Day 1 – Evening post (September 2023 Time Tracking Challenge)

How’s the time tracking going? Did you remember to check in a few times today?

After posting on the blog this morning I mostly did various work projects until noon. I edited and practiced my Before Breakfast podcast scripts for an upcoming week (a series on writing tips). That took about 40 minutes – 9:30 to 10:10. Then I recorded the episodes. That took until 10:45 more or less. I have this down to a science after 1000+ episodes! If I practice right before, I make the least number of mistakes. My goal is always one take with no required sound edits, though this time I had four total required edits over five episodes.

Anyway, right around 10:45 as I was finishing and grabbing a quick snack, the power went out. We had a big storm here the other day, and a tree fell across the road farther up from us. As this cut off access to a number of houses, the township and utilities came quickly to dispose of the giant log, but they had follow up work today, which required turning off the power. I guess they sent a text to my husband but he hadn’t forwarded it. Anyway! The generator came on, which was good.

I took a quick 15 minute break to play the piano (I had printed up some new sheet music last night). Then it was back to work, sending in sound files for Before Breakfast until roughly noon.

At that point I tried to take the dog out but he wasn’t having it. I put away my laundry (that I’d done yesterday) and got changed for my virtual training. I went upstairs to take measurements for the treadmill we’re thinking of getting, then my trainer FaceTimed at 12:30.

I’ve been working out with him for about 7-8 months now, once a week. I should be better about doing weight training on my own additional times per week but…this is definitely an obliger area for me. Anyway, I did various push-ups and squats for 30 minutes. Then I changed and got back to work.

At 1:30 p.m. I did an interview with a reporter writing a feature on holiday productivity. This was the first holiday-themed media interview of the year, so that was kind of exciting! We were done by 1:50, at which point I made myself lunch (Curried chicken salad, using the chicken I cooked for the week yesterday — #winning!). I went outside to eat because why not, and was back in at 2:15 to check email before my next call at 2:30 — an exploratory call with some people doing a time-focused documentary.

This ended shortly before 3:30, at which point I did some writing until 3:45, as I heard various kids come in (our nanny was out with the little guy at gymnastics and then karate). I walked down to the end of the street to meet the 8-year-old’s bus, but it came 17 minutes after the time listed on the bus form. Not sure what to make of that, though at least they’re doing the route so he gets out on the right side of the street.

We walked back up to the house, which started out as a good conversation, but then he got mad that I wasn’t going to let him have his iPad all day, so he stormed in and we had to reset at that point. From 4:30-5 I found pictures for the 11-year-old’s school collage, put away laundry, and made the 3-year-old’s bed (with new sheets). Then the 8-year-old declared that he wanted mac and cheese before he went to karate so I sat in the kitchen working on this post while making that, and greeting the trumpet teacher, who came at 5:15 for the 11-year-old’s 30-minute lesson. Then B (nanny) and the 3-year-old came back, with him asleep in the van, so I rousted him lest he not sleep at all at night. He desperately wanted special shaped pasta so I started on that, knowing I would then be boiling pasta again for everyone else in another 20 minutes. So with the mac and cheese that is 3 sets of pasta boiling in one afternoon! I joke in my speeches about a life hack for quicker pasta boiling, but maybe that would be useful in my life.

I walked the dog around 5:30 (the 13-year-old had taken him out after school too) and then my husband came home and took the 8-year-old to karate. B (nanny) and I both worked on getting the pasta for everyone else ready, which we ate around 6:10-6:30 (in there I helped with another potty run — always good to have the kid announce that right as you sit down to eat!).

B is here until 7, and is playing with the 3-year-old now, so I’m answering a few emails and will post this. Then I’ll have the 3-year-old most likely for a while, but I’m thinking maybe he can watch Ms. Rachel on the computer while I do a puzzle…

I can see from my time logs what I know — I find it hard to get work done when the kids are home. Since I started dealing with kid stuff at 3:45 today, that means anything that happened after was quite distracted. I’m working on protecting enough time to work, which is why I have the 8:15 a.m. target starting time. Time also goes in transitions — theoretically my training is only 30 minutes but I got ready beforehand and then changed after and it winds up taking closer to an hour when all is said and done. But hey, I ate a good lunch outside and enjoyed playing my Bach.

