Since I started writing about time, I’d tracked my time here and there. I’ve looked at thousands of other time logs over the years, so this only seemed fair! But then in April 2015, I began a larger project: tracking my time, continuously. I originally planned to do a month. That stretched into a year. (I suspected I could write about it somewhere…and I did!)
I am about to hit the five year mark now. Yep, I have a record of how I’ve spent every half hour for the past five years. Time tracking has become just a part of my life. I don’t find it onerous. I generally have my spreadsheet open on my laptop. I check in a few times per day, and write down what I’ve done since the last check-in. If I don’t wish to open my laptop for some reason (weekend/holiday/etc.) I’ll keep notes on a piece of paper and then transfer them in later. I can reconstruct up to about 24 hours with reasonable accuracy, though I tend not to let it go that long.
There are some interesting parallels between now and five years ago. I have had babies both times who are about the same age (3.5 months). I can see their feeding/sleeping schedules settling into something more regular. Of course, back then I actually left the house on occasion, something that’s absent from my current life. On the plus side, though, we’re eating family dinner seven days a week, with a reasonable number of family lunches and family breakfasts too.
For the past two years, I haven’t really been adding up totals for hours spent on various categories. At this point my logs serve more of a diary function. It was fun to look at the week of spring break last year to compare it to this one. While I vaguely remember plenty about that week, seeing the log makes the memories far more concrete. I’m also glad I have a record of exactly how I spent the first few weeks of kid #5’s life. It’s the sort of data that’s seldom collected — but could be of interest in the future.
If you’ve never tried tracking time, I highly recommend it. (That link will take you to my time-tracking spreadsheets that you can download). You don’t have to track five years (though you could! It really isn’t that hard!) But tracking a week is good. Tracking a week every few months could give you a good picture of life — and preserve memories that you can then conjure up later.
Photos: The top one is kid #5, the one in the post is kid #4…bit of a brotherly resemblance!