Welcome back to the first work day of the new year! There will be 8760 hours in 2021. We are approximately 81 hours into the new year as I’m writing this. Have you thought about how you’ll spend the next 8679…?
I’ve put some thought into it, though probably not as much as I could. However, I know that, come 2022, I’ll most likely know how I spent all 8760 hours, because I’ve been tracking my time for almost six years now. I write down what I’m doing on weekly spreadsheets, with 336 cells representing half-hour blocks of the 168-hour week.
If you’ve never tried tracking your time before, I highly recommend it. (You can download my spreadsheet templates here.) Time passes whether we think about how we’re spending it or not. So it’s very easy to spend time mindlessly. We also develop stories about our lives that may or may not be true. When we know where the time truly goes, we can make wise choices about it.
You don’t need to track for six years to get reasonable insights. A week is a pretty good picture of life. Even if you track your work time religiously, tracking your non-work time is useful too. Not because I believe in playing “gotcha.” I will be the first to admit that I waste plenty of time. Instead, tracking time has helped me see that I do have time for things I want to do. Back in pre-covid times, time-tracking helped me see that I did have time to sing in my church choir. I could also tackle big books. It was possible to run every day for three years.
In any case, I’m running a time-tracking challenge this week. I’ll be posting some aspects of my logs, and what I’ve learned, on this blog. If you’re reading this, now is a good time to start. My time logs start Monday at 5 a.m. — so what have you done since then? Write this down. Check in again today around 5 p.m., and then again before bed. Then tomorrow, do a mid-morning check in, a 5 p.m. check in, and one before bed. Keep going until next Monday at 5 a.m. and then you can figure out what you like (which you can celebrate!) and what you don’t. Simple as that.
If you’ve tracked your time before, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned! Apparently I need 7.3-7.4 hours of sleep per day. My averages year after year wind up right in there….
Photo: Time log. Every week it starts blank…it will be filled with something. What will you fill your 168 hours with?