Day 4 of the January 2024 Time Tracking Challenge

I started writing this around 5 p.m., the official mid-point of the time tracking week.

Last night after posting I drove the 8-year-old home from ninja class. I heated up my dinner and ate that in a leisurely fashion (the 4-year-old was watching videos). Then, at 8 p.m., the 8-year-old and I took out the trash (it’s his week). He was…somewhat helpful. He carried down one of the garbage cans and some boxes. Unfortunately the recycling bins were really heavy so that was on me. Anyway, I finished around 8:25 p.m., came in, and practiced music with the 16-year-old for his voice lesson.

Then I took the 4-year-old up (8:45 or so) and read him stories. He was not the most cooperative. Indeed, he was talking in his bed for quite a while, but he didn’t get up, so that is a victory. I had a long discussion with my 12-year-old about a topic, then turned everyone’s lights out around 10. At that point I got myself ready for bed, read for about 30 minutes until 10:40, finishing my Dave Barry book. I was asleep by 10:45 I’m pretty sure.

I woke at 6:10 with my alarm – I decided I needed to shower before getting the kids up today as the morning was going to be complicated again. I showered, dressed, and woke the three older kids up at 6:30. I made some breakfasts, then the 4-year-old was up (!) and demanded I play him a lullaby on his phone. I found that the 8-year-old was also up so at least rousing them wasn’t difficult. Everyone got in the car at 7 a.m. — yes, all five of them. We dropped the 16-year-old off at high school at 7:12 and got to the middle school for jazz band practice at 7:20. Then it was back home with the two little boys, arriving around 7:35.

At this point I got the boys and me breakfast. Then B came and I got to work, working for the next 2 hours or so (to 10:15). I listened to my Bach in the background during part of this — BWV is the Ascension oratorio, and as a fun little treat, I realized that the alto solo was very very similar to the Agnus Dei in the B-minor mass. I looked it up and I guess the oratorio came first, and then Bach borrowed heavily from his own work. Anyway, at 10:15 I got in my car and drove to go get a massage. This — my little treat for the week — was rescheduled from before Christmas when the person I like to see had been sick. This was a combination of being relaxing and a bit painful as I’m knotted up in various places. Anyway…home at noon, got lunch, and got to work.

I mostly worked on the book proposal (competitive works section…including how this new book is different from my others) until 2:10. Then I walked outside for about 20 minutes, did my hair and make-up (I hadn’t done that yet, figured why bother before a massage), then got back to work until 4:00, mostly doing emails during that window.

At 4 I got in the car — listening to the Ascension oratorio again! — and drove back to the middle school. I got the 14-year-old, drove him to Wawa for a pretzel, then drove him to fencing practice (5:00 – I dropped him off maybe 4:55). I drove home, arriving 5:10, and now I’m writing this. There is a lot more time in the car still happening tonight!

The good news is that the power is back on at the preschool, so the 4-year-old has school tomorrow. Of course the other kids have half days…

I did spend a little time today thinking about my weekend. Have you? If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to make some plans!

6 thoughts on “Day 4 of the January 2024 Time Tracking Challenge

  1. Oof, that’s so much running around. The massage is well deserved.

    I am not teaching this term and I need to figure out how to structure my week. The flexibility is great, but also, one meeting in the city can lead to a really fragmented day – yesterday, I spent 40 minutes waiting for a bus (I might have missed one because I was reading my book?) and while I got everything off my list, it felt pretty unfocused. Maybe I just need to go in for the whole day and work from the local library?

    We have our normal Saturday activity routine, are hosting family friends for coffee and cinnamon buns on Sunday am, and going into the city for dinner with my brother in law. We normally do the meal plan/grocery shop on Sunday, but I think I’ll make the plan/list today and see if my husband will go while I do bedtime tonight.

    1. “The flexibility is great, but also, one meeting in the city can lead to a really fragmented day – yesterday, I spent 40 minutes waiting for a bus (I might have missed one because I was reading my book?) and while I got everything off my list, it felt pretty unfocused. Maybe I just need to go in for the whole day and work from the local library?”
      I relate so much to this! When I work from home and someone asks to meet in the city, I am like “Eh, that is going to destroy my entire day…”

      Laura, last night I saw an expert saying Beethoven was the most influential/important moder composer. I thought immediately: Wait, wait about Bach?? What’s your take on this?

      1. @Maggie – I guess Bach wasn’t terribly modern – Beethoven was significantly later, so there’s that. Also I believe a lot of Bach’s work was lost or at least not recognized as significant until it was championed by others later. So that would have limited the immediate influence after his life too. For what it’s worth I’m a bigger fan of Bach 😉

    2. @Coree – I’m a big fan of trying to batch meetings (or at least errands) for this reason. It would be my goal to meet up with folks in person on Friday as that tends to be my more “open” day and one I don’t plan on doing significant work on. Alternately, stacking meetings after each other, or at least planning to do something else nearby can make it feel like less of a time drain.

  2. Reading this it strikes me that even with help (household manager/nanny) you still do a lot of driving.

    I think I sort of fantasize that this chore can be greatly reduced, but it goes to show that some shuttling of kids around is unavoidable.

    1. @Lori C – yep, I think a lot of the narrative on outsourcing misses some of the nuance. People say they don’t want to use childcare because “I want to raise my children myself.” Well, I spend plenty of time with my kids – it would be almost impossible to get this to zero, even if I wanted to, because that’s the nature of living with small people who are around 24/7. Or that question in the podcast this past week about “holding on” to a task despite the ability to outsource. I “hold on” to some stuff whether I want to or not because there’s just so much work to be done in a house hold of 7 people over 7 days. I empty the dishwasher, just usually not 7 days a week. I cook, just usually not 7 days. I cleaned bathrooms over the holidays because the timing didn’t work between guests with when the cleaners could come. And I drive a lot, just not 100 percent of it.

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