Day 1, complete post

How did your first day of time tracking go? I’ll be posting my daily time logs this week, usually toward the end of the day. Here’s my final report for Day 1.

6:45 – up w/baby.

6:45-8 – kids, breakfast, coffee, etc.

8-8:30 – nanny here, shower, email.

8:30-8:40 – boys to bus stop.

8:40-11:00 – work on book concept

11-11:30 – practice TED talk

11:30-noon – phone calls

12-12:15 – email

12:15- 1 – ready and run outside (3.5 miles)

1-3 – work, catching up on emails and working on my feature for City Journal on working stay-at-home moms. Also, eat lunch around 2pm in there.

3-3:35 – podcast recording

3:35- 4 – work, plus a phone call about taping a video interview

4-4:30 – welcome boys home from school, snacks, homework, etc.

4:30-5 – figuring out sources for next 4 Fast Company pieces. Did you read this far into this post? If so, I’m looking for some people who feel relaxed about time to interview, and also some people in industries known for extreme hours who manage to keep their work weeks reasonable (like 55 hours/week). As always, you can email me: lvanderkam at yahoo dot com.

5-6:15 – take 9-year-old to a musical audition at a local theater. He was the only boy in his try-out group, I believe. I had him bring a book so he had something to do while we were waiting. I mainly answered email. Probably I should have brought a book too. This entry includes travel time to/from.

6:15 -6:35 home, eat dinner (nanny cooked)

6:35-6:55 – take toddler for a walk in the stroller. We look for tweet-tweets (birds) and woof-woofs (dogs). Sun is setting. This is a very pleasant way to unwind.

6:55-7 – quickly discuss Minecraft birthday concepts. Almost 7-year-old has found a Minecraft bouncy house you can buy for a cool 4-figure price. Not happening. He is completely obsessed with this guy named Dan TDM, who’s produced tons of videos of him playing Minecraft. My kid watches, enthralled. My take-away from this is that I should do more video to boost audience engagement.

7-7:30 – work on porch. 4-year-old joins me at some point.

7:30 – 8 – working inside, mostly logistics like train tix, kids are watching TV, nanny putting baby to bed (she works 4 longer days). Discuss logistics of rest of week with nanny, she leaves.

8-8:20 – kid snacks, chat w/kids.

8:20- 8:40 – read to kids (Stuart Little!), put them to bed.

8:40-9 – pack

9- onward – sitting on back porch, working. It’s a nice night. Still digging out of my email mess. This is why I did my morning time focused on bigger picture stuff, and my one productive bout during the afternoon too. Email will expand to fill all available space. If I’d started the day with that, I’d still be doing it now, but I wouldn’t have made time for other things. Since the baby slept until 6:45 this morning, I may live dangerously and stay up until 11. Though that’s just begging to have him wake up at 5 a.m. I won’t work the whole time. I’ll probably unwind with some magazines. These stories about the Hiddle-Swift break-up aren’t going to read themselves.

I hope your first day of time tracking went well!




25 thoughts on “Day 1, complete post

  1. So true, your comment about e-mail. I looked at the time I spent processing e-mail today (6 hours, and still going). I’m normally an inbox-zero guy, but had travel last week and let it get out of hand. Now I’m paying the price. Understandable, but this is a bit ridiculous!

    1. @Jeff Heath – I just try to stay relatively current. I’ve given up staying completely on top of it. Instead, every 2-3 days I do a massive backlog clearing. Today was one of those days, alas. I’ve got a lot going on that involves talking with different people, apparently.

  2. Thanks for running the challenge – I always stop time tracking after a day or so, and I’m hoping that, with this extra encouragement, I’ll actually make it through the whole week!

  3. My 8 year old loves Dan TDM. Ugh. His voice drives me up the wall. I spent much of the day being strongly aware of small bits of time that I wasn’t busy, but maybe tired or not focused. Because I can do very little to change my 7:15-3:45, I spent a lot of my other time really paying attention to the other parts of my day.

  4. Apparently video/YouTube is where it’s at these days. All my favorite scrapbooking bloggers have moved on to YT. I still prefer the written word, but I guess that makes me old 😉

  5. I am envious of your school bus! While my 1st grader goes to a neighborhood school a block away, my 3yo’s preschool doesn’t have a school bus and is a 20-min drive away. That is a lot of time driving around.

    I have been pleased, though, by how consistent (more or less) my schedule is right now. That’s something I lose sight of — and something I really need — so that perspective alone makes the time-tracking worthwhile.

    1. @Meghan – our preschool has many virtues, but a chief one is that it is 3 minutes away by car. Going there and home takes 10 minutes, including time in the carline usually. Our neighbor (a few doors down) is less lucky on the bus front – their pick-up is our house!

    2. The after school situation is a major time suck at our house. My kids are at 2 different schools, and I am at a 3rd. When I leave, it takes 30 minutes to get everyone picked up and I have to go in and out of both schools after school program for them to be checked out. Then loop back around to the first school I went to for the oldest who is getting out of football practice. Then go home. I lose almost a full hour once all of this is done because they never get out of practice when they say they are and it doesn’t make sense for me to go home and then come back. As of yet, we have not found a solution to this.

  6. I loved reading this, Laura! I’ve been using your tracker since 2013 when we met at BullCon, but it’s nowhere near this detailed (in terms of 5-minute increments). You’re so cool : )

  7. I can’t believe Minecraft is still so popular. A few years ago my now 17 year old son was begging for a Minecraft themed birthday but the game was so new I couldn’t find anything ready-made and very few ideas on the internet. After watching my son play I got the idea to make a grass block cake – square chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and coconut flake dyed grass green on top. Decorations were just plain paper products in the Minecraft color scheme and some foam pick axes and swords I found on Think Geek dot com. Simple as it was my son still talks about his “awesome” Minecraft party and especially the cake.

  8. Since he loves Minecraft, get him the LL Bean backpack that is pixelated. It looks like Minecraft without being garish. I love presents that serve a real purpose and don’t contribute to the plastic crap of toys that is most of the toys on the market nowadays.

  9. I am curious about how you manage the “before and after” of your run. I find that between getting ready for exercise, and needing to hydrate/shower/eat after it, I end up spending an additional 45 minutes. Which then feels like a lot of time in total during the work day, and makes me more likely to skip the workout 🙁

    1. @Rama- I, too, have seen that much time can be lost in before/after with exercise. One solution is to run longer but fewer times each week. Another is that once I decide to run, aim to be out the door within a few minutes. It’s so easy to putter, check one more thing – I just decide to be out in 4 minutes or something and race for it. As for post, yes, I probably do lose time, but I lose time to web surfing and walking around the house anyway. I’m not perfect. And the good thing about working from home is that I basically never have to shower. Just kidding! But not immediately after exercising in any case.

      1. I can’t run in the middle of the day unless I have the day off, but I only shower if I run before work. If I run at night I just stay in my sweaty stuff till I’ve cooled off and then put on pjs. I felt like stretching took a long time, but I timed it and it’s really only 3-5 minutes extra–I just keep my headphones on and listen to another song. I also keep all my running gear in a small toiletry bag on my dresser, so I’m not wasting time looking for my watch, headphones, etc. Lastly, sometimes it does seem to take longer but I’m pretty sure it gives me more energy and makes me more productive, so it’s worth the extra time.

        1. @Caitlin – hunting for stuff can add quite a bit of time on to a run. I try to keep all my running gear in one place. If I’m going to run early I’ll set stuff out the night before so I don’t have to think about it.

  10. Ah, very helpful! I’m thinking I try to include too much detail when I track my time. Interesting to see the level of detail you include. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *