2022 Time Tracking Challenge: Day 1

I hope everyone’s time-tracking experience is going well! Have you remembered to check in a few times? Have you written down what you were doing? It doesn’t have to be perfect. “Work” works, and “Kids” is fine if you’re just generally hanging out with them. My time log has a lot of “unpack” on it!

If you haven’t checked in, go ahead and do so now. It becomes a lot harder to reconstruct time after a day. It’s OK if you miss a few hours and have to approximate — getting back on track is more important than total accuracy.

Here’s how I spent the rest of the day. After working until 11:45 a.m. or so, I drove to our local Massage Envy for my once-every-month-or-so massage. After days of lifting boxes and sleeping on an air mattress I really felt like I needed it. It was also nice to turn my phone off for an hour.

I left at 1:00 and drove home to find a flurry of contractors in my driveway. The dented oven was being removed. A team had come to move the theater room chairs from the garage up to the third floor movie room. Alas, they decided the job required something beyond what they had and so the chairs are still in my garage. So much for the 10-2 window that had been moved from 8-12…

I made my lunch, and the toddler and our nanny came home from their morning activities. He sat with me and then demanded mommy milk, so I complied, reading part of Henry VI Part 1 while doing so (this is the second play in my year-long Shakespeare reading project. I finished Twelfth Night last week. I have to admit that I did not know Shakespeare wrote a play with Joan of Arc as a major character…).

This took me to 2:15. I worked until 2:45, when I noted it was almost 3:00, and I’m aiming to “move by 3 p.m.” every day. So I went for a quick walk around the yard, and then down the hill to meet the teenager’s bus. I saw a crew of young people get off so I kind of ducked behind a bush lest it be the wrong thing to meet him but he was totally fine with walking with me up the hill and chatting.

I intended to get back to work then (3:10) and I answered a few emails but then I got a call from the 12-year-old…who told me he had missed his new bus. I guess it loads from a different part of the school than the old one. So I drove over to the middle school to fetch him from the office (our nanny was getting the elementary school kids and my husband was on a call). We were home around 3:40, at which point I helped him with his math homework (we have a standing date to do this every Monday afternoon…to make sure it happens).

This took me to 4:15. I went back to my office but it was hard to concentrate with all the boxes. So I unpacked until 4:40 when I took the 12-year-old to fencing. The 14-year-old had asked to go to Starbucks, so I figured since I wasn’t getting anything done anyway, he could tag along and we’d go during fencing (5-6).

We did, and it was nice. I had a almond milk latte — something I have never ordered before and sounded ridiculous to me, but hey, no dairy is no dairy. My son and I chatted in the Starbucks (we could sit far away from everyone) and then we drove back to fencing to fetch the 12-year-old. I had gotten a hot chocolate for him and a strawberry acai lemonade for our nanny…which spilled all over the floor of the car when I turned down the hill from fencing and I had thought someone was holding on to the drink carrier. Nope.

I pulled up to the house at 6:20 and proceeded to pick up all the ice off the floor mat. I can tell you that handling ice in 20 degree weather with bare hands is a great way to get my cold hives.

Our nanny had cooked dinner from the Sunbasket meal kit, with pasta for the non-salmon-eating kids. We all sat down to family dinner at 6:30, which lasted until about 6:40. People pop up quickly. Blink and you miss it. We cleaned up, and I took over with the toddler, taking him up for a bath. The playing (with help from the 10-year-old) lasted until 7:30, at which point I fed the toddler, rocked him, and put him down in his crib by 8:00.

My husband and I spent a few minutes chatting and unpacking more boxes (the required rate is one per person per day…) and I’ve been typing this as we’ve got the national championship college football game on in the background. I’ll start bringing the other kids up around 8:45/9:00 and people will read until lights out time. Basically all four big kids are now going to bed around 10:00. Theoretically the 6-year-old should go to bed earlier but he doesn’t need to be up until 8:00, and he likes reading in his room, so I tend to let him. Currently, a 10:00 bedtime means 8.5 hours of sleep for the 14-year-old, 9-9.25 hours for the 12-year-old, and 10 hours for the 10- and 6-year-olds. I’ve been aiming to shower before bed since the mornings just tend to be hectic. My bedtime is supposed to be 10:30 p.m. We will see if I make it! I also really need to get some more work done tomorrow. I think my total was about 4 hours today. Yikes.

Photo: Starbucks run. One of these lemonades is now all over the floor of the car…



18 thoughts on “2022 Time Tracking Challenge: Day 1

  1. I’m glad to be tracking my time this week because today seemed not so good, but I actually had quite a few good things happen. I think I would have only remembered the bad. I got to go on an impromptu date with my husband and I found an out of print board game I have been wanting and it wasn’t outrageously priced! I also made some progress at work.

    On the other hand, my 4th graders class is closed because they have 7 kids positive for covid. We didn’t find that out until after he was already dropped off, so I had to go get him around 11 and of course he isn’t going back to school this week. My teen had covid last week and went back to school today and had “the worst” day and said he has never been so stressed. I think he is still tired from the covid, and overwhelmed with the work he has to make up. I spent some time trying to figure out how to help him.

