2022 Time Tracking Challenge: Day 2

The day is far from over, but I am going to give up my laptop shortly for reasons described later, so I’m going to go ahead and post this now.

Last night I got the kids into their rooms around 9 p.m. for their reading time (or iPad time…I don’t police it too closely for the older ones). I puttered around the house doing various unpacking things. I had intended to watch the football game with my husband but that never really happened. I turned lights out for the kids by 10 and then showered and read a book I’m reviewing until 10:45. I was probably asleep around 11, with two wake-ups for the bathroom: midnight and 5 a.m. The midnight one was somewhat ridiculous but I’ve been drinking a lot of water as we figure out how to make this house less dry so there we go.

I woke up with my alarm at 6:30 a.m. I got dressed and got the teenager up. He was not easy to move and there was a lot of complaining. Eventually he came downstairs for his waffle and fruit. The baby was up at 6:45, so he joined us. My husband took the dog out and loaded him and the teenager up for their school/doggie day care run. I fed the baby while drinking my coffee, and reading various newsletters. Then I got the 12-year-old up at 7:20. He was also hard to move. He had breakfast and I noticed various contractor trucks showing up in my driveway. My husband came back to get the 12-year-old around 7:45 and took him to school. I got everyone else up by 8, and when B (nanny) came I went to finish getting ready before I lost by bedroom and bathroom to workmen for the day. I also started some laundry.

At 8:30 I was ensconced in my office. I read my little bit of Shakespeare, and then settled in to work on editing Tranquility by Tuesday — interspersed with contractor questions. I turned the gas fireplace on in my office, which was quite cozy and made me excited about when the office is completely set up! Editing with a fire going in the fireplace is definitely better than editing without a fire on a cold winter day.

At 11:30 I ran an errand over to my old house. It was strange to walk around the place when it was empty! I took a quick tour for nostalgia’s sake, circling the backyard too.

Then it was back to the house for lunch (leftovers from Sunbasket Kit #1), and more work. I set up a recording area in my office closet so I could be interviewed for a podcast at 1 p.m. I finished that around 1:40, and recorded ads for Before Breakfast and Best of Both Worlds, and then recorded the five episodes of Before Breakfast I had written yesterday. I think the set-up works, though we’ll see how it sounds when I listen to the files.

I worked until 2:45, at which point I went for my “move by 3 p.m.” walk. This week is going to be terrible for running between the move and the cold, but I am at least getting my steps. I walked for 20 minutes, said goodbye to the workmen, and then got a flurry of texts from the teenager. The upshot is that he needed to be picked up at 3:45, not 4:30. B went to get the elementary kids, and I had a very small window of time before I had to leave and a question of what to do with it.

My solution: Play the piano! I played a few Debussy pieces for 10 minutes, then went to retrieve the 14-year-old. We came home, and I used my next 10 minute window to order a birthday present for one of my daughter’s friends. Then I drove to the middle school to pick up the 12-year-old from an after-school activity. I was home at 4:30, which gave me 20 minutes to work before the next run. I edited a few pages (no fire this time).

I left at 4:55 to take the 10-year-old to karate. The 14-year-old tagged along because I had told him (in our flurry of texts) that if he came he could go to the Target Starbucks again. So, there we were, a mere 24 hours after our last visit. At least this time I bought groceries before we got our lemonades and I did *not* spill on my car mat. He was good company and the excursion was better than scrolling on my phone during the lesson.

I intended to watch the last 15 minutes of karate (5:45-6:00 p.m.) but my daughter turned out to be missing the proper weapon (double numchucks…) so I had to stop by the office to purchase those for her. The three of us drove home, parked in the far spot, and shivered all the way into the house.

B had cooked dinner for those of us who were home (my husband was taking the 6-year-old to his karate class — we often tag team on these so the other kid doesn’t have to stick around for an extra hour — a perk of my husband traveling much less these days). This was Sunbasket Kit #2 — a nice chicken Romesco. I took over with the toddler and am writing this while he watches Blippi in the makeshift computer area.

I’ll probably get the toddler ready for bed soon, and hand over my laptop to the teenager, who has online math tutoring at 8 p.m. We have other devices but I am pretty sure the second laptop is still packed away. And I should probably use the time to unpack my boxes to maintain my box-unpacking rate.

Looking back at the day, it was good to fit in the little treats of the fire in my fireplace and playing the piano, even if only for 10 minutes. Those are activities that can fit into a normal day. It was good that I got outside for 20 minutes even though it is bitterly cold. And the Target Starbucks trip was fun too — I enjoy spending one-on-one time with the kids as they’re getting older and I’m happy that they’re willing to do so.

How has your day been going? Any patterns you’re noticing? Any little treats you’ve fit into the time confetti of your day?

