I’ve just been through the process of tracking my time following the books of the brilliant Laura Vanderkam (168 Hours and I Know How She Does It)
I tracked my time a month ago when "middle child" had just started school. I logged what I did for a whole week in 15 minute intervals. Try it, it’s fascinating – you can download a copy of it here; http://lauravanderkam.com/books/168-hours/manage-your-time/
The first week I tracked was heavy with kid’s time – looking after, school and nursery run and all the associated house time that goes along with it. It was actually quite scary to see how few hours I had available to work that week. I know my time is precious but it’s made me realise how much it is. As it was a week of new things with new school and new routines for everyone the process made me look at my personal routine and my priorities. I also had to go through a process of lowering my standards in some ways – cutting myself some slack during the time of change. I had to become happier with less. This really helped as if I tried to carry on in my previous level of workload I would have got disheartened due to “not achieving” everything I wanted to.
Now we are in our new routine, I am tracking my time again. This week I am in the office more and the rest of the time is the usual jumble of kids and house stuff. All pretty good but I need to remember to put pauses into my day so that I don’t get frazzled.
This is what I have learned:
- Time is precious, use it well
- Follow your natural energy – are you a morning person? Then do the more important tasks then. I am a morning person but at night I am happy to sit with pen and paper and map out articles and projects. I don’t like to go near a computer in the evening – it stresses me out! If I have important work to do and I’m too busy in my core office hours, I’d rather get up early before the rest of the family.
- Get plenty of sleep. I need lots of sleep and I know I have to go to bed early.
- Add in some time for you. I like reading crime novels. I make time for this. I also like to run. I get up early to do this on busy days but if I get chance to get out at lunchtime it’s a great way to re-energise.
- Use afternoons well. It’s not my best time energy-wise. I have carefully to plan organised tasks to complete otherwise I waste that time.
- Everything else is a bit of a muddle but it’s a happy muddle and fairly organised. I write everything down to make it easier.
Let me know if you try tracking time yourself.