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Posts Tagged ‘time tracking’

During the week of 09 January, I participated in Laura Vanderkam’s Time-Tracking Challenge. Laura hosts this annual challenge in January, asking her readers to join her while sharing her discoveries about how she is spending her own time throughout the week. As I have mentioned in past posts, I find time tracking beneficial, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed or need to make some changes. My one-word theme for 2023 is CREATE, and I feel the need to create better organization of my time in order to successfully create a healthier and more sustainable life.

My week started with 168 hours on Monday 09 January at 7:00 in the morning. Two categories that took up a huge chunk of my time were creating content for YouTube and sleep. 35.5 hours were spent on content for YouTube (Kelsi’s channel and my own channel). This total includes 15.5 hours on watching movies and preparing notes for the Year of King project I did in collaboration with Kelsi and 20 hours for my own channel’s projects. 54.5 hours were spent sleeping. This left me with 78 hours to spend on other tasks or activities during the week.

So, how did I spend the remaining 78 hours of my week?

  • Morning Routine: 2 hours 

My morning routine looks quite differently than it did when I was working as an instructional coach at HGCS. Since I am currently taking a hiatus from working outside my home, I really do not have a structured morning routine. There are days when I have nowhere to go, staying in my pjs until later in the morning. Therefore, it mainly consists of pet care for two dogs and two cats, personal care for myself, and making myself a cup of coffee. When Barry is home, he will take care of the dogs during the day and generally make me a cup of coffee in the morning (sweet guy). My day then naturally unfolds and meanders around my responsibilities and appointments. Generally, I do not eat breakfast until about 9:00 in the morning.

  • Get dressed: 4 hours
  • Exercise: 0 hours
  • Meals: 12.5 hours (prepping/cooking and eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Home/Family Logistics (insurance policy renewal, financial tasks, dental appointments): 7.25 hours
  • Chores: 4.75 hours (loading dishwasher, laundry, floors, trash, cat litter)
  • Travel: 9.25 hours
  • Afternoon Routine: 1.5 hours (pet care for dogs and cats, sometimes make a cup of coffee)
  • Outside Time (23 for 2023 Challenge): 3 hours
  • Blog: 0 hours
  • Read: 1.75 hours
  • Goodreads: 0 hours 
  • Marketing YouTube (social media): 2 hours

Gretchen Rubin created the #Outside23in23 Challenge which I am participating in this year. Most days I do get outside for at least 23 minutes per day and usually because of my dogs. Unfortunately, this week I did NOT exercise (no workouts, no walking), and I barely read which is a bummer and totally unacceptable.

  • Evening Routine: 3 hours (shower, take dogs out before bed, prep for bed)
  • TV Shows/Movies/YouTube: .5 of an hour (watching Youtube)
  • Napping: 0 hours
  • Errands/Social Events: 6 hours
  • Birthday Message Project: 3 hours
  • Personal Development: 4.25 hours (improv, buddy read with sister, time tracking, self-care updates: check/record watch & Happier app)

I took a ride with Andrew on Monday evening to pick up sushi (our dinner) from Kirin. Tagging along gave me quality time with him. On Wednesday, I went to the post office to mail a small package to Shelly’s friend (book exchange) and stopped at PJ’s coffee to pick up sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits (for me and the boys) and a mocha latte. Around lunch time, Andrew and I rode together to pick up chicken tenders from Cane’s to bring to Mrs. Billie’s house for my birthday lunch with the two of them. My social events for this week included a bridal shower for my niece Kaitlyn on Saturday and a Livestream with Kelsi (The Shining) on Sunday.

As a result, 55 hours were spent on life responsibilities, 9.25 hours were spent traveling, and .5 of an hour was spent watching television shows, movies, or YouTube for a total of 64.75 hours.

This left me with 13.25 hours left over in my weekly bank of hours. Of my remaining time, I spent 5.5 hours of those hours hanging out with either family or friends. This is in addition to time spent with family and friends during meals, travel, or social events. My birthday was on Wednesday, so I spent 2.25 hours of the week reading and responding to texts, emails, and FB messages, as well as opening and reading birthday cards that came in the mail. I still have to respond to FB messages because I did not get to all of them last week. The remaining 5.5 hours was spent playing Trivia Crack, scrolling through social media (mainly Instagram), texting, email, time-tracking, or puttering around the house.

So, what did I learn during this Time-Tracking Challenge?

