Tuesday, April 13, 2021

"What Do You Do All Day?" Time Diary Results for Six Weeks #168 Hours #TimeMakeover

Why am I Telling You How I Spend My Time?

I'm sharing this post today because I am often asked how I fit everything in by people who are amazed that I can homeschool, work, keep my house looking decent, pray with my family, eat dinner with them, and all that other jazz that makes you seem like an upstanding member of society. 

On the flip side of that, sometimes I encounter those who think I have loads of free time and why can't I just take on ONE MORE PROJECT? or why am I so selfish that I can't check in with them every day? They don't realize that caring for/educating/feeding children is a full-time job in itself and them some (63.75 hours a week average, as you'll see below)! 

Then you toss in my average work week of 12 hours for "extras" (braces, my own dental work, glasses and contact lenses, maybe a vacation with the family), plus an average of 15 hours a week spent on either being at the homeschool co-op or handling things related to it (Committee, Student Council, Yearbook), plus sleep, and I am left with 25.25 hours in my week. Sorry if I left you on "read" on that text last week; I really meant to write you back immediately but I got interrupted!

Your Pre-Homework

Before you read this post about time diaries and time management, head over to the link below to print out this time diary for yourself and then either purchase or check out from the library the book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. If you sign up for the author's email list, you'll get some great freebies, including the time management spreadsheet, which you can choose to keep track of in 15-minute increments or 30-minute increments. I use the 15-minute increments because I'm constantly task-switching. If you work outside the home and can basically track 8-5 as work time with an hour for lunch, I suggest you get the 30-minute sheet.

*Warning: this author has a lot of great books and articles so be prepared to go down that rabbit hole of knowledge and either purchasing books or putting them on hold at the library

This was my first week typed up in Excel. Since then I've condensed categories.


This was my first week of time tracking. There are 3 total pages plus a page of notes.

First Things First: Is Tracking Time a Waste of Time?

My 18-year-old son asked me, "Isn't that a waste of time, tracking your time?" And I said NO! Here's why. When I know where my time is and isn't going, I can do better. Sure, I spend maybe 15 minutes total daily tracking, then an hour or so popping it into Excel each week (often more, especially when it turns into a blog post, but that counts in the Work category  😉). 

But checking out the past 6 weeks' worth of logs has been eye-opening. When I see that I'm going down rabbit holes griping about something to friends or my journal, I can stop myself and save half an hour here and there. That is time that I can be doing other things, such as: 

*Working on the co-op yearbook (which is a short-term project that, once done, will open up MORE time—as long as I don't rush to fill that time with another project that could be done by someone who doesn't both homeschool AND work 🤷)

*Reading a self-improvement book (probably something about codependency or boundaries!); praying about the problem I wanted to gossip or journal about; doing something to fix the problem

*Homeschool planning for home and co-op; read up on the classes I'm going to be teaching in the fall

*Connecting with someone in a positive way: go around the house to hug all my kids and tell them I love them; check in with my parents and grandmother, ask my husband to go for a walk

I can see that I'm doing great in the Hygiene category because I'm low-maintenance, but I need to be doing a bit more delegating on Household things (even though we have a stellar chore chart) and cutting back on a little bit of Social (I can be extremely social once the kids are older, as well as add a Volunteer category, increase Faith and Marriage, and hopefully add a Grandchildren category!). I don't watch much TV (you can see my results below), but if I cut it back another half an hour a week, I could use that time for Reading instead.

Let's Talk About Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking gets a bad rap lately because it's hard to focus on more than one thing at a time, but I still think it can be very useful! I feel like most people cram more than 168 hours into a week, but my husband insists everyone only gets 168 hours a week and that's what you must log. If I count bathing while watching TV/listening to an audiobook/Marco Polo listening; driving while doing those same things minus TV and plus journaling; cooking while listening to a book; walking with my husband or the kids; etc. ... I'm thinking I have more like 175 hours in my weeks, and I bet you do as well depending on where you are in your life.

*With warmer weather here, I plan to do a lot of Exercise (walking) combined with Reading (audiobooks) ... so if I go for a half-hour walk, I guess I should log .25 hours for Exercise and .25 hours for Reading. It'll all even out in the end, I suppose. This is also when I should do the bulk of my not-in-person Social on Marco Polo, texting, etc.

