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During the week of 10 January, I participated in Laura Vanderkam’s Time-Tracking Challenge. Laura hosts this annual challenge in January, so it is no coincidence that “time track in January” is a goal for this year (#1 on my 22 for 2022 list). I find time tracking beneficial, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed or need to make some changes, and 2022 is all about CHANGE.

My week started with 168 hours on Monday 10 January at 5:00 in the morning. Two categories that took up a huge chunk of my time were work (instructional coach at a PreK2-8th school) and sleep. 32 hours were spent at work and 56 hours were spent sleeping. This left me with 80 hours to spend on other tasks or activities during the week.

So, how did I spend the remaining 80 hours of my week?

  • Morning Routine (M-TH): 7.25 hours 
  • Morning Routine (F-SUN): 2.25 hours

My morning routine consists of pet care for one dog (Sophie crossed the rainbow bridge on 07 January), two cats, and a snake, personal care for myself, making coffee, preparing breakfast (eat at school), preparing my lunch, unloading the dishwasher, posting on FB (Monday/Wednesday). Sometimes, I may transfer a load of laundry that washed overnight into the dryer or do another quick task.

  • Travel to and from work (M-TH): 2.75 hours
  • Travel to and from other places: 6.5 hours
  • Afternoon Routine (M-TH): 1 hour (pet care for Tooty and cats, unpacking lunch box and school bag)
  • Chores: 7.75 hours (loading dishwasher, laundry, floors, getting my scrapbook room in order)
  • Walk (20 for 2022 Challenge): 2.75 hours
  • Read (includes #Read21in21 Challenge): 5.5 hours
  • Instagram Post (#yearofjoy2022): 1.25 hours
  • Goodreads: .25 of an hour 

Gretchen Rubin created the walking (2020) and reading (2021) challenges which I enjoyed participating in both years that I continue to incorporate them in my daily routine. Both activities increase my happiness, provide a sense of satisfaction, and bring more joy into my life. I am all about more JOY in 2022.

  • Meals: 4 hours 
  • Evening Routine: 3.25 hours (shower; take Tooty out before bed)
  • Blog: 3.5 hours (Sunday-write, edit, revise, publish)
  • TV Shows/Movies/YouTube: 5.25 hours
  • Napping: 2.25 hours
  • Social Events/Errands: 9.5 hours

My social events for this week included a delightful dinner with my friend Roxanne on Monday evening, Connie Kittok’s art show and dinner in Ponchatoula with Andrew on Thursday evening, shopping and lunch with Andrew on Friday morning/afternoon, and a wedding with my hubby on Friday evening. Before Andrew and I went shopping, I went to the post office to mail a small package to my friend Rita (lives in England) and stopped at PJ’s coffee to pick up a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit and a mocha latte.

As a result, 50.5 hours were spent on life responsibilities, 9.25 hours were spent traveling, and 5.25 hours were spent watching television shows, movies, or YouTube for a total of 65 hours.

This left me with 15 hours left over in my weekly bank of hours. Of my remaining time, I spent 3.5 hours of those hours hanging out with either Andrew or Barry, Jr. at home. My birthday was on Tuesday, and I wanted to read and respond to all of my beautiful birthday wishes, so I spent 6.75 hours of the week reading and responding to texts, emails, and FB messages, opening and reading birthday cards that came in the mail, opening gifts, as well as talking to family and friends on the phone. I absolutely do NOT feel badly about spending my time this way because it brought me so much joy to receive so many kind messages, and it was a wonderful way to enjoy the week. The remaining 4.75 hours was spent playing Trivia Crack, scrolling through social media (mainly FB), texting, email, time-tracking, or puttering around the house.

So, what did I learn during this Time-Tracking Challenge, and how do I use this week’s data?

Clearly, between this being my birthday week and socializing a bunch with family and friends throughout the week, I did not have a great deal of spare time to devote to my aims for 2022. With that being said, I still had 4.75 hours that I could have used to complete a module in my blogging course or complete the journaling for one of the pages in Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. I could come up with a litany of reasons as to why I chose scrolling over scribing, but they would be excuses instead of legitimate reasons. Honestly, I did not make that time a priority. And, it is not to say that all of the time was spent on mindless phone play. “Puttering around the house” is not necessarily wasted time. It is the time where I squeeze those little tasks in between major tasks, such as going through the mail, writing a check, putting a book back on the shelf, or taking out the trash.