Regardless of it being my birthday week, socializing with family and friends throughout the week, and preparing for the livestream for my Year of King project, I did devote time towards my aims for 2023. I was able to combine my already scheduled dental cleaning appointment with getting the impression made for my implant crown. BAM! I created my first Readathon for February and released the announcement video for it on my channel and social media. BAM, BAM! And, finally, I registered for Laura Vanderkam’s Tranquility By Tuesday Challenge which means I have started reading her book this week. Triple BAM!

With that being said, I still had 5.5 hours that I could have read more, dealt with digital clutter, or organized spaces around my house. “Puttering around the house” is also not necessarily wasted time. Puttering is 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.

Additionally, I used the Strategy of Pairing quite a bit last week, generally when eating my meals. My YouTube watching hours would have been higher, but I watched several videos while eating breakfast and lunch. Also, my television watching hours would have been higher because I ate dinner a couple of times while watching The Shining movies. I also read a little more while waiting for my turn at the dentist. And, I listened to podcasts or talked on the phone (hands-free) while driving to improv class and Kelsi’s house.

Where do I go from here?

You should not be surprised I am time tracking again this week, dear reader. Last week was an unusual week with my birthday and everything related to the Year of King project. I want a more structured daily routine (M-F), especially in the mornings and throughout the day. I want to purchase a planner or create a binder to organize the content I am creating for both my blog and my YouTube channel. In addition, I need to create some time this month to get my home office organized, so I am not spending so much time get my little corner in the bedroom ready for me every time I film a video. I am actually excited about these results because they are motivating me to create a better schedule and to get me a step closer to becoming a better steward of my time. Happiness!

    “We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” ~ John F. Kennedy

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

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    We all have the same 168 hours a week, dear reader. How are you spending yours? As many of you know, I having been tracking my time periodically after reading Laura Vanderkam’s awesome book on time management, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make the most of his or her time. When trying to accomplish goals, keeping a time log of how you spend your 168 hours is a worthwhile endeavor. January is the perfect month to track your time. It provides a terrific starting point which can be adjusted as life happens.

    Like last January, I have signed up for Laura Vanderkam’s annual “Time Tracking Challenge” which will begin on Monday 09 January and run through Sunday, 15 January. Laura will send out an email on Sunday with details about the challenge. After logging my 168 hours for the week, I will analyze my time log to see exactly how much time I have left (after sleep and family commitments have been deducted) to work on my health and fitness goals, content creation, and the aims on my 23 for 2023 List. Time tracking is actually enjoyable for me, and I try to track my time periodically throughout the year, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed, feeling like I am not making any progress with my yearly aims, or there is a significant change in my life that affects my schedule.

    If you are interested in finding out more about time tracking or want to see where your 168 hours are going, check out Laura Vandercam’s website or her book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. The time tracking challenge is free, does not require a great deal of time, and can be eye-opening. Please let me know if you decide to participate in the challenge, dear reader, because it would be fun to compare notes and chat about time management strategies. You can leave me a comment or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Have an AWESOME weekend. Happiness!

    “Time stays long enough for those who use it.” ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

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    As mentioned in my previous post, I decided to track my time for an additional week to get a clearer picture of how I am spending my time. Therefore, this analysis is from the week of 17 January – 23 January. During this week, I worked 32.5 hours at school and devoted 54 hours to sleep. This left me with 81.5 hours to spend in other areas of my life.

    Therefore, how did I spend those remaining 81.5 hours?

    • Morning Routine (T-F): 5.75 hours 
    • Morning Routine (M/SAT-SUN): 3 hours
    • Travel to and from work (T-TH): 2.25 hours
    • Travel to and from other places: 4.25 hours
    • Afternoon Routine (M-TH): .5 of an hour (pet care for Tooty and cats, unpacking lunch box and school bag)
    • Chores: 11 hours (loading dishwasher, laundry, floors, washing out litter pan, bathrooms)
    • Walk (20 for 2022 Challenge): 2.75 hours
    • Read (includes #Read21in21 Challenge): 5.5 hours
    • Instagram Post (#yearofjoy2022): 1 hour
    • Goodreads: .5 of an hour 
    • Meals: 3.75 hours 
    • Evening Routine: 3.75 hours (shower; take Tooty out before bed)
    • Blog: 5.25 hours (Sunday-write, edit, revise, publish)
    • Content Creation: 13.75 hours (collaboration with Kelsi-YouTube)
    • TV Shows/Movies/YouTube: 2.5 hours
    • Napping: 0 hours
    • Social Events/Errands: 7.75 hours
    • Hanging out with Andrew: 1 hour

    As a result, 74.25 hours were spent with family/friends, walking, creating content, fulfilling commitments/life responsibilities, and completing household tasks. My time bank still had 7.25 hours, and those additional hours were spent on other activities, such as playing Trivia Crack, interacting on social media (FB and Instagram), texting, phone calls, checking email, time-tracking, or puttering around the house.

