Last week I shared the numbers behind my time tracking experiment in this post. Now, don’t get me wrong. I *love* numbers. Statistics are my weakness. But the whole point of this exercise was to analyze how I live my life and see where I can improve.
- My 29.25 work hours from the first week dropped to 14.25.
- As opposed to “only” 25 hours of focused time with my kids, we actively spent 34.5 hours together the second week.
- Personal time increased from 20 hours in week one to 25 hours in week two, but that’s in direct correlation to a decrease in time with James. He turned in quite early several nights in a row, leaving me to my own devices. ::Insert evil laugh::
Anywhoo, those are the numbers. As for the insights, those are based on the numbers from week one, which I share in detail in the first post. I broke the lessons learned into three categories: work, relationships, and self-care. Are you ready? Let’s get started!
The first revelation of this experiment is that I’m darn good at getting things done. Friends have told me for years that I’m more focused than anyone they know, and now I finally believe them. As someone with a passion for helping other work-at-home moms manage their time, I now have a confidence that I am indeed quite good at this. My strategies work for me. Now I can boldly share them with others. Rather than add those strategies to this post, I’ll share them at a future time, but I will share.
It also told me that I have space in my life to take more breaks. Yes, it’s admirable that I worked those 29 hours in the first week. But my life at this time doesn’t always require those kinds of numbers. There are times when I can afford to ease up a bit. Life is about living, not accomplishing–a lesson that could bear some emphasis in my life.
What time tracking told me about relationships:
When it comes to my kids, it makes sense why I need those nine hours of sleep per 24. We stay busy. Add in the life factors like high temperatures and intense humidity, and not only were those 25 hours with the kids intense: they also required creative thinking. Not every day was conducive to playing in the sandbox or sitting by the pool.
But in the end I saw that, with my kids at least, I’m doing a good job. They’re not watching four hours of TV each day, even though I might feel like that’s the truth. We have a healthy balance of alone time, mommy time, family time, and all the other activities.
As for time with James, the end number of 14 hours was less than I’d hoped. When you add in our eight-and-a-half hours of family time, it is over three hours per day. So while I’d hoped for a more impressive number, we’re actually doing pretty good. One thing I’ve loved about our life together is that James makes mealtime a leisurely event full of conversation. Until Reagan was about 18 months old and started eating dinner with us consistently, every night felt like date night. I miss that, but we still enjoy a lot of those aspects, albeit with more interruptions from our cute little rug rats.
What time tracking told me about self-care:
For starters, I have more time for people and projects than I realize. Granted, I don’t normally visit even one friend most weeks, let alone two. But there is certainly plenty of space in my life for fun, friends, and relaxation.
That being said, my choices could have been wiser. Even though my goal is to be in bed by 10:30 at the latest, at least three nights found me watching TV or YouTube until 11pm. This led to me dozing or napping in the following days—hours when I could have been working or enjoying more productive free time while the kids were asleep. Sleep is just as much about self-care as is me-time.
Still, there is room in my life for mistakes and “waste” and everything else, too.
While I expected this experiment to be tedious–and don’t get me wrong, tracking my hours did get old the second week–the take-aways were well worth the work. My guess is that an experiment like this would be beneficial at least yearly. While I’m not sure I’d attempt something like this in my historically difficult month of February, I do think a winter or spring analysis would be helpful.
How about you? Did you take the challenge and track your hours? If not, the first step is as easy as joining our tribe and downloading the time log in the Goodies section of the blog. Then tell us what you learned! Each of us has something to offer to this conversation.