However, I am only working four days a week this year. Last year at this time, my time-tracking log showed I worked 43.5 hours. This week, I logged 32 hours. Instead of working, I spent Friday of this year running errands and spending time with Andrew (shopping and lunch in Mandeville). Part of the shopping experience was buying a gift for the wedding; however, Andrew was free to hang out and keep me company on the way to the store to buy the gift, so we made it a day with more shopping at American Eagle and Barnes & Noble and ate lunch at La Madeleine. It is a bit of a drive, so we enjoyed lots of conversation on the drive there and back.

Although, I would love for my Fridays to be devoted strictly towards my aims for the year, it is not realistic. That is not to say, I have not used my Fridays to write a blog post or work on content for a video I am doing with Kelsi. The reality is I use my Fridays to schedule doctors’ appointments or other appointments, catch up on household chores, run errands, or deal with the unexpected that crops up that day or I do not have the energy to deal with earlier in the week. Sometimes, I just want to have a day off and do nothing in particular, especially if I have a full weekend ahead of me.

Not surprisingly, I decided to time track an additional week, dear reader. I am trying to get a clearer picture of where my time is going and the best way to schedule my time by adjusting my morning and evening routines during the work week as well as my routines on the weekend. I will be posting that analysis shortly. As always, I am a work in progress and moving slowly, but steadily to making change to live my best life. Happiness!

“Change isn’t easy, it takes time.” ~ Caroline Kennedy

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How do you spend your time, dear reader? I know I am not always the best steward when it comes to managing my time. However, I have made strides in the area of time management since reading 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. While we all have the same 168 hours a week, we spend those hours differently. Keeping a time log of how you spend your 168 hours is a worthwhile endeavor when trying to accomplish goals. January is the perfect month to keep a time log and track exactly how you are spending your 168 hours.

Therefore, I joined Laura Vanderkam’s annual “Time Tracking Challenge” which will start on Monday 10 January. She will send out an email on Sunday with details about the challenge. After I log how I spent my 168 hours for the week, I will analyze my time log to see exactly how much time I have left (after work, sleep, and family commitments have been deducted) to work on my aims for 2022. I actually enjoy tracking my time and will track it periodically throughout the year, especially when I feel overwhelmed or feel like I am not making any progress with my goals for the year.

In addition to tracking my time next week, I am also participating in Gretchen Rubin’s free New Year’s Resolution Challenge which she announced on her podcast this week. The challenge starts on Sunday, 09 January, and for 7 days, Gretchen will text you 7 tips “for making (and keeping) effective resolutions.” I have done SMS challenges with Gretchen before, and I enjoy them.

I am off to a great start with accomplishing the items on my 22 for 2022 list. Time-tracking is the first item on my list. My time log will help me accomplish the second item on my list, which is to tweak my morning routine. I am excited about the upcoming week and embracing CHANGE. Happiness!

“It’s how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it.” ~ Marcia Wieder

Note: Photo at the top is by Giallo on Pexels.com.

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Last week, I participated in Laura Vanderkam’s Time-Tracking Challenge. It was perfect timing since “manage time” is one of my goals for this year (#1 on my 21 for 2021 list). Participating in the challenge has given me a snapshot of how I spent my time for one week. Analyzing my time-tracking log from last week has given me a good idea of how many hours I realistically have to pursue worthwhile activities after time is spent on life’s major responsibilities and daily routines.

There are several methods to track time; however, I prefer recording my time with paper and pencil, so I used my planner. My week started out with 168 hours on Monday 11 January at 4:30 in the morning. Two categories that took up a huge chunk of my time were work (instructional coach at a PreK2-8th school) and sleep. 43.5 hours were spent at work, and 55.5 hours were spent sleeping (or trying to sleep). This left me with 69 hours for other tasks or activities, some more necessary than others.

So, how did I spend the remaining 69 hours of my week?