    It was an unusual, but gratifying, week since I was off Monday instead of Friday (MLK Day), played Pokeno on Monday evening (as a sub), attended Elton John’s concert with Shelly on Wednesday evening (original date 06/2020), worked from home on Friday (weather day), and did a livestream with Kelsi (Misery) on Sunday.

    Clearly, the two weeks I tracked were not exactly the same. I had 2.5 extra hours this week than last week. So, on average I have about 6 hours a week to spend on my goals for 2022. Compared to last year when I had 19 hours, that is not very much time. Nevertheless, I am not discouraged. Last year, we had stricter COVID restrictions, so I was home more. After today, I do not have any social events scheduled for February or March. I am also participating in Frugal February again this year since it was a huge success last year. Therefore, my extra hours may increase considerably. In the next few weeks, I am considering keeping track of the time spent on items from my 22 for 2022 list.

    There you have it, dear reader. Two weeks of time tracking, and I am a bit wiser about where my time is going, so I can adjust my schedule to be more productive and reach my goals for the year. It is also clear to me that I cannot do EVERYTHING I want to do at the same time. I will need to protect my extra time for the next two months and finish the first quarter of the year strong. In the meantime, I need to get ready to leave for Canton, Mississippi where I am attending an Audition Intensive Workshop today. Happiness!

    “We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” ~ John F. Kennedy

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

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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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    In order to get back on track and reFOCUS on my goals for the remainder of the year, I tracked my time for two weeks (week of 02 August and week of 09 August). Both of these weeks started out with 168 hours on Monday at midnight. Since school has reconvened after being on summer break for the last two months, my day job (instructional coach at a PreK2-8th school) and sleep take up the bulk of my time. However, the hours at my day job have been reduced this school year; I am currently working four days per week as opposed to five days when I tracked my time back in January. The reduction in work hours will ultimately allow me to spend more time on creating content and embarking on a new career path.

    Week 1: 02 August – 08 August

    During this week, I worked 32.5 hours at school and devoted 52.75 hours to sleep. This left me with 82.75 hours to spend in other areas of my life.

    That being so, how did I spend those remaining 82.75 hours?

    • Morning Routine: 11.25 hours
    • Travel (to/from work; to/from other places): 4.75 hours
    • Family/Fur Babies/Friends: 9.75 hours
    • Chores: 7.25 hours
    • Exercise: 5 hours
    • Errands: 4.5 hours
    • Read: 3 hours
    • Meals: 5 hours
    • Content Creation (blog; collaboration with Kelsi-YouTube): 20.75 hours
    • Evening Routine: 3 hours

    Therefore, 74.25 hours were spent with family/friends, exercising, creating content, fulfilling commitments/life responsibilities, and completing household tasks. My time bank still had 8.5 hours, and those additional hours were spent on other activities, such as playing games (Trivia Crack/Words with Friends), interacting on social media (FB and Instagram), texting, phone calls, checking email, time-tracking, watching television/movies/YouTube videos, or puttering around the house.

    Week 2: 09 August – 15 August

    During this week, I worked 33.5 hours at school and devoted 51 hours to sleep. This left me with 83.5 hours to spend in other areas of my life.

    In that case, how did I spend those remaining 83.5 hours?

    • Morning Routine: 11 hours
    • Travel (to/from work; to/from other places): 6.75 hours
    • Family/Fur Babies/Friends: 8.75 hours
    • Chores: 6.5 hours
    • Exercise: 4.5 hours
    • Errands: 8 hours
    • Read: 3 hours
    • Meals: 3.5 hours
    • Content Creation (blog; collaboration with Kelsi-YouTube): 8.75 hours
    • Evening Routine: 2.25 hours

    Therefore, 63 hours were spent with family/friends, exercising, creating content, fulfilling commitments/life responsibilities, and completing household tasks. My time bank still had 20.5 hours, and those additional hours were spent on other activities, such as playing games (Trivia Crack/Words with Friends), interacting on social media (FB and Instagram), texting, phone calls, checking email, time-tracking, watching television/movies/YouTube videos, or puttering around the house.


