I’m currently tracking my time to see how I’m spending my 168 hours each week and what I can do to use them a bit better. A few of my Facebook friends are doing this at the same time. You might also like to try it for yourself and see what insights you get from it.
My first week of tracking my hours confirmed that I’m getting a great amount of sleep (8 hours or more a night – thank you God!), and that, when awake, I’m really busy. I spent the majority of my waking hours either hanging out with/helping/supervising my children (around 3 hours a day), driving around (over 2 hours a day), doing writing/editing work (3.5 hours), or doing housework and chores (just over a whopping 3 hours average a day!).
There was a bit of leisure time in there, for reading and exercising, going to Mass on Sunday, watching Netflix with my husband a couple of nights, and, on the Saturday night, having a friend over for dinner. I thought I spent very little time on eating regular meals and on personal care (showering, doing my hair etc.), and my time log confirmed this.
Looking at the numbers, it was clear that I need to make more time for exercise and for meditation/prayer. These two categories are high priorities for me – prayer because it’s a major source of reality, comfort, strength, and hope. And exercise because, well, as I type this I’ve got a really sore back. At 40, after five pregnancies and almost no regular exercise my core muscles are hopeless and I’m feeling the consequences!
Now I need to work, and I need to spend time with my children every day. So the obvious cuts to make across a regular week are on driving and housework. I did shave a few hours off housework and chores, but it’s not easy to just lop lots of hours off.
That time driving my children to and from school is also valuable time connecting daily with them – especially with the boy whose school is the furtherest away. It’s already hard for me to find one-on-one time with him, and this is really the only time we have our conversations during the week. I had a friend collect him for me one afternoon when I was working, but I haven’t figured out a happy solution for drastically reducing or eliminating the school-run time just yet. These hours might be something I just have to suck up for now.
For housework – I’m training the children to do cleaning, laundry, and some food preparation, but they can’t do everything yet and they are slow, so I need to be patient. Chasing them down to do something, then supervising and following up their work takes time too. A dryer will help here because hanging up laundry on a clothesline when we wash 49 pairs of socks per week alone during winter is a time-consuming pain!
So – to week number two. Here’s the breakdown of my main activities over the week and the average per day:
- Sleep 57.25 (8.2 hours a night)
- ‘Work’ work 15 (3 hours per week day)
- Housework/cooking/chores etc. 18.25 (2.6 hours a day)
- Driving 16.25 (2.3 hours a day)
- Relaxing, hanging out with husband 11 (1.5 hours a day)
- Hanging out with kids (just doing what they want) 7 (1 hr a day)
- Socialising .75 (a little visit to my neighbour)
- Exercise 2.75 (about 23 mins day)
- Prayer 3 (26 mins a day)
Still some improvements to be made, but I’m not too far off my reasonably ideal week for this stage of life. Tracking my time is making me waste much less of it faffing around on Facebook or wondering what I should do next. I’m much more motivated to plan ahead. Or to use the random open bits of time that pop up here and there to catch up on emails, or go and talk to or play with one of the kids. How about you?
*Updated – my third week and wrap up is here.