I hope everyone had a great weekend. For those of you tracking time this week, welcome! The 168 Hours Time Tracking Challenge starts this morning (use that link to get daily emails from me). If you need a time log, you can download one (Excel or PDF; 30- or 15-minute versions) here. You can also use any commercial time tracking app (e.g. Toggl). Or just walk around with a little notebook if you want to look all artsy. Or pay your very own Boswell to take notes for you?
The tool itself doesn’t matter. What matters is that you do it. Time tracking is tremendously useful to the cause of time management. After all, how can you spend your time better if you don’t know how you’re spending it now? We all have blindspots on time (more on mine below!) As for a time tracking challenge, I know that many people (“obligers”) like to know that other people are paying attention and counting on them to do something. Several hundred of us will be tracking our time this week. If you’d like to figure out where the time really goes, this could be a great opportunity.
I will be posting my time logs here. Since it’s still pretty early on Monday, not too much has happened. I’ll write the full post later tonight. We had a pretty full weekend: date night dinner at Cerise on Friday, where the chef (a friend) told us that he had spent all day prepping for Bryn Mawr Day (a local festival). We had sort of forgotten that was this weekend, but decided to go on Saturday. The kids had fun at a little petting zoo, and getting to ride the firetrucks (well, sort of. One child got to sit in the front of the fire truck, and the others did not, and the others that did not were SO UPSET about their brother getting the front seat that one child claimed the fire truck was a least favorite part of the weekend, even though getting to ride on a fire truck is objectively awesome. Ah, the human condition. Any wonder is not wonder enough if anyone else has just a little bit more!). We grilled steaks on Saturday night, my husband and daughter made an apple pie, and then we lit a fire in our fire pit after the 2-year-old went to sleep. S’mores! On Sunday we went to church for “Rally Day,” which is the Presbyterian thing where kids move up to the next Sunday school class. There were bubbles and hot dogs and all was mostly good except the 5-year-old’s balloon animal popped (in just a small part! It was actually still functional) and she screamed and threw a temper tantrum that was so over the top I heard some other kid ask her mom “Why is she being so bad?” The mother shushed her child. Nice. Later on Sunday, we took the 3 big kids to Nanuet NY for a friend’s kid’s Bar Mitzvah. It was kind of a long drive, but we had a really good time on the dance floor. We made it home at 10 p.m., the kids were showered and in bed by 10:30, and then my husband and I had dessert together.
This morning started way too early. The 2-year-old started shrieking at 4 a.m. I ignored him, and fortunately he shut up. Then he woke up again at 5:15. That time I went to him. He was yelling “I want you to read me a little story!” I read two stories in the bleary semi-darkness, and got him back in his bed by 5:40. I dozed off, and then he was up at 6:10 – but that was all my husband’s turn. He woke me up at 7:10 so I could shower. We had breakfast in waves. G came around 7:45. We had a small crisis with the 10-year-old having forgotten to give us a list of additional school supplies requested by his math teacher (they have separate math from their normal teacher). He was very concerned that it was due today, which would be surprising given that she gave him the list on Friday, but it was hard to get him calmed down about it. Anyway, he and I also practiced his lines for a community musical audition he has today. I wrote three notes to three teachers about dismissal variations. I got the kids started on the shoes-and-backpacks process at 8:28. We were out at the bus stop by 8:33, where we were soon joined by the four other children who get on the bus with us. I did bus stop monitor duty, and got everyone on by 8:40. G and my 2-year-old were out the door by 8:45.
I have been working since, mostly email answering (and typing up this). I’ll do the full post on the day tonight.
Anyway, if you’ve read this far…what have I learned from tracking time?
I spend more time in the car than I think. Now that I am aware of this, I’m more conscious about downloading podcasts to listen to during solo trips.
I have plenty of time to read. My reading frenzy this year is partly about recognizing that I was reading a lot, but little of consequence. Now I use reading time for actual literature.
Exercising doesn’t take much time. Even with my running streak (200+ days in a row!) I still average around 5 hours/week. Exercise only takes a lot of time in our explanations for why we’re not doing it.
What will you learn by tracking time? Let’s find out!
In other news: My podcast co-host Sarah wrote a Hurricane Irma update this weekend. They are safe and trying to make the most of the “vacation” (ha) that results from an ordered evacuation.