If you’ve been reading this blog over the past week, you now know exactly how I spent the last 168 hours. However, on the off chance that you weren’t adding up every single minute (ha) I thought I’d share some of my analysis. Here’s the run-down:
I worked 34.5 hours. Only about 30 of these occurred during the Monday-Friday work week. And even some of those occurred outside normal 9-5 work hours. There are a few structural factors limiting my work hours right now. First, I built in a lot of personal priorities to the hours when my older children were out of the house and I had childcare (generally 8:30-4): the massage, the haircut, several of my runs. It’s also generally harder to work when the big kids are around, and we had two early closures and a weather delay. Also, I stopped working prior to 5 p.m. most days to deal with kid activities: karate, an audition, wrestling, gymnastics, etc. I worked some at night and on the weekend (specifically, at the wrestling meet) but that wasn’t going to add a lot to the total.
That said, despite the limited work hours, I did make serious progress on my biggest goals for the year! I got an offer on my next book (a time management fable, to be published in early 2019). I made progress on getting contracts for several potential speaking gigs over the next few months. I ran the time-tracking challenge. (Blogging every day actually takes a fair amount of time! I normally only do it 4 times a week; this week was 8 times). Sarah and I recorded two podcasts (I put this in the work category). I wrote an article and even spent some time on speculative work: writing fiction and two sonnets.
I also spent a lot of time on email. More than I’d like to. Email enables the other work, but it is not the work itself. This is always a work in progress. I don’t want to feel productive if I got through all my email, but didn’t write fiction (something I am aiming to do multiple times per week — I want another novel draft by the end of the year).
I slept 52.5 hours, or an average of 7.5 hours/day. None of the days were too short. My minimum for the week was 7 hours, max 8.75 (I crashed last night at 10:15!). In general I went to bed later than I would ideally do so, but my husband was around this week, so I stayed up to match his schedule and spend time with him. Fortunately, the 2-year-old (now 3-year-old!) didn’t get up ridiculously early most days, and on many of the earlier days I was able to get another 15-30 minutes of sleep while he watched cartoons. Things are getting better there. Some people might assume, since I wrote a book called “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” that I enjoy rising at 5 a.m. to run 5 miles and then write a book a day. Nope.
I spent a lot of time in the car. In theory, this could be wasted time, but almost all of it — including my two hour-long trips on the weekend — was related to transporting kids around. I had some fascinating conversations, among them my daughter inquiring how much it hurt to have a baby, and whether I’d taken medicine to make it not hurt (answer: three times yes, one no), my 8-year-old inquiring how much Daddy and I both made, and the 10-year-old’s talking through his slight trepidations about his audition (but how much he enjoyed performing), and his thoughts about what middle school will be like next year. He has really been thinking through the logistics of lockers. With four kids, there’s just a lot of driving around. When my travel schedule picks up in the spring, I might wind up needing another sitter to deal with it. But for now, I’ve kept some chunk of this on my plate partly for entertainment purposes.
I finished reading four books: one novel, three non-fiction works. (The novel was very short!). I am currently about 55 percent of the way through Ali Smith’s Winter. (Not my favorite, but it’s short too, so may as well finish).
I practiced my music for choir and did about 2.5 hours of rehearsal, and then sang at the Sunday service. I feel like my voice is improving, which is nice, but I think it’s attributable to the sheer volume of hours spent singing. I haven’t spent this many hours rehearsing since college.
I ran all 7 days. Four days I was able to run outside, which was quite a treat. Once was in the sleet, but the three other days were lovely — two of them were north of 50 degrees! Given the kids’ weekend schedules it’s sometimes hard to get longer runs in on the weekend, which is the complete opposite of what many people deal with. Though I imagine if it wasn’t possible to run long during the week, I’d probably make it a bigger priority to do so on weekends. I did pick up the kettle bell a few times and throw it around. It’s sitting in my office right by my desk so that makes it easier to do while waiting for a call. Right now I’m just trying to build the habit, as I have no real expectation of massive results from doing 2 minutes of strength training 3 times per week.
I spent time playing outside with the kids, throwing snowballs and stomping around. It’s always good to build in a bit of playing in addition to supervisory duties: baths/showers, homework, etc. We had fun on our weekend trip to the DaVinci Science Center, and celebrating the now-3-year-old’s birthday. We had several family breakfasts.
My husband and I went out to one of my favorite restaurants with friends. A double win!
So, all in all, a pretty good week. If you tracked your time, I’d love to hear your reflections on the process.
Photo: One of the biggest reasons I like spreadsheets is that I can easily visualize the week. Key on this – nothing during the middle-of-the-night hours! There have been far fewer weeks in the last 3 years like that than I would have liked, but this was a good one.