on the treadmill can be very satisfying. Do you ever think about doing strength training in your house as well?

    Also, not sure why I get this vibe from you, but I do…. are you planning on running for office someday? I could see that happening.

    1. @omdg – I should do more strength-training. We have a small weight set, and sometimes I’ve gone to the Y and lifted but it’s not something I do that often. The intervals have been very satisfying. I feel like I get a good workout in limited time.

      No way on running for office. I’m interested in politics, but all the meetings and consensus building and such aren’t really my strong suit.

  2. Towards the end of this exercise, I realized I did a different time log in January a couple of years ago… I guess I’ve been following the blog for a while now. Its been kind of interesting to see the differences between then and now. One big thing is now I consistently get enough sleep every night now, probably even more sleep this week b/c I’m pregnant and then I got sick. Another thing that always seems to pop up in January either there is a snowstorm or household illness that, or other winter-related “unknown” that is thrown into the mix… And I know you’ve always said that there are ‘no such thing as a typical week’ but last week felt anything but, I don’t think I ever spend as much time as I did last week networking and socializing, but that was exactly what happened. I also finished 3 books which was a total anomaly, but I enjoyed that 🙂 I think I may continue logging my time for at least another week to see where that gets me as far as averages.

    1. @Ahlia – congrats on the pregnancy! Nope, there are never typical weeks, particularly in winter with all the illnesses and snow days. Three books is amazing. So is sleep. This past week I got more uninterrupted sleep than I had in the month prior and it was awesome.

  3. Thank you for motivating me to track my time! I learned some things and confirmed others that I’d already suspected. First, sleep–I averaged just under 8 hours, which is perfect for me and is making me realize that I’m in a spot right now where even with toddler night wakeups (I covered 3 this week between my two toddlers, my husband covered probably an equal number or slightly more) I’ve reached the point where I’m getting the sleep I need, although of course I wish it weren’t ever interrupted. Maybe in a few years. Second, work–this was what I would consider a pretty productive work week for me and I worked just over 41 hours once you subtract the water cooler talk and social media time (I do a lot more of the former and less of the latter). This probably supports your observation that people overestimate the number of hours they work and that time logs actually reveal fewer hours worked than estimated. Third, child care: I do a lot of it! In fact, over 90% of my hours are work/sleep/child care. But I guess this is not an unusual arrangement for a parent of two small children. Fourth, housework–I do very little of it! A measly two hours this week. This is not because I outsource housework; rather, my husband works slightly fewer hours than I do and therefore does most of the cooking (I cooked only one night this week, and we ate at someone else’s house one night). And importantly, I have a low standard for tidiness. I just don’t care about having spotless floors or kitchen counters or about picking up the toys at the end of the day. As a result, my two hours of housework for the week was mainly loading and unloading dishes from the dishwasher and doing laundry. Although I suppose I do pick up after my kids sometimes and just factor that into the “child care” time not housework. And finally, social/personal time (and relationship time, as you put it)–not a great week for this category. I would generally like to put more time into these things. I had a nice lunch with coworkers, a family dinner with grandparents, and I read books for almost 7 hours (I use my kids’ weekend naptime for reading, primarily) and worked out for two hours. But overall I was left with a feeling that this was not the most “fun” week ever. Partly because it’s winter and just harder to plan activities, I think. But anyway, I will be aiming to do more in this category, to maintain my sleep schedule, and to figure out ways to be even more efficient at work and avoid time-wasting behaviors that don’t bring me a benefit. I think I’ll try to track my time again–maybe quarterly. This was useful.

    1. @Emily – I’m really glad to hear the exercise was useful. Seven hours of reading and a few fun meals is not bad at all. I’m a big believer in planning in time for fun so hopefully next time you track you’ll have even more of that! I agree that it’s harder in winter. So much easier when all the outdoor kid activities like playgrounds are options.

  4. Laura, just wanted to chime in and thank you for this post series – I find it fascinating to see how others spend their time, so as you can imagine, I loved I Know How She Does It! 🙂 Inspired by you, I tracked my time for a week a few months back. I was reluctant to do it, but it was SUCH helpful data to have. For someone who struggles with perfectionism, it was a really useful tool. Every time I would mentally beat myself up over not working more or doing enough in some area, I could look at my log and see what was actually happening. Anyway, keep on doing what you do – I really appreciate your work.

    1. I agree! I love to peek into other lives! I’m at a different point in life where my time is much more my own now that kids are older. I’ve had plenty of time this week for work, family, sleep, socializing, exercise and reading. Sometimes I feel like I could use time more effectively, but I’m accomplishing what I hope to so all is well! Perhaps this gives younger readers hope for that light at the end of the tunnel! I’d love to see more of these time-tracking challenges in the future too.

  5. A couple of weeks ago I posted that I found last year that time tracking just didn’t work for me. But I decided to do this anyway, and for the first time I tracked the whole week. The trick was not to try to do it a little bit at a time, but just do it once a day when I enter my billing hours (one of my resolutions is to stay on top of it daily) and keep descriptions 20 characters or less for a 30 minute slot. It worked perfectly, and I felt motivated to keep it up on the weekend during my morning blog reading time.
    As far as the results, I confirmed that I’ve been watching way too much TV, which I plan to cut out completely on weeknights. I’ve been doing a daily yoga challenge so I took a yoga class every single day in addition to meditating and doing a quick home yoga stretch most mornings. This is making me feel so full of energy that I’m so much more productive at work and I hope to keep it up 3-5 times a week as things get busier. I also found that I enjoy doing housework and spending longer time on making dinner and prepping food for the week on weekends, all while listening to audiobooks, and I’m happier when I do that then spend the afternoon sitting down with a book or magazine. So finding time for housework is a good thing.
    I need to find time for two things, cultivating friendships and preparing for my teaching job. I’m so behind on both that they are causing me daily anxiety. My plan to do a little on the teaching prep every day is not working, I dread it and skip it, so I need to find a couple of bigger chunks of time and just schedule it. With friends, instead of doing something big, I just need to send a couple of emails and keep it simple.
    Thanks again for inspiring me to do this. Now that I finally got the routine down, I’m looking forward to tracking my time regularly. I already started on this week.

    1. @Morana – thanks for playing along! The daily yoga is quite impressive. I think having something else you want to do in your leisure time that’s more exciting than TV is the key to making that happen. I’m not sure what it is (crafting? reading? getting together with friends?) but actively making plans to do those things increases the chances that they happen.

  6. Thanks for motivating me to do this time log. I’ve tried to do them in the past, but I tend to forget to log the weekends. The was really constructive for me because I was able to identify very clearly some things that have been out-of-wack in my days. First, I’m wasting a lot of time a work, because, frankly, I’ve been in a work rut for a while. This exercise gave me the push I needed to schedule some projects that are more interesting than what I normally do. (Just this change has cut down on my wasted time this week). Also, I realized that I really was not taking time for myself and my interests when not at work. I tend to fill may time with cleaning and chores. I do regularly read 30 to an hour per day, I’ve neglected exercise and time with friends, so I made sure to actually schedule those things in this week as well. I think I’ll continue to track my time for at least a month so I can really focus in on what’s working and what’s not. Thanks again.

    1. @Anna- I’m glad you enjoyed the exercise, or at least found it useful. I did a few posts about tracking a full month in May or so. You start to see even more patterns in that case.

  7. Can you tell us how old your baby is? I need some hope that soon one day my 4 month old will sleep through the night at least some days :O(

  8. As a mommy and a doctor, I agree that the two are not completely incompatible. But it sure does feel like it sometimes!

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