Day 3 of the January 2024 Time Tracking Challenge

The storm came and went – with some effects on my time logs for the day.

Last night as I was posting here the lights started flickering. They went out for a bit, and our generator kicked in. I found all the flashlights, since the generator only covers the kitchen, the master bedroom, and the heat, more or less. However, the lights came on after a few minutes. They flickered on and off much of the evening but we never fully lost power again. Phew!

I read in front of the gas fireplace for a little bit (though I turned it off when we got more frequent flickering) — a book on American farmhouse architecture that I got at the library and was totally just eye candy. Like Instagram, but a bit more calming. At 8:00 I took the two little boys up for a play bath (as opposed to a bath more focused on hygiene). I’ve been doing this a lot lately. The upside is that it is a non-screen activity that has them playing with each other in a confined space for quite a while. The downside is that I can’t really relax — they splash each other, splash water all over the bathroom, get water in each others’ eyes and then desperately need a towel…So I spent the time in between crises responding to a few emails and also doing a little online shopping at Factory Direct Crafts for dollhouse miniatures. I’ve picked out some kitchen furniture that I might get eventually. I haven’t quite figured out a rational budgeting system for this hobby.

They got out around 8:50, I read the 4-year-old stories, and put him down. I made sure everyone was in their rooms, then read in my room until 9:50 p.m., at which point I circled around turning off the big kids’ lights.

Then I decided that my kids did not need to be the only people enjoying a bath. I put extremely hot water in my tub and read a chapter in a book in there from 10:05-10:35 p.m., more or less. It was very relaxing! Then I got into my pajamas, read a wee bit more in my bed and was asleep around 11 with the wind howling outside (I turned the white noise app on so I wouldn’t hear the intermittent dripping of water on the eaves — that was irregular enough that it was going to keep me awake.)

I think I got up at 4:30 a.m. to use the bathroom and noted that we still had power. I drifted in and out until my alarm at 6:25. I got the 16-year-old up, determined that he was well enough to go back to school, and got in the shower. The goal was to be out the door at 6:55 so I could be back in time for the middle schoolers to take the bus (my husband had been gone overnight — so I needed someone to stay with the little boys — so the middle schoolers have instructions not to leave until I return under this situation. If I am late, I will take them to school.).

We left pretty close to that, but things went awry immediately. The major thoroughfare that we turn on to out of my street was closed in one direction with a giant tree down across much of the street, plus some power lines sagging too. So, I went the other direction, winding around various branches and taking more detours with other power lines that were down. The trip took way, way longer than it normally would, and it was quite stressful — at one point utility workers were putting up barriers on the other route into my street and I was rolling down the window to ask if could please get home. They waved me through and said they were just blocking one lane…but anyway, I wasn’t home until 7:35 a.m. — past the time the bus would be there, though given that the road was closed I’m not sure if it would even have come.

So I got myself some coffee, got the little boys up, loaded them in the car with the middle schoolers (and my travel mug) in order to drive them to school, leaving at 7:45. We went a completely different direction, about a mile the other way, and then took a major road all the way to their school. I got them there on time but I wasn’t home with the little guys until 8:35 — which was time for them to be getting to school. I was in the car for about 90 minutes this morning…though the upside is I was able to listen to all my Bach before I had breakfast!

B had shown up in the meantime (after making her way around the various detours) and she had breakfast ready for the boys. The 4-year-old kept saying he didn’t want to go to school (he was crabby about being woken up)…and then he got his wish. The preschool sent out an alert that they had no power, so they were closed.

This is the reason for having layers of childcare…because I was still able to work, and indeed, had quite a productive day working on a long-term project that definitely would have been punted forward if I’d needed to cover preschool hours. Anyway, I did a few small things, and then started work on the book proposal that I had been procrastinating on earlier in the week. I dug up sales numbers and foreign rights sales and blurbs and review quotes for all my previous time management books. My VA had found some of these and I found others. It was a bit tedious but also vaguely ego-boosting to find a quote from, let’s say, 2010, that 168 Hours was “the most motivational book I’ve ever read.” Nice work, Laura from 14 years ago!

