Over the past few weeks, I’ve been analyzing my time logs from the past 6 months. I began tracking my time continuously in April, 2015, and wrote about the first year here. The next 6 months showed similar themes. Indeed, my sleep average came out exactly the same: 7.4 hours/day. That seems improbable to me at first glance, because each individual night is variable in a way I don’t like, and yet over long stretches of time, I must cycle around to that particular number. If I’m well-rested, I stay up late. If I’m sleep deprived, a nap sounds better than something else I might do with the time.
As I analyze my time, I can see a few areas for improvement. Here they are:
I waste time in the car. Because I do not have a daily commute, in my mind I don’t face the usual challenges people have of turning this time into something tolerable. And yet the reality is that I do spend the equivalent of an hour a day in the car. It is enough that I shouldn’t just write it off. Sometimes I practice my speeches. Sometimes, if I have my kids in there, I try to chat with them. I generally listen to Sirius XM radio (Channel 15: The Pulse, or Channel 16: The Blend). I definitely need to start looking into podcasts, as I would probably enjoy a number of them. I welcome recommendations!
I do a lot of pointless reading. When I’m bored, I’ll spend ages scrolling through Twitter. Unless there’s breaking news, it’s usually not that interesting. I subscribe to a ton of magazines, and while I like magazines, the time I’m spending reading through them is likely crowding out time I could be reading books. Our local library closed for renovations earlier in the year, and my kids’ activity schedule is such that I feel like I need to be around in the evenings to help out (even if I’m not driving, being home means that not all 4 kids have to tag along). I used to go to the library occasionally in the evening to work. So, consequently, I’m not in the library — but all of those explanations are really just excuses. I feel like a bigger issue is that my brain feels fried by evening, and I like to read to wind down, and magazines feel like they make no real demands on me (in a way a book does).
I am not very productive on the road. That Twitter habit? I spend a lot of time in airports indulging in it. I spend time on the plane reading magazines. All fine as individual choices for small bits of time, but as I travel more (and that definitely trended up over the past 18 months) I simply cannot write off travel time as useless. I would love tips on how veteran road warriors stay productive while traveling.
My kids get too much screen time. I do not believe that screen time is evil. But especially on weekends, the little one can consume so much energy that it’s always tempting to let the big kids watch hours and hours of cartoons or play games on their Kindles. I would like to spend more time doing stuff like making puzzles or building Legos or reading stories or baking with the big kids. I do keep telling myself that we will be out of the hard phase with the toddler soon. Already, he can play for a little bit by himself. I can be in the kitchen and he can be in the basement, and I’ll call downstairs every 3 minutes “What are you doing?” and he’ll shout up “Play choo choos!” The 9-year-old and 7-year-old are also generally capable of watching him for 10-15 minutes in his room. So maybe this is also just an area where I need to hang on for a few more months and the problem will mostly solve itself.
If you’ve discovered solutions for any of these bad habits, please let me know what worked!