The 168 Hours Time Tracking Challenge wrap-up thread

fullsizerender-7My 168 hour log officially ends for me at 5 a.m. Monday morning each week, and unfortunately, I was up to see it this morning. The baby woke at 4:30, and I got him back down, but I did not manage to get myself back down. So at 6, I gave up and got to work. I should have cut my losses earlier. A key learning from tracking my time!

Some basic numbers: I worked 45 hours. As usual, this was concentrated at the start of the week (10 on Monday, 11 on Tuesday). I did very little work on the weekend (0.5 on Saturday, about 1 on Sunday). This week did involve being gone overnight for work 2 nights. I am working on being more productive while on the road, but I also recognize that travel time can allow for some personal time too. My run through Central Park on Wednesday morning was a nice perk, as was having dinner with my parents (and climbing the dunes) on Thursday evening.

I slept 50.75 hours, which comes out to 7.25 hours/day. This is not too bad, and I am trying to convince myself that the reason I did not fall back asleep this morning is that I did not really need the shut-eye. The two hotel stays helped me get uninterrupted sleep. On my two 5:15 a.m. mornings, I was able to give the baby to my husband for a while after, which helped.

I ran four times (though two happened on the same day). I probably could have fit in one more run, though there were some other physical activities (climbing the dune, walking to/from my speech in NYC and to Penn Station, kicking a soccer ball with my daughter at practice, and going in the pool twice). So overall I would give myself a passing grade on this.

In terms of one-on-one time with individual kids (a constant goal), I took the 9-year-old to his audition, I read a lot at night with the 6-year-old, took the 4-year-old to soccer, and the toddler is very good at claiming his time at any hour of the day or night.

I was relatively social: two dinners out (one for work), a run with a friend, and two parties on the weekend. I did a fair amount of reading — almost every night before bed — but much of it was of no consequence whatsoever. This is an area for improvement. I need to get some more books from the library. It’s the kind of thing I tell other people to do, but don’t do myself!

If you tracked your time, I would love to hear observations. I will be over on Facebook doing a live chat around noon eastern today to answer any questions and share my take-aways.

24 thoughts on “The 168 Hours Time Tracking Challenge wrap-up thread

  1. I always knew I worked too much. I was sad that my nanny saw my baby more often then I did. but then I made dedicated effort for “floor time” with my 15 month old. and I opted to cook meals after he went to sleep (so we would all eat the food the following night) and it worked. I felt like we bonded more after just 1 hour an evening of playing! it meant less personal time for myself (no tv watching from 8-9pm as I was cooking) but I didn’t miss that. and the whole wkend was dedicated to family/baby time so I felt like my really got to know my toddler more this week. I really liked knowing that I could balance my “Absentee mother” days with “fulltime mom weekends.” I also doubled up baby time with “fun social time” by scheduling a playdate with a friend. I should do that more cuz it’s more fun for the kids and the moms!

    1. Amy – I tracked my time for the first time right about a year ago as I was finishing reading “I Know How She Does It” and that was my biggest takeway… woah, I work a noticeable amount more than ends up on my timesheet, and my timesheet sure wasn’t capped at 40 hours! I did the cook-the-night-before thing when I had one child, too, and bedtime was earlier so “cooking” and “work” could fit in one night’s entry. With the second child, it moved to the whole week on Sunday. Last year when I started tracking time, it bugged me how much of Sunday would go to that. But over time even that shifts…. now Sunday logs include “kid 2 helping” for part of the “cooking” entry since, for a while at least, I usually can combine this household chore with a little one-on-one kid time.

    2. @amy – floor time can work! And yes, we see kids a lot during the weekend even with working a lot during the week. If you’re cooking from 8-9 pm at night, I wonder if you could shorten that? There are a lot of simple meals — maybe you’d get to watch TV too!

  2. I did a recap of my time tracking here (http://theologyandgeometry.com/a-week-in-the-life-september-2016/). Truth is that I was very happy with how I spent my time. I know that life will change as my kids get older – they will be gone more (in elementary school and beyond) and I will work more, but I was happy to see that it reflects my priorities for right now. There are some things I wish I did more because I enjoy them, but I feel comfortable saying that they aren’t a priority in September 2016.

      1. It was still an interesting exercise because I spent different amounts of time on things than I would have guessed. For example, I feel like I exercise more and write less than I actually do. So I feel less guilty about my 1/2 marathon training and happier about the time I’m devoting to writing. That said, I certainly would have felt less positive about if we’d had another ER visit – something I spent no small amount of time worrying about!

  3. I feel mostly okay with my week, but wish I didn’t spend so much time driving. It’s just the nature of where we live, and I try to combine errands so I’m out less. On 4-hr childcare days, I don’t go home but work in Starbucks or the library, but on MWF 5-hr days I like to be able to be in my own office with my elderly dog, so that means nearly an hour of childcare commuting. I don’t have an answer to this, other than just to accept the reality and plan around it.

