I’ve been tracking my time on weekly spreadsheets since April 2015. At the beginning, I did a lot of time analysis. For the past two years, I’ve done a lot less. I view the logs more as a record of my life. I could go in and analyze after the fact, but it’s not my main focus. (As a side note, I’m not using the spreadsheets as true spreadsheets — I don’t code activities exactly the same way so the spreadsheet can tally them up. I view them as semi-narrative and then I do the math myself.)
However, if you’re new to tracking time, I definitely recommend figuring out how many hours you’re devoting to life’s major categories. Sometimes it’s eye-opening — in various ways! Things that seem to consume a lot of time might not. Things that you don’t think about as much might take more time than you imagine.
(I feel that way whenever I get Apple’s “screen time” report on my iPhone…)
Anyway, I ran a Time-Tracking Challenge last week…or at least tried to. A reasonable number of people who signed up didn’t get their emails, which are going out this week. This week is fine to track too — there are no typical weeks. This may especially be true when we’re tracking (or tracking publicly in my case). I was better about doing interesting things because I knew I’d be writing about it.
So, how did I spend my 168 hours?
I worked for 31.5 hours. I knew it would be south of 40; the big kids’ virtual/hybrid schooling means they’re around more, and so I tend to take much longer lunches than I would if they weren’t here. I have been doing most of the activity driving. Nursing takes time, and I’ve given up doing anything but scrolling around on my phone while doing that. During the time that I am “on” with the baby, there is no possibility of doing much but watching him, so weekend/evening time is less available too. While I did do the “split shift” this past week most nights, some of that was a bit meta, in that I was writing blog posts at night about my time during the day. In any case, this volume of work hours seems to be enough for now. I made my income goal for 2020, so I’m just not going to worry about it.
I slept for 50 hours during the week. This comes out to 7.14 hours/day, which is in the range of my past long-term averages (7.3-7.4 hours/day). It felt like less, because it was so disjointed. But I seem to have a pretty strong catch-up impulse. If I had a bad night, I’d go to bed the next night at 10 rather than 10:45. I took a short nap on Sunday when that was a possibility. I managed to get the baby back down in the mornings sometimes and catch another 30-60 minutes of sleep then.
If I worked 31.5 hours and slept for 50, this leaves 86.5 hours for other things — not a small number. What did I do with this time?
I spent 2.5 hours of it at art museums. I will admit that this was definitely a function of public tracking — I wanted to be sure I did some cool stuff during the week. Seeing the Anne Wyeth McCoy doll house (and some Andrew Wyeth paintings) and then all the Renoirs, Cezannes, etc. at the Barnes counts as cool in my book. So I planned a Tuesday adventure of going to the Brandywine River Museum of Art and then on Saturday my husband and I went to the Barnes as our date. I also spent about 3 hours driving to and from art museums!
I spent 2.75 hours building Lego creations with my kids. This allowed for some one-on-one time with the 11-year-old, the 9-year-old, and the 5-year-old. How this usually works is that I find the pieces in the bags, so they can do the steps efficiently. Astute readers may recall that I marveled at an engineer’s 2 hours of Legos with her kids on an I Know How She Does It time log. Guess I’ve now topped that. I didn’t do any of my puzzle, but I’ve now spent about 2.5 hours on it this week and finished it yesterday, so I guess I was just substituting one thing for another.
I ran five times. Three of these were morning runs, and two happened around mid-day. I’ve been semi-following the Many Happy Miles training plan from Another Mother Runner, and so two of these were higher quality runs than I might have done on my own. On Monday morning I did some hill repeats by a nearby park to start off the day. And on Friday, I did speed intervals on the treadmill. On Sunday morning I ran to the new house, circled the yard and ran home. It’s fun to go see the place and imagine what it will be like to live there (when this gigantic renovation is over…)
I played the piano for thirty minutes at the new house — that was definitely out of the ordinary, but something I’d like to do more often.
I aim to spend some one-on-one time with all of the kids. The baby gets his time just by virtue of being little and needy. I read stories to the 5-year-old all seven nights of the week. Guess we are consistent! We did some driveway scootering and went to the playground on the weekend too. I had some chats in the car and before bed with the 9-year-old, in addition to Lego time. She also will keep me company when I’m watching the baby in the baby area. I did some Legos with the 11-year-old, and we went on two walks together. I also took him to the park to meet a friend. I don’t see too much time with the 13-year-old on my log for the week. I know we ate lunch together one day, and sometimes we’ll chat before bed, but he’s the one that I probably need to aim for more time with.
I read seven chapters in War and Peace, and did my free writing ritual and strength-training ritual all seven days. I did some cooking and cleaning, though not as much as it felt like.
I also spent a lot of time scrolling around on my phone — deleting email newsletters, checking coronavirus case counts and the number of people vaccinated, looking at the news ten minutes after looking at it before. I did not use my time in the car at kid activities particularly well. I didn’t do any of the house projects I hoped to (organizing kid clothes and the mudroom). I wish I’d had less disjointed sleep, because it puts me in a bad mood, even when the day is going pretty well. The weekend in particular suffered from this phenomenon.
If you tracked your time last week (or this week!) feel free to share any of your findings. Or let me know about being a potential Reader Case Study!