    1. @Jessica – any given day does tend to have some good and some bad, and it is helpful to see both! Hope everyone is back and happy in school soon.

  2. I could not stop thinking about your quote “time is elastic”. I had an urgent request from my boss which required 4 hours of my day. 4 hours I did not have, or thought so, but time stretched to accommodate the priority #1. Thanks for inviting us to this challenge!

    1. @Ly- yep, time is elastic. When you have to find the time, you find the time! The key is to do that for things that don’t come with alarm bells ringing.

  3. Hiding behind the bush, that’s adorable. The new teaching term doesn’t start til the end of the month so I’m not travelling this month, so I nursery drop off on my bike, work, with a few loads of laundry between work, a quick lunch with my husband as we are both WFH, more work, although I wasn’t feeling the writing I was supposed to do, so I dealt with admin for study abroad and wrote 75% of a lecture so the day wasn’t a total loss. My husband started stripping wallpaper and we ended up chatting about some home DIY. Then he joined me and we picked up kiddo from nursery on our bikes. The nursery run doubles as exercise time, it’s 3 miles round trip, 2x a day. Then I did bedtime, folded some laundry, did some admin and did Spelling Bee with my husband.

    I find a high level overview of my week, months, and year really helpful, I travel for work “a lot” but what does that mean? Our wall calendar says it’s actually not that bad, 3 nights a week for 10 weeks, and then I’ll be home for 8 weeks in a row. I’m not always gone, despite what my brain and judgmental relations might say.

    1. @Cb – I do think it’s helpful to look at something like the travel schedule in context. Three nights a week for 10 weeks, twice a year would be 60 nights. There are 365 days in a year. That means you are gone less than one-sixth of the time. (12/73rds to be exact…)

      1. Right? It’ll probably end up being more than that, but even doubling my time away would be 1/3 of the time. I asked the bluntest nursery teacher if my son was coping alright with me being away and she said he just brags about how I go to work on an airplane (and buy him lego magazines in the airport bookshop). I have significant flexibility when I’m not on campus and 35 vacation/holiday days a year so it seems to be working.

  4. I am reminded when I time track in January how much quieter my office is vs. in say, September. This annual pattern of less work at the beginning of the year is something I could take advantage of…

    I too get cold urticaria. Winters in the northeast are not great for it.

    1. @Gillian – yes, it can be helpful to see patterns like this. Busy seasons can be planned for and then less busy seasons can be optimized!

    2. I didn’t realize that was the official name! I get that too, but only on one spot. My kids call it my “cold spot”

  5. What a busy day – I honestly felt exhausted just reading about it!

    I’m currently doing the line-a-day journal (but it’s actually about 5 lines long and I am FILLING those pages up)!!! It really is amazing how much can get fit into a day.

    1. @Elisabeth – the days do feel long right now but partly that is about settling into new routines. Things should be more calm when things are more set…

  6. I am on the other end of the kid spectrum. On Sunday, I drove with one of my twins back to college and then flew home…yes all in the same day! My other one had already left several days before his brother. So I came home to a hot mess of a very lonely and quiet house! LOL! BUT I had several projects already lined up (mostly cleaning and de-Christmas-ing) the house…which came in handy and gave me time to get caught up on podcasts! I am trying some new planning systems this year so that is another thing that I am working on. It’s amazing how much time you can spend (waste?) on social media when the house is quiet and you don’t look at your list of things you WANT to do! Best wishes for a smooth unpacking!

  7. One thing I find interesting about doing time-tracking is that I think I am less prone to procrastinate, since I have to write down where my time went (even though it is just for me to see)!

    1. @Melissa- definitely! I track all my time but I know I’m being more mindful of my time since I’m sharing these time logs publicly!

  8. @Laura – your day was both exhausting and relatable! We have not moved recently, but have a million things on the go regardless. It’s tough sometimes. I’ve taken to identifying certain days where I try my utmost to avoid personal interruptions to the work day and others where I accept this will happen more often. Regarding the 10 pm bedtime, my kids are all definitely shifting a lot later in their bedtimes, and I find it really disruptive, actually. My oldest (17 yo) goes to bed later than I do, and has done so for a while. 15 yo around the same time as me. (I sometimes fall asleep in her bed watching Emily in Paris). But now even the 12 yo and 6 yo are going to bed later, and I hate it. I have lost all me time (and a lot of my daily errand time)! I wish they’d at least lie in bed reading, but the 6 yo is still a beginner reader, and the 12 yo is the only of my kids who doesn’t like to read. (Sob!) Happy to hear any tips about how to make this less disruptive…maybe it’s just about acceptance and a change in attitude.

    1. @Rinna – I hear you on the late bedtimes. I’ve been trying to enforce being in their rooms after 9. So then there is some time where kids are not roaming free around the house. I make the little guy look at books but the others I don’t push too hard. If they have good books they’ll read them. My husband usually reads to the 10-year-old. My general thought is you can do what you want 9-10 but don’t bug me. Then I’ll start enforcing things…

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