  • Morning Routine (M-F): 10.25 hours 

My morning routine consists of pet care for two dogs and a cat, personal care for myself, making coffee, preparing and eating breakfast, preparing my lunch, unloading the dishwasher, cutting up Andrew’s strawberries, and posting on FB (while eating breakfast). Sometimes, I may transfer a load of laundry that washed overnight into the dryer.

  • Travel to and from work (M-F): 3.25 hours
  • Travel to and from other places: 2.5 hours
  • Afternoon Routine (M-F): 2.5 hours (pet care for dogs and cat, unpacking lunch box and school bag)
  • Chores: 2.25 hours (cooking dinner twice, loading dishwasher, laundry)
  • Walk (20 for 2021 Challenge): 2.5 hours
  • Read (#Read21in21 Challenge): 3 hours
  • Journal and Instagram Post: 1 hour 

The walking and reading challenges, writing in my gratitude journal, and posting on Instagram are daily practices established for this year to increase happiness in my life.

  • RCIA: 2 hours (Wednesday evenings; includes travel time)
  • Meals: 5.5 hours (dinner M-F; lunch/dinner on Saturday and Sunday)
  • Evening Routine (M-F): 3.5 hours (shower; take dogs out before bed)
  • Blog: 4.5 hours (Sunday-write, edit, revise, publish)
  • TV Shows/Movies: 6 hours
  • Twitch: 1.25 hours (Kelsi’s livestream on Sunday)

As a result, 37 hours were spent on life responsibilities, 5.75 hours were spent traveling, and 7.25 hours were spent watching television shows, movies, or Twitch for a total of 50 hours.

I still had 19 hours left over in my weekly bank of hours which I spent playing games (Trivia Crack or Words with Friends), scrolling through social media (mainly FB), texting, phone calls, email, time-tracking, or puttering around the house. I did spend a little more than usual time on FB and texting this week because my birthday was on Monday, and I wanted to read and respond to all of my wonderful birthday wishes. I spent 3 hours on Monday evening on email, text, and Facebook. On Tuesday, I spent an additional hour or so on FB and texting. I definitely do NOT feel badly about spending my time this way because it was a huge happiness boost to receive so many kind messages, and it was a terrific way to start the week.

Additionally, there were some moments during the week that were spent doing things that only took a minute or two. Going through the mail, writing a check, writing a message in a birthday card, or reading an article sent by a friend were all worthy of my time and may not take up much time in and of itself, but all together, the time adds up. Quite often, I squeezed these little tasks in between major tasks. These little tasks end up in my “puttering around the house” category.

What’s next? The second step is to determine what areas I want to focus on for the remainder of the first quarter of this year. Once I have determined which goals I want to tackle using my extra time, I will create schedules to help me stay on track and accomplish those goals. I’m a planner; however, I’m also flexible so that if an opportunity to spend time with family or friends arises, I will adjust my schedule to take advantage of that special time.

Of course, dear reader, this is just one week out of many weeks. Every week looks a little differently, but every week generally has extra time that can be spent doing something that is important to me. Personally, I think it is beneficial to occasionally track time in order to evaluate if I’m spending my time well and spending it on activities that bring me joy. In fact, in January of 2018, I wrote and published a blog post or two about me time-tracking. For myself, time-tracking is worth the time, especially when it leads to a more enriching life. Happiness!

“When we know where the time goes, then we do take more ownership of it … and we can celebrate the things that are working and change the things that aren’t.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

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Time Log ExampleExcept for today, which is not over yet, I tracked my time all week. As I mentioned in my last post, this week was an unusual week at work because the majority of my 8th graders were visiting Washington, D.C. Although my work schedule was very different, my morning routine was pretty consistent Monday through Friday. Weekend mornings are very different. My evening routine this week was consistent with how I spent my evenings; however, they were unusual in a sense because of my work schedule.  So, what did I learn about how I spent my time this week? I made three observations from my time log which I am keeping in a small notebook.

Observation #1: I spent an average of two hours each evening watching television/playing games with the exception of Friday evening (attended a wedding in New Orleans). The majority of that time was watching television. I admit that I love watching television and movies. I watched two movies (A Monster Calls and It Comes at Night), a new episode of the X-Files, and several episodes of Parks and Recreation on Netflix. The games that I play are Trivia Crack and Words with Friends. Generally, I play these games while waiting somewhere, eating, during commercials, or riding in the car. I spent 1 hour and 5 minutes this week playing these games when I could have been using that time doing something more productive: reading, exercising, organizing my master closet, reconciling my checkbook, downloading pictures, etc. Lesson #1: I have control over the choices that I make about how I spend my time. I need to prioritize my time better this year in order to achieve my goals and pursue my interests.