I worked straight through to 12:45, at which point I pulled my sheets out of the dryer (today was sheet washing day – I forgot to mention that I stuck my sheets in at 6:55 and moved them at 8:35 or something) and then made lunch (leftover chicken Rogan Josh from last night plus freshly cooked green beans — an upside of working from home is freshly cooked veggies at lunch!). I ate it at my desk, again, because I was working on the book review that’s due Friday. At 1:30 I triaged what I still had to do for the day — which primarily consisted of approving a newsletter, and recording a few takes of several podcast ads.

At 2:30 p.m. I changed into my exercise clothes and did a quick run (2 miles) on the treadmill. Then I did my back stretches, and several of the upper body exercises I had done with my trainer on Monday. I finished at 3:10, changed, and went back down to my desk. I did a little more work, though not terribly productively, and I sang through the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” arrangement I’m singing with a small group next month until the middle schoolers got home (B had gone to get them). I chatted with my daughter for a bit, and then I left at 4:00 to go get the 16-year-old from an activity. Once I picked him up, he drove (the streets were clear by then) to Starbucks, we got our strawberry acai lemonade refreshers, and went home.

On the way we paused at the mailbox, where I found my first Allure Beauty Box. SHU influenced me to start a subscription – she shares one with her daughter, so I thought that sounded fun. My daughter will get the cosmetics and masks type stuff and I’ll get the wrinkle creams. We drank our Starbucks drinks (we’d picked up something for her) and divvied up the loot. Then it was back in my office to work, again, not terribly effectively, until I left at 5:25 p.m. with the 8-year-old for ninja class (which started at 5:45 p.m.)

So I’m writing this at ninja class and will post in a minute unless something goes wrong with the gym Wifi.

I hope everyone had a good Wednesday! If you start your time tracking week on Monday morning (as I do) then Wednesday is not the middle of the week — Thursday is. We are still firmly in the first half of the week. I find that’s helpful for realizing how much time there might still be to come…

10 thoughts on “Day 3 of the January 2024 Time Tracking Challenge

    1. @Jen – I hope it is! We’ve only gotten one box, but she did the hair mask in the shower last night, so hey…

  1. I have heard you say that, when people share time logs with you, many comment that it’s not a typical week but you reply that there are not many “typical” weeks. We have dealt with the effects of the storm too resulting in a day off school then a two-hour delay so this week does feel more atypical than most. Driving to work even with the two-hour delay was an adventure for us as well yesterday. Glad a little inconvenience is all we are dealing with though!

    I am enjoying this time tracking challenge. I am generally happy with the choices I make with my time, but I like that this challenge keeps me mindful of how time was spent as well as mindful of what I want my next actions to be given the time left in the day and week.

    1. @Kristen – yep, there are no typical weeks. I have discovered that we all have certain pictures of our lives (perhaps certain stories we tell) and if a week doesn’t follow that template we might decide it is not worth tracking. When I started tracking continuously I had to adjust a lot of stories – I was not working as much as I’d imagined, for instance! On a “good” week I was but there are a lot of weeks where stuff comes up. Glad the time tracking is going well!

  2. I’m catching up on this week’s blog posts. Bach before breakfast has a lovely ring to it. Glad you were ok despite the storm, and glad your kiddo is ok (I was going to ask if he made it to school in yesterday’s comment!) I didn’t track this week, but reading your log and others comments is encouraging me to perhaps start on Monday and do a week. It truly is always enlightening. Even though I track billable hours for work that definitely doesn’t capture the full picture of my life (nor my work day).

    1. @Lori C – yep all is fine here. Stormy again and will likely snow Tuesday but hey…I think time tracking is awesome, both for accountability and memory keeping. I hope you’ll consider doing it!

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