16 thoughts on “2022 Time Tracking Challenge: Day 2

  1. First off, thanks for putting this challenge together, and writing about each day in detail. It really helps me to see how others are reflecting on and using their time!

    One thing I try to do each morning is a routine including a quick meditation (10 minutes), journaling (10-15 minutes), reading (15-30 minutes), and preparing for the day with a 15 minute block of time called “MeStandup.” This is where I go through phone notifications (so I don’t do it first thing waking up, or slowly and mindlessly throughout the day), calendar, and a checklist of things I want to get done. Luckily my wife takes care of taking my daughter to school in the morning (I do pickup) so I can focus on these things right when getting out of bed.

    Another thing I realize I try to do is batch like tasks together. So, for example, if I have some checklist things which are quick like sending an email, making a phone call, or booking an appointment, I’ll try to carve out 15 minutes to do them all at once.

    I really like your idea of filling time with little treats. I need to be better at making time to do this for myself. I noticed looking back there’s not a lot of “fun” activities in my day. I feel good about what I got accomplished, but often don’t feel like there’s much that brings me spontaneous joy (like your example of the piano). I tend to gravitate more to what I planned for the day and that’s it. :/

    1. @Derrick – thanks for participating in the challenge! Yep, little treats are great. I think of this as upgrading my bits of time. It’s very easy to use them to scroll but there are so many other things you can do too. Like play the piano. Turn on a gas fireplace and sit beside it. Go for a quick stomp in the snowy woods. I am a big fan of effortful fun!

  2. I have been really enjoying my morning routine these days, a cup of tea, a chapter of war and peace (which I’m loving, thanks so much for the inspiration) and the wordle. And my husband and I are taking advantage of wfh (we are online for January so no travel for me) to have lunch together and do the spelling bee. I’ve quit all my social media distractions for the month and spelling bee scratches that itch.

    1. @Cb – I’m happy to hear the W&P morning ritual is working! It really is a good book and for the most part is worth reading and savoring at that slow a pace.

  3. I’ve been enjoying this challenge! I’ve tried to track my time before, and it is showing me what I thought. I’m pleased to see I’m spending good time on priorities, but I’m also seeing some areas that could use improvement. It’s interesting how our time commitments change with the seasons, too. Note that my kids are 10 and 13 I am not needed as much as before, as far as helping them be human. 😀
    Keep up the good work! I am a silent lurker from many years ago and I enjoy your content.

  4. I am participating but came down with COVID on Monday so my time is being spent much differently than a usual week. I may do it again next week once my schedule is more normal.

    Good idea to add in little treats. I like to do that on the days I work from home. Thanks for the encouragement to track time.

    1. Hope you feel better, Joy. My family went through this first week of 2022 (last week) and it was quite disruptive – we had all these plans on how we wanted to start 2022. Most importantly, I hope you get better, but also acknowledging it can be just as disruptive with routines and overall motivation. For me, it was emotionally draining!! Feel better soon and hope by next week things are back to “normal”! 🙂

    2. Joy, I am in the same boat. My husband got it last week Thursday, then our oldest son Monday and myself yesterday. I’m not happy about being home and away from work – I was already behind and this week will put me even further behind, and unfortunately I can’t work from home. I’m trying to not think about it too much though…
      On the plus side, I’m able to get some things done at home, like decluttering and cleaning, etc. So I guess it’s not a total loss?
      I hope you feel better soon!

      1. Thanks for the well wishes.

        Fortunately, my positions allows work from home so I’m putting in half days and then taking time to rest and recover. Im trying to maintain some semblance of structure for sake of sanity.

  5. This is great, thank you for doing this challenge. I love hearing how people use their time. I am especially impressed with the parent and nanny balancing you seem to do with the 5 kids. It sounds like a healthy sharing of responsibilities, but I know all days probably don’t go as smoothly as this one. Just curious, but is the nanny primarily tasked with the toddler, and you and your husband share duties for the older children?

    Childcare is one of those topics that is always relevant because needs are constantly changing it seems!

    1. @Lori C- That is something of the split. Her primary job responsibility is the toddler. We tend to divvy up the after school driving and interaction. I aim to do the bulk of my focused work between 8-3:30 and any time I get outside of that is a bonus since the kids are around and in general I aim to do stuff with the older kids when it’s possible.

  6. The one pattern I’m noticing so far is the effect that sleep — or lack thereof — has on my entire day. I was up late on Sunday night trying to finish an activity for class the next day, and got just under 6 hours of sleep as opposed to my usual 7+. Not only was I very unproductive on Monday, but I was nearly equally unproductive on Tuesday! (Luckily I seem to have mostly gotten back on track today, Wednesday.)

    1. @Amy – sleep is huge for me too. I am not myself after not sleeping and I feel it. A good thing to notice!

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