Observation #2: During the work week, I get up anywhere between 4:00 and 4:30 in the morning. It depends on my day and if I need to leave home earlier or complete an additional task before leaving the house. I wake up later on the weekends or during the holidays when I am off of work. Generally, I get up anywhere between 6:30 to 8:00 on weekend mornings or when I am off of work. I admit that I am not a lark and despise getting up early. I would much prefer going to bed later and getting up when the sun is coming up. Unfortunately, my work day begins between 7:00 and 7:20. It depends on if I have morning duty or a meeting prior to morning assembly at 7:35. Sleep experts will tell you to wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. If for some reason you stay up later than your normal bedtime, you still set the alarm to get up when you normally get up; however, you go to bed earlier the following evening. Lesson #2: As long as I am teaching, I have to choose one time to get up in the morning and stick to it, even on the weekends. Although this will be hard for me initially, especially on the weekends, I definitely need to make this adjustment in order to feel better mentally and physically, and  it will create more time to accomplish my goals and pursue my interests.

Observation #3: I tend to multi-task by using the Strategy of Pairing. This strategy written about by Gretchen Rubin in her book Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, pairs an activity that you need or want to complete with one that you may not really want to complete. Looking through my time log, I realize that I do it quite often. For example, while I am cooking breakfast or dinner, I will also unload the dishwasher. While I am eating breakfast, I am checking my email or creating a to-do list. I also listen to podcasts while exercising or completing household chores. Lesson #3: Pairing can be effective, but only if it does not contain bad habit formation or distracts you in any way that could be dangerous to you or someone else. Pairing allows me to get many tasks completed more efficiently which will free up more time for me to accomplish my goals and pursue my interests.

TeamIn other news this week…I had a birthday on Thursday. I am officially 49 years old which means this year is my last year in my 40s. Despite having to work on my birthday, it was still wonderful. I received cards, texts, phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages from friends and family. My awesome team at school surprised me with sweet treats and a birthday card. My friend Terri who was chaperoning my students in Washington, D. C. face timed me, so they could sing me happy birthday. And, my hubby unexpectedly made it home that evening with take-out and a slice of birthday cheesecake. It was a simple yet satisfying day.

I will continue tracking my time this week. As you can see from my observations and lessons learned from this week,  managing my time more effectively will open up the time I need to be successful this year in all areas of my life. I hope, dear reader, that you are accomplishing your goals or pursuing your interests. If you are tracking your time, please let me know. I would love to know what you discover about yourself and how you spend your time. Happiness!

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” ~ Michael Altshuler

 

 

 

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ClockI struggle with time management and hope 2018 will be the year I can tame the beast. Therefore, I decided to sign up for Laura Vanderkam’s  168 Hours Time Tracking Challenge which begins tomorrow, 08 January. Time tracking is #17 on my list of 18 for 2018. Vanderkam’s challenge is only for one week; however, I am planning to track for a few weeks to get a truer picture of how I spend my time.

Tomorrow will be my first day back at work and Andrew’s first day back at school. He has been off of school since 15 December, and I have been off of work since 21 December. Except for spending a few hours in my classroom during the holidays working on my classroom library, so Andrew and Claire could earn service hours, neither one of us have done any school work since we got out. For once in my teaching career, I took completely off during Christmas break. Honestly, I needed the brain break.

This first week back will be an unusual week for me because most of my 8th graders will be in Washington, D.C., and I will be chaperoning the Hammond trip for the 8th graders who stayed home. Consequently, my work schedule will not be typical. That is fine because I’m tracking all my time which includes my personal time. I feel like I spend too much time working; therefore, the main objective for tracking my time is to figure out how to carve out more personal time to achieve my goals for the future.

I’ll keep you posted on this challenge, dear reader. Have a blessed and productive week. Happiness!

“Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.” ~ Carl Sandburg

 

 

 

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