One of the greatest bars to my happiness and productivity is the failure to control the use of my time. (Notice that I didn’t say “control my time,” because time itself cannot be controlled; it just ticks away. Deep insight here.) So I’ve signed up for Laura Vanderkam’s time tracking program that will take place next week. (Good example of here of my lack of time control: when I typed in “Laura” to get the correct spelling of Vanderkam’s last name and the address for her website, autosearch came up with “Laura Ingraham.” Since I had gotten into a sort-of-argument with a friend last night while watching THE BRONCOS WIN THEIR FIRST REGULAR-SEASON GAME and it had become obvious that I thought “Dr. Laura” and “Laura Ingraham” were one and the same, I couldn’t resist doing a little internet-diving on Ingraham and now it’s 10-15 minutes later. See?)
I recently reviewed Vanderkam’s most recent book, I Know How She Does It. While I didn’t find that particular book all that compelling as a whole, I do like her and her overall philosophy. I’m on her mailing list, and this week she’s been advertising the 168 Hours Time Tracking Challenge. So I decided to sign up. There’s no downside; it doesn’t cost anything and will simply involve the trivial irritation of having to write down on the log that’s provided what you were doing each 15 minutes throughout the day for a week. (That’s 168 hours.) You can choose to record 15-minute or 30-minute segments; I chose the 15-minute ones in the spirit of exactitude.
So I’m excited. One must always remember the Hawthorne Effect, though. (Which has nothing to do with Nathaniel Hawthorne but rather with how observation changes behavior.) Since I’m recording my time I will inevitably use it better, because I want my time logs to look good. But anything that makes me more aware of my time, even it’s an artificial and short-lived experiment, is going to be helpful. And who knows? Maybe I’ll be inspired to keep on doing the time log thing. Vanderkam has been tracking her time for years. (I started writing this post at about 10:00 AM. Then I got distracted by Laura Ingraham. Then I wrote the previous paragraph or so. Then the sprinkler guy showed up and I had to go out and stick my nose into what he and my husband are deciding about some tweaks to the system. Now it’s 11:00. So it goes.)
Let me know if you decide to sign up for the challenge too! I’d love to hear how others do with it. You have time to get in on this before Monday. Remember, September is the new January. A great time for a new start.