For instance, if I were still nursing and attachment parenting, I wouldn't know how to count the 2-hour naps my babies would take in my arms while I was reading/working at the same time. Does that count as "kids" since I'm snuggling my nursing kidlet, often with other kids snuggled around me watching something on the TV? But I'm also getting a good hour of reading time in, so ... I'd love to hear your thoughts about tracking all of this because it's really bothering me that what I am EXACTLY doing is not being tracked! 

Update on the elimination of the Driving category: I started putting it under the appropriate category instead of making it its own spot. For instance, if I'm going to work at a book sale, that driving goes in the temporary Book Sale category. Likewise, driving to and from the coop would be in the Coop category; driving to and on errands would go in Household, and driving to and from kid activities would go in Kids. If I'm driving somewhere and get a long period of Journaling or Social or Work (dictation), I'll put that in the appropriate category as well. I realize that I'm strange, but I rarely just drive and listen to music anymore!

Kerrie's Weekly Average over 6 Weeks (Spring 2021)

Sleep or in bed trying to sleep: 52 hours (average of 7.5 hours nightly)

Kids: 22 hours (some weeks I have to focus more on work and they might be out doing other things as well; last week I spent 40 hours in this category because of Prom Prep and details!)

Work: 12 hours

Co-op: 15 hours (we only attend one day a week, but I'm on Committee, so some weeks a lot more time is spent either physically there or working on issues at home; yearbook; student council)

Household: 13 hours (tidy, dishes, laundry, time tracking, sometimes errands related to household)

Social: 9.25 hours (often this is conversations related to kids; friends/family for dinner or out)

Drive: 9 hours (often I'm also journaling by dictation, Marco Poloing; sometimes this is ALSO time with kids and good conversations come from it)

Cook/eat: 10.5 hours (some of this was making lunches for kids sometimes, which I'm now moving to "kids")

Hygiene: 4.75 hours (I cut my own hair, don't color it, don't get my nails/toes done; this is mostly baths during which I also watch TV or listen to an audiobook or Marco Polo, showers, brushing teeth, tossing on some mascara)

TV: 3 hours (yes, I really do average 3 hours of TV per week, sometimes more because it's built into bathtime ... I'm watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey and The Crown)

Reading for pleasure/self-improvement to include audiobooks: 1.25 hours (this is pretty sad)

Faith: 4.25 hours (praying before bed nightly, Mass, Confession, Adoration ... this is too low!)

Marriage: 4.5 hours (this is sad!)

Journaling: 2.75 hours (I do a lot of this while driving and some of it could also be considered work since I'm always working on memoir and book stuffs)

Exercise: 1.5 hours (walking at a park, often with kids or Aron, or while listening to an audiobook)

Unaccounted: 3.25 hours (transitions, dance party, daydreaming, staring at the sunset, forgot to track, etc.) 

Now What?

Now you leave me a comment letting me know what you plan to do. Do you think this is a waste of time and you're happy with where you are at and with what you are doing with your life? With your marriage, children, relationships, clutter, health, projects? If you're not happy with what you're getting done in your 168 hours per week, you can change it. But first, you have to know where the time goes!

My goals for the next 6 weeks include: 

*Finish the co-op yearbook; decrease time spent on co-op by putting more forms and systems in place

*Finish out the official homeschool year

*Get more work done that will result in residual income (less time spent on work in the future with the same funds coming in; i.e., articles and books)

*Cut back slightly on TV and read more

*Cut back on hygiene time by NOT multi-tasking ... take a 15-minute bath so I can focus on 15 minutes of something else entirely

*Exercise more while reading

*Spend more time on my faith (when I pray nightly with my family, should that count as Kids or Faith? 🙏)

*Spend more time on my marriage (when I pray with my husband, does that count as Marriage or Faith? 😂)

*Streamline meals so I'm spending less time in the kitchen (also delegate cooking; although I can't complain because my kids make their own breakfast and have leftovers for lunch; also, my husband cooks on Sundays 💓)

I'll see you back here in another 6 weeks!

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