Friday, January 19, 2024

2024 Time Study Results

For the third year in a row, I participated in Laura Vanderkam's time tracking challenge. She's been tracking her time for something like 8+ years. I only do it once/year and don't have a desire to extend it past the week challenge but it is an interesting exercise to go through. The challenge always takes place during the same week of January each year and while there is "no typical week" in most people's lives, it can show you some trends/themes of life. Like the first year I did the time tracking challenge in 2022, I was up during the night for 5.5 hours as Taco had tubes and then, separately, got some sort of virus that resulted in high fevers during the night. I am relieved that being up at night is the exception and not the norm these days! I did have to go into his room twice last week but I was in and out - so as long as my body let me fall back asleep, that night waking didn't make the tracker. One night I could not fall back asleep so was up for 30 minutes reading (still using the lessons I learned from my "sleep training for adults" post). 

A quick note about process. My time log is not super detailed. Laura provides excel spreadsheets with 15 and 30 minute increments - I use the 30 min one and I do not get super detailed with my time tracking. I just want a general sense of how my time was spent and I want to use "sumif" formulas in excel to calculate how my time was spent. So you won't see "eating" or "meals" below because I don't ever spent 30 minutes solely dedicated to eating a meal. Maybe this is bad but it is the reality of life with young children/the life of a working mom. I'm with the kids when I eat breakfast, dinner, and weekend lunches; I'm often eating while working on weekdays. I know that probably isn't recommended but so be it. Similarly, you won't see "blogging" below - I do most of my commenting from my phone or during snippets of downtime at work. I’m often commenting on my phone when the kids are focused on something that doesn't require my involvement. So no, I am not giving them my absolutely undivided attention for every minute of the 41 hours below, but I'm next to them and engaged when need be.

All that said, here is how my week shaped up!

Sleep - This kind of overstates how much I sleep but represents my time in bed. I am sure it is eye-popping to many. I know there are many who struggle to get 7 hours of sleep/night. I typically turn my kindle off at 9:30 and stay in bed until 6. Sometimes I get to "sleep in" until 6:30 on the weekend if Taco sleeps that late. When I wore a FitBit, which I felt more accurately tracked sleep, I would average around 7.5 hours of actual sleep. But yes, I spend quite a bit of time in bed each week but I need more sleep than the average person since I have a chronic illness that requires me to prioritize sleep. Admittedly, I feel a little lazy that I spend over 8 hours in my bed each night? It feels very countercultural... but it's what I need to stay healthy and flare-free. 

Kids - We spend a lot of time with our kids! More hours than I spend working (at least during this particular week). I know there's this thought that working moms barely see their kids. It is just not true and time tracking proves it. Granted, this really changes as your kids get older and stay up later. Paul goes to bed around 8 these days, so we get at least 3 hours with him on a week night plus loads of time on the weekend. 

Work - This was a quieter week at work for me as our salesforce underwent a reorg at the start of the year so I have barely had any meetings so far this year as sales people are introducing themselves to their new relationships. Plus I was WFH so I used downtime to work on a few projects - like writing all the school holiday info in my planner for the fall 2024 school year and I worked on a few pages of our 2023 photobook. There are weeks where I barely have time to eat lunch and am overloaded with meetings, or I travel and have long days. So I don't feel much guilt about lighter work weeks. It all evens out over time. 

Admin - This is kind of a catch all category for tasks related to the home/family. A good chunk of my "admin" time was spent doing some January cure projects, like deep cleaning our kitchen and deep cleaning our fridge. It also includes meal prep, organizational tasks, folding clothes, etc. 

Exercise - This is kind of a slim category but I actually worked out 6 times that week. But they were all 35-40ish minute strength training workouts which I rounded down to 30 minutes. I'm really happy that I worked out as much as I did - and it's entirely because I was WFH. It's much trickier to fit workouts in when we have to all leave the house together at 7 to do school/daycare drop-offs and drive downtown to work.

Read - It should surprise no one that reads this blogs that I spent 10 hours reading. I would say it was an average week of reading for me. I generally read from 8:30-9:30 each night and then sneak reading time in at other times, like when Taco naps on the weekend.

Couple time - I know this is a low amount of time, but a lot of those "kids" hours are spent together as we are generally all home together at 5pm on week days and we spend a lot of hours together on weekends, too (although I am more likely to take the kids somewhere while Phil grocery shops or cleans the house). During this week, our couple time was the 30 minutes we spent watching a show after the kids go to bed. Paul is in bed by 8, we watch a show until 8:30ish, and then I go up and read for an hour. That gives Phil time to watch shows he knows I won't enjoy. Phil and I didn't get married until we were 37 so we are used to having our "alone" time. I think/hope this category will change years from now when the boys are older and don't require constant surveillance!

Personal time - This is a new catch all category that I started to use each year. During personal time, I could be watching tv or reading/commenting on blogs or playing spelling bee on my phone. Most of these hours happened over the weekend during Taco's nap or a time when Phil had the kids downstairs to give me a break. 

Year-over-year changes

It's always interesting to look at year-over-year changes. 

- I exercised for fewer hours in 2024 than I did in 2023. But in January 2023, I was going strong on the 23 minutes outside in '23 challenge. I would go for 30 minutes walks outside which I categorized as exercise. The quality of my 2023 workouts was certainly better as I did 5 Caroline Girvan strength training workouts and 1 of her HIIT workouts (which I hated many minutes of but found very effective). 

- I had no doctor appointments this year! Hurrah! 

- No commute either since I worked from home during the week!

- I also had very little social time. The prior year I had an abnormal amount of social time as I brought a new mom lunch, celebrated a friend's birthday, and had a family gathering and a zoom catch up with a friend. Last week I spent 30 minutes on a zoom with a blog reader (hi, L!) talking about my job/field of work. 

- Couple time decreased slightly but Paul goes to bed later than he did last year, so we had a bit less time to watch shows together before I head up to bed. I know this time can easily get compressed but I do hope there is less "active management" around bedtime in the years to come so more of that time can be spent with Phil! This is all the more reason to really work on getting back to regular date nights, though, so I am glad we have one just around the corner in early February. I love and value my time spent with Phil so want to work on increasing our quality time together.

Have you ever tracked your time? Do you feel like you have a good sense of how you spend your time?

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