    Clearly, no two weeks are exactly the same. And, all the banked hours are not entirely spent on effortless fun. Some of that extra time gets spent on small tasks that just take a minute or two, such as writing a grocery list, a message in a card, or a check for a bill. I may be purchasing an item or researching ingredients for a meal online. I might spend a few minutes clearing off the kitchen table, reshelving books that I recently finished reading, or snapping a picture for my Instagram gratitude project. With that being said, if I take the average of both weeks, I realistically have 14.5 hours that I could be using to complete courses that I have purchased, scrapbook, read more, or strength-train (fitness). It is now up to me to prioritize my time which will ultimately help me achieve my goals. Additionally, I must adhere to that scheduled time that also includes built-in wiggle room.

    Why is wiggle room important? You just never know when something unexpected will require your attention, such as getting a call back for a play you auditioned for earlier in the week. Yep, I auditioned at the Columbia Theatre for The House on Haunted Hill this past Monday evening. Surprise! I got a call back for Wednesday evening. I auditioned strictly for the experience since I had a conflict the second weekend of the show. While it would have been terrific to be a part of this production, I did not get cast which is fine because Kelsi and I have oodles planned for September and October. Happiness Boost!

    Thankfully, I have only one commitment after work this week, and it is to spend a wonderful evening with my fabulous book club friends to discuss Mexican Gothic. Therefore, for the remainder of today, I will schedule my upcoming week and create a to-do list of the tasks that I need to accomplish before this weekend. As for my running schedule, I’m on Week #4: Walk 10 minutes (warm up). Run 2 minutes. Walk 1 minute (repeat this 3-minute session 5 times). Walk 10 minutes (cool down). My goal for this week is to follow this routine at least three days this week. On the other days, I will walk at least 20 minutes to keep up my walking streak and try to incorporate some strength training and biking. I did not strength train or bike this past week.

    Life is unpredictable, dear reader, but that is what makes it so interesting. My hubby, Andrew, and I enjoyed breakfast this morning at Cracker Barrel, and I treasured every minute we were together just being together. I’m excited to start a new week, especially one that is practically a blank slate. Enjoy your Sunday afternoon by spending your time doing something that boosts your happiness and adds value to your life. Happiness!

    “When you feed your soul by spending time on things you love, that you are excited about, your enthusiasm becomes contagious.” ~ Rita Davenport

    Top photo by Juan Vargas on Pexels.com

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    Happy Sunday, dear reader! My hubby and I decided to have breakfast this morning at Cracker Barrel before grocery shopping at Walmart. We had wonderful service provided by Kenley and a yummy meal. I ordered the Momma’s French Toast Breakfast (French toast, two eggs cooked over easy, sausage). Barry ordered the Sunrise Sampler. Kenley also brought me a small bowl of grits. I definitely did not eat clean this morning, but it was well-worth the extra calories.

    After breakfast, we briefly looked around the Cracker Barrel store which always has neat merchandise. I was specifically looking at autumn and Halloween decor. Kelsi and I have planned a few hours at the beginning of September to go shopping for Autumn/Halloween decorations. We are actually planning to vlog about our shopping adventure.

    On Friday evening, I actually tried vlogging for the first time to get some practice. The hubster and I planned to enjoy a Friday the 13th thematic date night at home. As soon as Barry got home from work on Friday afternoon, we headed over to Ultimate Party Store in Hammond to purchase a Jason Voorhees mask and found some cheap shot glasses and drinking glasses for the adult beverage we had picked out for the evening. Our next stop was Walmart for our summer camp food and Jason Voorhees drink (hotdogs, hotdog buns, asparagus, mashmallows, Hershey bars, graham crackers, Vodka, Rumchatta, and blue raspberry mix). Unfortunately, Walmart did not have the blue raspberry mix. Neither did Rouses, Winn-Dixie, or Albertsons. Since we struck out on obtaining the last ingredient needed for our thematic drink, I settled on a bottle of Seagram’s Calypso Colada in honor of Camp Crystal Lake (setting for Friday the 13th). On future grocery shopping trips, we will be on the lookout for blue raspberry mix, so we can eventually make a Jason Voorhees drink for either another Friday the 13th evening or as a Halloween treat. I had a great deal of fun recording our quest for the elusive blue raspberry mix. Maybe, one day when I learn to edit a vlog, I’ll share that vlog with you, dear reader.

