I had taken Laura Vanderkam’s Time Challenge in the second week of September and had fun finding out how exactly I spend my time in the new school year. Read bout that here.
With the 168 hours up (and another too), I finally analyzed the time slots. Here. are the results:
Category Weekly Average(Daily)
Family 35.25 5.0
Work 15.25 2.2
Friends 2.75 0.4
Cooking 13.75 2.0
Chores 36.5 5.2
Entertainment 7 1
Sleep 57.5 8.2
Total 168 24
Being an SAHM, I multi-task often. I have to or we would barely get anything done. Plus, my schedule is predominantly about making Hubby and Kiddo’s schedule go smoothly. Hence, I typically weave my tasks around theirs and club chores together. T is still in Pre-K and school just began (at the time of tracking), so, transitions did cause us a bit of grief and upheavals. (parenthood and childhood are both frustrating!) So, I have added my 15-minute time slots in categories based on what tasks it predominantly was composed of.
When it came to activities with my child, like reading to her, playing Legos and Pretend, coloring (for learning or fun), conversations about science and Paw Patrols and WonderWoman, I found time slots where I was completely immersed with her and those where I also got mindless chores done. (like folding laundry and ironing) I put both under Family time because the chores were secondary. I even added one bathroom stint because T and I had an excellent conversation planning out mock-drive-through-play while on the commode. After all, inspiration strikes anywhere. 🙂 With Hubby, it was mainly conversations over dinner and snacks. I did not add watching TV together in this category, though we do typically catch a half hour episode on Netflix together.
When I looked at this time sheet, more than the numbers, I am happy about the kind of activities we had together, kiddo and me, Hubby and me and together as a family. This was one of the goals I had envisaged with my last time tracking. About improving the quality of family time. I felt I was a bit embroiled in the grind of everyday activities and could certainly do better in the quality of family time.
For SAHMs, work is supposed to be zero. Despite the fact that we are always on duty. But, I shall not debate that point in this post. Suffice to say, every family makes choices best suited to them and parenting is plain hard. So, wishing everyone success and strength to follow their duties and responsibilities to the best of their capabilities and within the myriad constraints we all have.
Coming back to my work, for me, it is is studying (my online classes) and my blogs :2 personal and one professional tech-related. Research and data analysis for my professional blog also comes under work. I did about two hours on average, and hope to bump that up with T being in school for a solid four hours. (My total drive time will eat forty minutes, but it still gives me about 3.5 hours.)
This is one sphere that I really need to boost. An average of 20 minutes seems good enough, but the details showed me two bursts of forty-five minutes. This is one key takeaway for me. To improve my friendships and community relationships.
The one unsurprising category in my time sheet. Being Indian, we cook a lot. My actual kitchen time is greater, but this category includes time spent exclusively in cooking, not multi-tasking with cleaning or packing lunches or chatting. It does seem a lot but happy that kiddo is eating her food groups and so am I.
I am horrified to see that this made up the bulk of my day, surpassing even Family time! Argh! This includes Driving time, Cleaning, Getting the Kiddo ready, packing lunches, ironing, and of course personal activities like showering, getting ready, etc. Obviously, some activities cannot be cut down (like brushing) or multi-tasked (like driving). But, I did see certain activities with potential to be outsourced (kiddo and dusting) or eliminated (web surfing) or multi-tasked (more ironing while listening to child talk about her day or folding laundry with audio books). This again will require planning and determination. I did finish off reading/ listening to three books with a few multi-tasked activities, so, I know this can be done with a little more practice and deliberation. All the Best to me! 🙂
Mostly TV time with Hubby, it also included time slots where I ate and read books, or simply watched videos for fun. Hurray! I am delighted to note that I do have solid time chunks for entertainment and not just spare moments grabbed from my time confetti-like days.
I sleep 8.2 hours on average. Weekends definitely improved my average. But, compared to last year, I gained more minute-wise and quality-wise since T is sleeping a lot better in the nights. No more disturbed sleep nights. Yippee!!! Definitely this was the best part of the tracking. Ah, blessed sleep!
I gained a lot of insights by tracking my time once again. Knowing where I am spending my time, I have set the following goals to improve my life and relationships:
- Arrange to spend more time with Friends
- Aim for three hours of ‘work only’ while T is at school
- Streamline chores to free more time for exercise and family
- Add exercise [right now I only managed forty-five minutes of walking every weekday. Since, these were leisurely nature walks that involved more talking with Hubby and kiddo, I clubbed it under Family time]
- Continue time tracking for a fortnight to gauge if using time better because of self-consciousness and accountability
So, how do you spend your time? Did you take the Challenge? What did you find out?