I wrote last week that I had signed up for the Laura Vanderkam Time-Tracking Challenge for 2018, in which participants were asked to log their activities for one full week, 168 hours. I’m happy to say that I stuck to it for the full week this year (having almost immediately dropped out last January) and also thoroughly enjoyed reading Laura’s daily updates (link is to the first day’s post; you can then read the rest if you’re interested) on how she spent her own time. I used my fun app, toggl, which I’ve written about several times, most recently last week, and this morning I had a neatly categorized weekly report, all ready for me to look at and then send on to Laura. I managed to record a total of 167 hours and 22 minutes, so only a little bit of time fell through the cracks. How did I do? Here are some highlights:
I spent an average of 8 ½ hours per night logged as “off the clock.” I start that timer when I turn off the light at night and stop it when I get up in the morning, but the number would be quite a bit smaller if I recorded the time when I wake up as opposed to when I get up. I’ve fallen back into the bad habit of lying there, thinking that I’ll go back to sleep or that it’s just too early to get up. (Sometimes it’s 3:00 or 4:00 AM, so that does indeed seem too early.) But I just lie there! What a waste! I could get a whole blogpost written in the time I stay in bed. I have down for this morning that I got up at 6:30, but I know I woke up before 5:00. Sometimes I do indeed doze off, as I think must have happened this morning, but it’s not quality sleep. Maybe if I just went ahead and got up I’d be “teaching” my body to sleep when I’m in bed. (That actually is a concept of sleep hygiene.)
I had over ten hours logged under “reading” but only about nine and a quarter hours logged in under “website.” That’s pretty pathetic. I should be putting in at least 20 hours a week on my website and other writing-related activities. Most of my reading was online as I bopped around on various websites. I also finished an entire audiobook and have worked my way through about a third of another one plus listening to my usual set of podcasts, but since I don’t typically just sit and listen but instead pair the audio with another activity that intake doesn’t show up. It’s perfectly fine to take breaks, but my reading breaks are kind of long. I need to cut down on just reading the same news story on several different websites. That activity doesn’t accomplish much. I also read during breakfast and lunch, and that doesn’t count on the log because I’m doing something else. So I guess my bookworm status is still secure.
I spent only about four hours exercising, so that’s not all that great. It should be at least five. I had almost 20 hours recorded as “housework,” but that number is a little misleading since I spent quite a bit of time doing a big reorganization of the pantry, fridge & freezer in the kitchen, and the big freezer out in the garage, activities that I don’t usually do. I had also gotten way behind on just normal cleanup. So this week’s total should be much lower. “Cooking and eating” also consumed about 20 hours. That’s hard to believe—that I spent a total of 40 hours over seven days basically doing domestic chores. Weird. (But that total also includes eating the meals themselves.) I do tend to stretch out my lunchtime so I can finish reading something.
Several other categories are interesting: around five hours under “Bible,” which includes church and Bible study attendance and also my own personal devotional time. That’s kind of a small amount. The Chorale consumed about six hours, and again it should have been a longer time. We have our second rehearsal for this concert tomorrow evening and I haven’t done much with getting my music in order or listening to the practice recordings. “Leisure and Creativity” consumed seven hours, most of which was TV watching, and much of that was my consumption of the “PBS Newshour” and “Washington Week,” so I guess that’s not too bad. (And two hours last evening watching the season premiere of “Victoria.” Just great! Diana Rigg as a meddlesome old woman—what a treat. They’re obviously reprising Maggie Smith’s Dowager Duchess from “Downton Abbey,” but that’s okay. And it’s so sad to know that Albert is going to die young, but I’m enjoying him for now. He’ll probably last through this season–I don’t think they’ll get all the way to his demise at the rate they’re going.)
Getting a clear idea of how I spent this week has been very helpful for me. I have some goals: get out of bed sooner and spend more time in profitable, worthwhile activities. I’d encourage you to try out time-tracking for one week also. You don’t have to use an app—a small notebook that you carry around with you and periodically record times will do just fine, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. The totals may surprise you, as they did me. It was a great help in my ongoing quest to see and use time for what it is: the ultimate non-renewable resource.