    Once we returned home, Barry prepared the bacon-wrapped asparagus (perfect tribute to Kevin Bacon who stars in Friday the 13th), hotdogs, and chili while I set up the movie. About midway through the film, I made s’mores. Barry passed on the s’mores. The marshmallows we bought were too big. I definitely should have cut one in half. Despite not being able to make our thematic drink, everything turned out terrific, especially the bacon-wrapped asparagus. Additionally, we loved watching the movie which neither one of us had seen in a REALLY long time. Friday the 13th is an American slasher film that was released in May 1980. In my opinion, it is a classic slasher film that holds up well even today. Fun fact: Jason Voorhees as an adult wearing a hockey mask does not even appear in the first film. It had been so long since I had seen it last that I totally forgot about him not being in it. Barry and I had so much fun rewatching the first film, that in the future, we plan to watch the rest of the movies in the Friday the 13th franchise.

    While on the subject of slasher films, Kelsi and I had an overall chat about our Summer Slasher Movie Marathon, and we streamed it on YouTube LIVE from her lair. It was the very first time that I have ever streamed live online. Usually, we record our chats via Zoom. We had so much fun being together again in person, and I’m proud of myself and how well our chat turned out. I put my improv skills to good use. You can check out this conversation, our other movie marathon chats, and much more of Kelsi’s awesome content on her Slime and Slashers – A Nostalgia & Horror Channel. You can also click on the link below. Collaborating and creating content with Kelsi is a definite happiness boost for me.

    It’s time for me to wrap up, but before I do, let me update you on tracking my time and my running schedule.

    Time Tracking

    Instead of tracking my time for just one week, I chose to track my time this past week as well. This gives me two weeks to compare time sucks, scheduled commitments, and free time that can be devoted to my personal/professional goals. My time tracking officially ends at 5:00 tomorrow morning. I’ll share my findings this week. It will be interesting to see how my time tracking logs from August compare to my time tracking log from January of this year. The logs will determine how I plan to spend my extra time for the rest of the year and which goals will be completed in 2021 or roll over into 2022. I’m excited to analyze the data and get back on track.

    Running Schedule

    As for my running schedule, Week 2 (09 August-15 August) was a continuation of Week 1 but with picking up the pace, pumping my arms, and breaking a sweat added to the mix. I successfully met my goals for both weeks. For Week 3, I am making a slight adjustment to the times since I will be running and walking this week. Week #3: Walk 10 minutes (warm up). Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes (repeat this 3-minute session 5 times). Walk 10 minutes (cool down). My goal for this week is to follow this routine at least three days this week. On the other days, I will walk at least 20 minutes to keep up my walking streak and try to incorporate some strength training and biking.


    School is in full swing, and I’m slowly but surely getting back into my daily day job routine. I will tell you, dear reader, having Fridays off is a huge game changer. I am extremely happy that I was given the opportunity to work only four days per week. Of course, there will be a couple of weeks sprinkled throughout the year that I may work a Friday, but I will have another day off during that week to compensate for it. Lots to look forward to in the next couple of weeks, including a final chat with Kelsi related to our Summer Slasher Movie Marathon and a Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club meeting to discuss Mexican Gothic. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of what this Sunday has to offer, stay safe, and choose kind. Happiness!

    “Live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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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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    Happy Birthday to Me! My birthday was this past Monday (11 January), and I’m officially 52 years old. I do not feel it mentally or physically although I’m sure I look it. No matter, because I’m happy and grateful to be alive another day and can celebrate another year of life. Despite my special day being brutally cold (thankfully, no carpool duty) and having to work, it was a terrific birthday. I received cards from my fabulous co-workers, a gift and card from my fantastic roommate Julia, and lunch was provided for me by two of my fab friends who work in the school library, Kathryn and Debbie. Throughout the day, I received numerous happy birthday messages, texts, and emails. I even received cards in the mail.

    When I arrived home from work later in the afternoon, I had a Desert Beauty plant (succulents and cacti) and a card waiting for me from my sweet friend Denise. Andrew and I had our regular take-out dinner Monday evening from Kirin (sushi for me and ramen for him). My gift from Andrew was a book that I have been wanting by Mary Higgins Clark called Piece of My Heart. (Barry, Jr. is getting me Spellbound by Estée Lauder, my favorite perfume.) I relaxed for the remainder of the evening, reading and responding to birthday wishes. I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the day of my birth. However, since my birthday fell on a Monday, and my hubby was out of town, my birthday celebration extended into this weekend.

