Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Time Tracking

A day has 24 hours.  A week has 168 hours.  How do you spend that time?

Hopefully you are sleeping 50ish hours of those.  If you work outside the home you probably have a pretty good idea of how many hours you spend there and commuting.  Then there is all the time spent on the mundane, necessary parts of life: eating, showering, dressing, making meals, doing the bare minimum of clean-up.  If you have kids you probably spend a decent chunk of your week with them.

168 hours is a lot of time but it can be pretty easy to get to the end of a week and not be sure where the time went.  I doubt I am alone in that feeling!

I know I work outside the house for 3 hours a week.

I sleep around 50 hours a week.

Workout for about 2 hours, run for another 4 hours.

That barely accounts for 1/3 of my week and doesn't cover where the bulk of my waking time goes: Luke, Matt, household chores, food related things, driving, etc.

So I started tracking my time.

I've been using the Toggl app since May to track the time I spend on certain activities and have slowing been adding what I track.

Naturally, I started with tracking my time spent reading.  Since I do a lot of that. (Average: over 9.5 hours a week).  Then I added in blogging (3:20 a week), Instagram (1:45/week), Facebook (1:05/week),and picture managing (tagging and photobooks - 1 hour/week).  Toggl sends a weekly e-mail with my totals in each category and I track those in a spreadsheet (naturally). 

If you noticed that these are mostly activities I do while Luke is asleep/in quiet are correct.  BUT this often comes to 2-3 hours I am tracking every weekday which helps me feel like I am getting something "done" (because time on social media TOTALLY counts as getting things done...) with my ME time.  I know where the time is going.

As for tracking where my time goes when Luke is around...well...if you have a kid you can probably understand how difficult that would be.  While I would really like to know how much time I spend on household management type things, those are often SO broken up: 5 minutes of cleaning, a few minutes with Luke, 10 minutes cleaning, time with Luke, etc.  It's rare that, besides running, I get to do anything in large chunks of time when I'm also on Mom duty.

Also, it feels really weird to track how much time I spend "parenting" since that permeates so much of my waking hours.

There is the whole thing that you act better when you are being observed (or observing yourself) and that's definitely true.  Having the timer going keeps me more focused and less likely to refresh Feedly for the 20th time that day if I know my "reading" timer is going and I don't want to go through the hassle of pausing it and restarting (even though it would take just seconds).  Tracking my time has made me use it better which is always a positive in my book.

I've done full week time trackings before but have never done anything with the data which just makes it a pain with no benefit.  But this, I've slowly gotten in the habit of it and have learned things about where my time goes.  I spend more time reading and less time blogging than I thought.  When my social media numbers jump I know I need to watch those better.  It helps me feel like I get something out of my Luke-less time.

Maybe it's just appeals to the accountant part of me that used to account for all of my 8 working hours a day.  Or maybe I just like the reason for another spreadsheet.

But maybe, maybe, it's helping me use my time better which is something I appreciate the most.  Even more than another spreadsheet.

Have you ever tracked your time?  What surprised you the most?

No comments: