Last month I logged my time for a week. This was the first time in years I had done this exercise and it was so helpful I decided to do it again.
Time logging really does help you to be more mindful and aware of how you spend time, and that helps you be more intentional. But as moms, so many elements of our lives blend together, that it can be hard to categorize, when logging and especially when totaling. This time I focused on the biggest categories and that made logging easier. I’m working on creating a time log worksheet that I’ll share and use next time but for now I’ve been jotting times and activities on blank paper.
Here are my totals for last week: 47 hours of sleep, 30.5 hours of work, 21.5 hours of quality time with my family either separate or together, 16.5 hours working on my blog including reading and writing, 6 hours watching baseball in the evening, 1 hour running errands, 1 hour catching up with a friend on the phone, and 36 hours of cleaning, taking of kids, driving kids to school, cooking and eating.
This totals to 159.5 which leaves 8.5 hours of margin time which is about right. It’s hard to document every minute, which is fine because when you work on being more intentional with your time, you shouldn’t schedule every minute. You need to leave margin in your life.
I did note one day on the weekend how much I actually held Andrew because I was feeling like it was all the time. On Sunday I spent 2 hours holding him of the 7.5 hours that day spent taking care of kids and cleaning. Considering I was awake for 17 hours that day, 2 hours is not a huge percentage. So I need to stop saying that I hold him ‘all the time’.
It’s important for me to keep working 30 hours a week at my part-time job, so I prioritize those first and get most of them in while my boys are at school, and some in after bedtime. After thinking about my last time log, I tried to be more intentional about having quality time when we were all hanging around the house. That went well and is getting easier as the baby gets older. The biggest change this time was that I wanted to get in time working on my blog, bits of time that would add up to a decent investment over the week. I was aiming at 10 hours but not really totaling as I went along, so 16 is really good. This is only possible because I love reading and writing so working on my blog is basically all of my fun me-time. That’s what I did whenever I had a break or a lull in the action of boys at home after school. I was even able to multitask some reading with eating and nursing.
I could really tell that this exercise helped me to be more intentional and creative in fitting activities that mattered to me, such as quality time with each of my kids, and writing for this blog. The daily discipline of recording helped me to think differently which helped me to develop some new habits in my thinking. During the time when I felt on-call, as if someone might need mom at any moment, but no one was currently needing me, I found myself anticipating how I could best use the next half hour or hour.
While I can actually see why Laura Vanderkam was able to log her time for a year straight, and then decided to keep going, I did find that after I finished the log, I could feel my brain relax. So while it was a useful tool for sure, I think I’ll use it as a metric that I use occasionally to gauge my progress on my special projects, not as a new weekly habit.
Values is so key and fundamental, I want to revisit my value discovery exercise and improve on it. I’ll share it on this blog, and use it myself to really nail down what my family’s core values and long term goals. That will inform how I should make decisions about the things that compete for my time. I felt really good about the week I logged, it was pretty focused on a few basic things, but looking forward I have more possibilities and I need to decide how to use my family’s time.
My other next project is decluttering. I want to really dig into that using Tsh Oxenreider’s Organized Simplicty book. Once I’ve made progress on organizing and decluttering I want to be efficient with cleaning as well as enlisting help with it. Then I’ll log my time again to see how my time is matching up to my core values, and to see how much time I spent cleaning, and if I’ve found more help.