    I was very happy with the weekend — a good formula for a successful weekend for me is one “planned fun”, one nagging household chore, and one nagging errand. With the 20-min minimum driving distance from home to anywhere else, and a 3yo who still takes afternoon naps, that pretty much fills us up!

      1. Yep! I used to do audiobooks or podcasts, but I have a hard time stopping when I get home and end up puttering for too long. So this morning, I put on French lessons — our new neighbors just moved from France and speak little English, and are always delighted to help me with my French and practice English. Expanding my foreign language repertoire is one of my 100 dreams, Ca va bien!

  4. I loved this challenge and the insights I got (in just one week). In fact, I am super inspired by your statement (video) that time tracking helps plan our schedules and CARVE out time for meeting our goals. That just resonated with me and has made me determined to continue. This week’s time tracking is also showing me where I can improve- distractions I can remove, activities I can club and so on. I also love seeing all the good stuff that I am already doing- it feels empowering.

  5. Here’s my analysis (one including a typical Sunday, and one including a Sunday off)

    5ish day work week (resembles my future goals):
    Worked 50.25hrs, 6.5hrs commuting/driving
    54.75hrs sleeping (yesss!)
    35hrs with my kid+husband/family/friends
    2.5hrs on exercise
    1.25hrs on personal fun (shopping alone)
    9.5hrs on household chores (hosting a bday party)
    6.5hrs on transitions/bathing/etc
    2.25hrs on the “internet abyss”- I am sure it is more

    6day work week (resembles my reality now): Worked 59.25, spent 6 less hours with my kid, 1 less hour of personal time, 2 less hours on chores

    1 year ago, I was in a temporary job where I worked 40-45hrs per week, but it wasn’t work that matched my skillset and ambitions. The week that I tracked last year I worked 46.5hrs and spent 31hrs with my kid. Somehow, in my 6day work week, I worked 13 more hours, and lost only 2hrs with my kid!

    This is pretty amazing- I am running a lean operation thanks all of your productivity wisdom over the years. What is really suffering is my personal time, and time alone with my husband. I am hoping to minimize more of the chores so that I can carve out another 2hrs per week for alone time and husband time. This will also require another household chore- hiring a babysitter!

    Thanks for inspiring me to track my time- I am really proud of what it showed.

    1. @Virginia – I’m glad your log showed that you could be proud of your time. And yep, work time and kid time often don’t wind up traded off. Moms tend to sacrifice alone time, husband time — and housework. Generally the third is the best one to cut!

  6. Looking over my tracking sheet I can see in black and white what I already knew. I don’t use my evenings or weekends effectively. The problem is finding the energy in the evenings. I’m always SO TIRED, even if I haven’t had a particularly busy day.

    Anyone have tips on boosting energy – preferably without chemicals or caffeine & sugar? 😉

    1. I totally agree. I found the same thing. I work long days Monday-Thursday and am exhausted in the evenings. Then I spend weekends catching up. No kids left at home so no excuses there.

    2. Honestly- I would say exercising regularly. I am training for a 1/2 marathon, and I am not necessarily training as much as I should BUT I am exercising much more than I would if I wasn’t signed up to run/walk 13.1 miles in less than 1 month. I have way more energy than when I just get one run or workout in during a week. I am pretty tired the day following a 10 mile training run/walk, but otherwise I have way more energy. And that’s getting up at 4:15/4:30 2 days a week and 5 a.m. at least one weekend day, I also go to bed between 9-10 p.m. because I want at least 6 hours, 7 if I can. and meditation. 5-20 minutes a day. (I usually do it before I go to bed).
      Now I am struggling with actual motivation to get some things done in the evenings and be productive with my early mornings- I think that is from the decreasing daylight. I have the energy just lacking the want/will.
      having an accountability partner for waking up early and running buddies for training are what keep me accountable. I have not done time tracking yet, I keep intending to start… maybe if I just print out the sheet instead of trying to track it on tiny post-its….hmmmm

    3. I find that when I’m tired in the evenings it’s not always because I’m really all that tired. I’ve just fallen into a rut or pattern that is sucking the life out of me. Sometimes I am legitimately tired and I just give myself a break. A real one. Not a recliner and tv, but a hot bath, a book, quiet music, maybe a nap. Some pampering time,

    4. Agree with the exercise suggestion, even if it’s a super-short walk after dinner. Also, can you switch some tasks to morning instead of evening? In college I was never the one who could pull an all-nighter because I’m useless after bedtime. My solution was to get up a couple hours earlier to finish the project/studying/whatever when I’m recharged. For household chores, maybe it’s starting the washer at bedtime and getting up early to put in dryer, hang and fold.

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