    I requested that Barry take me to the movies and then dinner afterwards at a new restaurant. Yesterday, he and I went to the afternoon screening of Wonder Woman 1984. While it was not as good as Wonder Woman, the first movie in the franchise featuring Gal Gadot, Barry and I still enjoyed it. After the movie, we went to dinner. Originally, I wanted to try One Thirteen in Hammond. Unfortunately, we did not make our reservations soon enough to dine inside, and neither one of us had the desire to dine outside in the cold. Therefore, we did a little research and ended up dining at Paolo’s Restaurant and Wine Bar located on East Pine Street in Ponchatoula. Paolo’s features northern Italian cuisine. This is my first new restaurant of the year (#18 on my 21 for 2021 list). What an excellent choice! A terrific atmosphere, a friendly and experienced restaurant staff, and delicious food made for a wonderful dining experience.

    Our waitress for the evening was Haylee. Since it was our first visit, I asked her for recommendations before I ordered anything, and everything she recommended was AWESOME. I wanted a birthday cocktail and couldn’t decide between the Blood Orange Cosmopolitan and the Moscow Mule. Haylee recommended the Blood Orange Cosmopolitan which contains Vodka, Blood Orange Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, Triple Sec, and Fresh Lime Juice. Yummy! Barry ordered a Bud Light. Barry and I skipped an appetizer, so that we could save room for dessert. I ordered one of the specials for the evening, Grilled Atlantic Salmon over braised brussels sprouts, and Barry ordered the Blue Crab Ravioli. Both of our entrées were scrumptious. Of course, we had to try each other’s entrée. Finally, to end a perfect evening, we ordered the Crème Brûlée which we shared. It was heavenly! Furthermore, since we were celebrating my birthday, our dessert was complimentary which made it even sweeter.

    In Other News

    I am still tracking my time for the week. Weekends are also tracked even though they look differently from the rest of the week, Monday through Friday. My week technically ends at 4:30 tomorrow morning (Monday, 18 January). I will analyze my time log to see what it reveals and share my findings with you, dear reader. I have already started jotting down some ideas of how I am going to divvy up my time based on the first few days of my log. I have to be realistic.

    Also, the room in my house that I am focusing on this month is my office. Andrew and I share this room. I use it to write/blog, and he uses it for school work. The office has furniture in place and one framed print hung up closest to the door. The goal is to clear out the piles of paperwork on top of my desk and in a couple of boxes under my desk. I also have a box of memorabilia that needs to find a home in my house. Eventually, I will hang a bulletin board in this room and possibly a white board. The ultimate goal is to declutter and organize each room in my house by the end of the year (#6 on my 21 for 2021 list).

    There is not much else to share at this point, dear reader. I’m grateful to have tomorrow off (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). Andrew and I both have eye appointments with a new eye doctor in Ponchatoula. In the meantime, I will enjoy the rest of today which includes catching a live stream of Kelsi on Twitch at 2:00 this afternoon. I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend. Happiness!

    Be happy and enjoy your sacred time on earth.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

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    Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

    We are ten days into 2021, and I’m getting into the groove of the new year. Managing time is where my FOCUS is for the month of January. It is also the first item on my 21 for 2021 list. Since I struggle with time management, I am always open to trying new strategies to help me in this area. How can I be a better time manager? The first step is tracking my time to learn how I am actually spending my time. Beginning tomorrow, 11 January, I will track my time for one week to see exactly how I am spending my 168 hours. I have done this a few times since reading Laura Vanderkam’s book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. It seems after tracking my time for a week or two, I can recommit myself to my goals and projects. I’m hoping it will help me focus on the four areas of my life (health, home, happiness-career, hobbies) that I want to improve this year.

    According to Laura Vanderkam, there will be 8,760 hours in 2021. That’s a great deal of time to spend living a meaningful life over the course of the year. I hope you are off to a good start, dear reader. Enjoy the remainder of the weekend. Happiness!

    “Time passes whether we think about how we’re spending it or not. So it’s very easy to spend time mindlessly. We also develop stories about our lives that may or may not be true. When we know where the time truly goes, we can make wise choices about it.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

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