Looking for a time makeover? Call for participants for a future blog series

With school starting back up (the kids did so well getting going in the morning despite their lingering jet lag!) I’m in the mood to start some new projects myself.

One: an upcoming blog series featuring time makeovers. Is some aspect of how you spend your time bothering you? Do you feel you could be more efficient or effective, or would you just like to have more fun? Would you like my feedback on your schedule? Would you be willing to try out some ideas and report back? Here’s what this would involve:

Tracking your time. Ideally for two weeks — a “before” and “after” time log.

Chatting with me. By phone and email most likely, though potentially in person if we’re near each other.

Letting me use your real name. I don’t need to use your employer’s name (general industry is probably fine) or kids’ names. However, ideally you would…

Be open to letting me use the makeover in some other form. If this works well on the blog I might like to do an audio or video version. Not 100% sure yet, but I’d like to have it as a possibility.

Anyway, if that sounds good and you’d like to share your story, please let me know! You can email me at laura at lauravanderkam dot com. Just let me know a few details about your life and what you’re looking for so we can figure out if it’s a good fit. Thanks for considering it!

Photo: Unrelated image of El Capitan at sunset from my recent Yosemite trip

16 thoughts on “Looking for a time makeover? Call for participants for a future blog series

  1. I would def be interested in participating in the time study! I sent a message with more info through your website contact page. I am in a place in my life where I thought I would have the time to devote to doing something new and I feel like the time just goes poof and I am not accomplishing what I need to accomplish to meet my goals! Help!

  2. I would be very interested!! I’m 27, full time sales engineer, recently married, and moving into a new home with my husband and my dog. I’d love to talk more about what is bothering me about my current schedule and how I’d like to see it evolve!! Please let me know the best way to reach out!

  3. Hi Laura – I am interested in this, but the email address doesn’t seem to be in the post. Let me know if you can send it via email. Thanks!

  4. I just sent an email. It’s a little longer than I wanted, but…I’m 30, a new mom, and I’m a freelance writer. My husband and I just bought land to build a cabin next year, my work is getting really busy, and I’m trying to find more time without giving up the occasional day trip we love taking.

  5. I hope this doesn’t hijack the post.
    I would love to sign up for this, but I have never been able to track my time for a week. I have tried a few times and none were a success. How does one track time for a whole week successfully? You have written that now it’s habitual and routine for you. But how did you get to that point?

    1. @Mushky- great question, not hijacking the post at all. I often wind up choosing more people than I need for these projects precisely because not everyone finishes. I understand – stuff comes up, life gets complicated, etc. Time-tracking is a skill like anything else, albeit a very simple one. It’s also a habit, and it takes a while to get into a routine.

      One little hack is to start with yesterday, rather than today. Most people can remember yesterday with reasonable accuracy (which is an interesting phenomenon — why is the day before yesterday gone, but yesterday still there?). So if you start with yesterday, then you’ve already got a day, and today you’re motivated for, so right there you’ve got 2 days. This feels like progress!

      While you’re getting in the habit, it can also help to set reminders. It could be an alarm that goes off 3-4 times per day to nudge you to check in. Or it could be some trigger (like every time you go to the bathroom).

      It also helps to remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Broad categories (“work,” “hangout with kids”) are fine. And if you can’t recall a few hours, it might be better to keep going rather than to stop the whole week. It’s OK if 4 hours are missing from 168. Most likely you spent them fairly similarly to the other 164 🙂

      1. Thank you for your response. 🙂 It is a habit, and I have not been so successful in building better habits in the past year. Part of the reason, probably, is because I am writing some detail. It is hard to tell myself to be more general and abstract. So that won’t change. I am going to put alarms on my phone to remind me to track time during the day.
        I see you have gotten a lot of responses, so I don’t think I will send in my time log. (Don’t worry, it is probably on the boring side.)I am not sure how comfortable I am with my details of my kids’ lives in the public.

  6. Laura, I wanted to thank you for the time makeover you did for me some years back, my schedule is very different now with time ratios of my two jobs significantly changed, but doing that original tweak has inspired me to do a time evaluation three times a year as a regular part of my routine (at beginning of each semester and summer). Learning to watch my time closely assisted me in changing jobs, turning down opportunities that sounded good but were not and in general achieving a life where I don’t feel like I’m constantly being run by the clock, but instead feeling in charge of my time. I highly recommend the time makeover to everyone.
    Since time management is component of the class I’m teaching this semester I also decided to institute a new extra credit assignment asking students to keep a time log and time how long school related tasks take and then figure out an optimal work/homework schedule for the semester. Given that everyone loves extra credit I hope to spread some of your time wisdom this way.

    1. @Morana – wow, I’m so glad to hear the time makeover was helpful! I think we can all benefit from paying attention to time. I’ve certainly found that tracking keeps me focused and accountable – and also helps me find more space for fun.

    2. Wow! That’s a great idea . For the past 3 years I have followed a professional organizer and she was the first one to introduce me to the idea of 3 years in one. Which makes sense because it was how I grew up in school / my career in retail management (very seasonal&semestery) & now as a mom where my live is lived with the school year creating natural horizons. Even if I am not chosen for this makeover I am going to try tracking my time for 2 weeks now that school and activities are back on. Thank you for the idea that perhaps one wouldn’t need to track time forever but for a seasonal reset.

  7. Hi Laura,

    Just a quick question to ask whether you will let people know if you won’t be including them in the time makeover series. It’d be nice to know either way

    1. @Megan – I selected a handful of folks to start on the project. But I may need more depending on if I expand this a bit. I am still wading through the hundreds of emails (I am thrilled there was this much interest!!), but I hope to respond to everyone individually in the next few weeks…

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