2022 Time Tracking Challenge: Day 5

If you are participating in the time tracking challenge this week, congrats on making it through the work week! You may be tempted to stop, but weekends are an important part of life. This is real time, and it really counts. So try to keep going, even if the external structures of work and school aren’t in place. If you forget what you’re doing for a few hours, it’s OK. Just approximate and pick back up when you can.

After I posted last night, we had a bit of an episode. I knew the dog had gotten out of his gates — I had seen him upstairs and the 12-year-old had hauled him back down to the dog area of the house. But then when I went to put the 6-year-old to bed, I smelled something hideous. Sure enough, the dog had left a “present” on the brand new rug. I was pretty upset about this, even if it was easy enough to clean up (or for my husband to clean up as the case may be). He is mostly house trained but I guess the new house is messing with everyone’s routines.

Anyway, after that, I made sure everyone was in their room, I read the book I am reviewing for half an hour, turned out lights for the kids (10:00) and then showered and got into bed by 10:45. I believe I woke up at some point for the bathroom but I didn’t look at the time.

We set the alarms a little later since the older boys had virtual school for the half day. Our district tends to have half days before long weekends, and as part of their Covid management (meaning, a shortage of bus drivers and building staff) they’ve been having grades 6-12 do these half days virtually. The upside is that I set my alarm for 7:00 and slept until then. I got ready, got the baby out of his crib, and got the 14-year-old up to sign into his virtual class at 7:30. The 6-year-old also got up early, and came to snuggle with me while I was nursing the baby. It was very sweet. My husband took off with the dog for doggie daycare and I got the 12-year-old up for breakfast. He watched Blippi with the toddler, which was also very sweet, until he had to sign onto his class.

In the meantime, I watched a giant machine pull up my driveway. We were having a gas fireplace installed in the master bedroom, which required some work on the chimney, which is, curiously enough, something like 50 feet in the air. The crew had shown up a few weeks earlier with a 40-foot ladder, which had sent our construction supervisor into all sorts of fits of unhappiness, and so they were coming back for the job today with a lift that actually reached high enough. Also, a crew came at 9 a.m. to move the theater chairs from the garage to the third floor after the Monday crew had declined to do the job. And there was a furniture delivery in the afternoon.

So! Busy day at the house. B came at 8 and got the elementary kids off to school. I managed to read my Shakespeare, and work on my Friday punch list on and off until 11:45, with various interruptions for contractor stuff. (I “batch the little things” — meaning anything non-urgent that needs to get done is tackled in one fell swoop on Fridays, rather than trying to do it during peak work days). I was interviewed for a podcast from 11-11:40 and I’m happy to report that my office closet is in fact quiet, even with seemingly hundreds of construction professionals in my house and that 50-foot lift beeping outside my office window.

I got lunch, worked on and off, dealt with the furniture delivery (including my new desk, pictured!) and so on until 1:15 when I paused to prepare my 6-year-old’s Nerf gun for his evening activity. He’s signed up for a parents-night-out event at his karate studio called “Nerf Wars,” and he needed his Nerf gun and his Nerf bullets labeled. He and the 12-year-old are my two boys who are into weaponry, but after some unacceptable behavior a while back I had confiscated all Nerf guns and put them away. They only come out for special occasions, but an official “Nerf Wars” event qualifies. So there I was, labeling styrofoam bullets. Good times.

I then continued to work on and off through the afternoon, pausing to go inspect the theater room chairs with our construction supervisor. They are really cool! Two of the kids are watching Hotel Transylvania tonight in them, and several played Mario Kart in them this afternoon. There are two rows, with the second higher than the first, and the seats recline. I think there are even lights in the cupholders.

I worked until 2:55, then stopped to do my obligatory “move by 3 p.m.” walk. It was nice to stomp around the neighborhood and the yard and so I’m glad I am trying to follow my own rules this week because I returned ready to keep working until 5:00. From 4:30-5:00 I sat on the bedroom balcony watching the sunset while working. It was cold! But I made it through my manuscript. I have a few sections I will revisit next week, but mostly good.