I hope the time tracking is going well for you! I’ll check in tomorrow morning as well. In case anyone is curious, here’s what all these words look like on my time log.

6:30  up, J, hair+ makeup, list +coffee
7:00  R up, eggs, S up, eat, R van
7:30  trumpet! H+A, organize
8:00  kids, B, work
8:30  work/rituals, work (blog)
9:00  work (blog)
9:30  work (practice BB)
10:00 work practice, record BB
10:30 work/record, snack (power)
11:00 piano (Bach), work
11:30 work (send in files)
12:00 try dog, clothes away, change, stretch
12:30 train w/M
1:00 change, work
1:30 work (magazine call), make chicken salad
2:00 eat outside, work
2:30 work (documentary call)
3:00 work (documentary call)
3:30 work, kids, wait for A
4:00 waiting, walk (fight), work
4:30 work, pics for R, laundry
5:00 work/mac and cheese
5:30 walk dog, A goes, cook
6:00 cook, eat w/kids
6:30 work




6 thoughts on “Day 1 – Evening post (September 2023 Time Tracking Challenge)

  1. I tracked yesterday but was mostly horrified about the time I spent in transit due to a slow kiddo/missed bus, and just the transport stars not aligning. I realised though that the advantage of the train leaving the city in the AM is that I can always get a table seat, often all to myself. On Sunday, I made my list and wrote (B) next to the emails/things to do that I could do on my phone and (T) next to the things I needed my laptop to do but could be done on the train. So I’m using that time well enough to justify a shorter day in the office.

    For some inexplicable reason, the class I’m organising replaced 1 of the weekly lectures with a podcast. So I’ve scripted that this AM but am definitely just recording it in one take. Luckily I’m doing the heavy lifting of the course organisation but only teaching 1 week, so I’ve just got to do it once. I’d much rather show up in a room and talk than have to record something.

    Exciting time log entry for this morning – rescued Bella the beagle. T and I were cycling to school and spotted a beagle on the loose, running into the road. Somehow we managed to grab her, look at the number on her tag and call her owner, and have a cuddle. I could have been annoyed by irresponsible pet owners (but it’s a beagle, they are intrinsically naughty) but mostly I enjoyed how excited T was “My best accomplishment to date…”. He marched into breakfast club to tell everyone about it.

    My time log will start at 4:30am tomorrow, so my plan is to be asleep by 9.

  2. I’m not doing the challenge this week because we are on vacation in Athens. Although the heat has apparently subsided since the summer, the sun is still strong in the afternoon. I’m glad that my past trip planning self wisely scheduled only one anchor activity per day either first thing in the morning or after 4 PM. It is a little before 4 pm here, and my husband is currently sleeping off a food coma from a great 4 hour food tour that we did earlier.
    Speaking of trances and comas, what IS it about Ms. Rachel? My son and DIL limit my 20 month old grandson’s screen time, but when he gets antsy during dinners out or bigger family dinners, they roll out the big guns (Ms. Rachel on the IPad) and he enters a trancelike state…..

  3. I tracked time for one day, which I sincerely hope was not a typical day because my “workday” was 4 hours long and consisted mostly of laundry. And then last night my 3-year-old woke up several times between 11 and 1, resulting in a very rough start to my morning, and I just couldn’t bear it. Maybe there are no actually typical weeks, but the first week of the school year, while potty-training a very recalcitrant toddler, is atypical in a lot of unpleasant ways.

    As a half-measure, I’m tracking how much time I spend on “real” work, with the aim of increasing it over time. So far I have logged 3 hours this week. Which is not zero…

  4. My day 1 results are mixed. I kept good contemporaneous records, but the amount of “real work” I accomplished was pretty low.
    I’ll focus on the good news: I’m sticking to the time tracking, and it’s encouraging to see that much of my planning held up in action.

  5. I’m loosely tracking my time for earlier this week due to traveling back to the country from Italy on Sunday, resting on Monday at my sister’s house, and driving from Atlanta to Louisiana with my youngest son and dad on Tuesday. It was a wonderful family trip. So, today (Wednesday), I will track more consistently. I really need to track my time for a couple of weeks after this week.

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