Sunday, January 4, 2009

January, Week 1: Where Does the Time Go?

Continuing on the topic of time management, author Regina Leeds asks me to look at my life and what takes up my time. Here is my list, in no particular order:

Spending time with my family
Spending time with my friends
Organizing my life (!)
Spiritual pursuits (church, attending events, self-help books)
Errands and shopping
Surfing the internet
Watching TV or videos

Leeds asks the following questions:

What is on my list that isn't on hers (answer: organizing, blogging, reading, being creative, eating, sleeping, surfing internet, watching TV or videos)

Would I like to add some things to my life? (answer: more frequent dates with Mike and one-on-one time with each child, more time being creative, more time entertaining friends, more exercise and time spent outside)

Would I like to eliminate some things? (answer: I think it would be beneficial for me to limit myself to a certain amount of daily time on the internet or TV [like screen time for the kids], because both can be huge time wasters!)

The next step is to mark next to each item how much time it gets during an average week. I had to do it in Excel to get the times to add up, and I kept getting more total hours than exist in a week! Something's not right. Obviously, some of these items can be done at the same time (for example, eating and spending time with family), so it's hard to get the numbers to line up exactly the way I want them to.

Work and commuting--29%
Spending time with my family--12%
Spending time with my friends--1%
Cleaning and organizing my life (!)--6%
Spiritual pursuits (church, attending events, self-help books)--2%
Errands and shopping--1%
Surfing the internet--2%
Watching TV or videos--2%

And finally, the last task is to rewrite the percentages with the amounts of time I would LIKE to spend on each task. Ideally, I would work only 20 hours per week, but we all know that's not very I'll stick to my current percentage for that. I actually do not work tons of overtime in my job, so that's not something I would cut back on. Here are my revised percentages, with a couple of new lines:

Work and commuting-29%
Spending quality time with my family--12%
Spending time with my friends--2%
Cleaning--or Organizing my life (!)--6%
Spiritual pursuits (church, attending events, self-help books)--2%
Errands and shopping--1%
Surfing the internet--0
Watching TV or videos--1%
Exercise--3% (NEW--since I've lapsed in my gym habits in recent months)
Creative pursuits--crafts, making music, etc.--1% (NEW)

That was a tough exercise! (again done in Excel first) In order to come up with some time for exercise, creative pursuits, and spending an hour more a week with friends, I have to cut out any internet surfing and cut back my TV watching to 2 hours a week. I could cut back more on reading (only shaved an hour off), but that's one of my spiritual pursuits! I suspect I do spend more time on reading than I've estimated here, but much of that reading is done while I'm trying to get Nicholas to sleep (which I suppose I could categorize as spending time with family), or while I'm working on my hair in the morning, etc. Maybe I should cut back on my sleeping! :)

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