B had taken the three younger kids to gymnastics (the 10-year-old and 6-year-old had class; the 2-year-old just tagged along). I ordered pizza in advance of their return at 5:25. Friday is usually make-your-own-pizza night in our house, but we don’t have an oven, so it is order-pizza night until that gets installed. They came home, B left, and I fed the kids the pizza when it came (with my husband coming home from work with the dog after picking him up from doggie day care). He was home for all of 15 minutes — enough time to carry the 14-year-old’s box spring upstairs — before taking the 6-year-old to his Nerf War event and fetching a friend of another child to come back here, dropping that child off, and heading to the gym.

I thought about ordering sushi for myself (I can’t eat pizza without sad consequences) but my frugal gene prevailed and I made myself scrambled eggs instead. I ate that while supervising the toddler who was watching Blippi, and typing this. I’ll likely put the toddler to bed in 30 minutes or so. It’s not going to be a terribly exciting Friday night but we have some more adventures planned for the weekend so it all comes out in the wash. And I’m making progress on the boxes! I unpacked a few more today. Progress. Getting the theater chairs installed and my new desk was a big win.

How was your Friday? Do you have fun things planned for the weekend?

7 thoughts on “2022 Time Tracking Challenge: Day 5

  1. I’ve enjoyed seeing photos of your new home. Your office setup looks amazing! And boy do I hear you on labeling styrofoam darts—many times I find myself doing the oddest things for a kid activity…

  2. Oh Nerf darts…thankfully the phase seems to be over for the present. I’d find them…everywhere. I never did have to label them individually, though!
    The desk looks great and how lovely to be looking out such a bright window. Seeing nature while at work will be lovely (I think you had this sort of setup in your old home as well?)! I often skip our basement office for working at our very spacious/bright dining room just so I can see the outdoors.
    We got a giant snowstorm overnight, so Saturday’s activity will be shoveling and trying to convince the kids to go for an outdoor walk with me.

  3. I love your office setup, too. Those shelves and that window! My home office is possibly my favorite room in the house, so I hope you enjoy yours :).
    One of the things I’ve found most helpful about time tracking this time is the idea that midweek is on Thursday! All is not lost if you don’t finish your to-do list by Friday. One of my major goals this week has been to clean up that home office, which became, shall we say, “disorganized,” during the last couple of weeks of the year. I want to spend less time moving piles of papers around and more time writing and pursuing writing jobs. I’m going to wrap up the office purge on Saturday and Sunday so I’m ready to go on Monday. It should only take an hour or two to finish, leaving me plenty of time for other pursuits–including an outing to a bonsai garden center and dinner out with my husband on Sunday to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

  4. This is the first time I’ve lasted longer than one day for your time tracking challenge! I think it helps that I am at a desk more & can update more often. I’m looking forward to analyzing my results.

    All of your home renovation posts are hitting home. We are about to start a major home reno project of our entire first floor. The logistics and choices are overwhelming (and time consuming)! I’m sure you’ll breathe a sigh of relief once it’s finally finished.

    1. @Amy – I hope I get to breathe a sigh of relief at some point but I assume as we’re “done” we’ll have to redo something else…who knows. It is overwhelming at times. I hope you make it through OK. In most cases if you wind up hating something it can be changed.

  5. I’ve read your blog for years and all of the books, but until today it had not occurred to me that “batch the small things” could apply to my work tasks as well as personal. In my last job, that was never a problem but my new job is more challenging and demanding. I found myself frustrated by Friday that I had not done two medium sized projects because I spent too much time on the small stuff (and there are always interruptions and emergencies–I work in a law office). So, I’ll try this next week and see how it goes.
    Thanks so much for having this challenge. With a more demanding job now, I find myself going back to your suggestions and rules all the time!

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