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All week, I’ll be blogging about my new favorite book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.  It’s essentially a time management guide that challenged the way I think about my time and has helped me find a few ‘extra’ hours a week.

168-hours

The basic premises of the book is this:  when you hear of a successful small businesswoman who is raising two children and training for a half Ironman, it’s tempting to think that she has some magical potion that gives her two extra hours a ay.   But the reality is that we all have the same amount of time – 24 hours a day, 7 days in a week, or 168 hours a week – and some of us are just more purposeful with our actions and habits.  That doesn’t mean that high achievers never relax.  It just means that they are efficient and effective with the time they do spend on their goals.

 

My goal for my 168 Hours experience is to ‘find’ a few extra hours a week to spend more time on two things that are very important to me:

 

  • GOAL #1:  More one-on-one interaction time with Henry.
  • GOAL #2:  Time to work on my fourth book (a young adult fiction novel).

 

The first exercise in 168 Hours requires that the reader track her hours for an entire week to figure out how, exactly, the 168 hours is spent.   This is the first step to finding more time.  Vanderkam argues that Americans, in general, overestimate how much time they spend at work.  There are several reasons why.  First, most of us don’t like working and thus perceive it as a bigger time suck than it actually is.  Second, there is a great deal of pressure in our society to appear ‘overworked.’  Basically, we make ourselves look and feel busy because Americans have bought into the myth that we all work soooo hard and have no time for our personal lives.  Vanderkam states that sociological studies find that most people who claim to work 40 hours a week actually work closer to 36, people who claim to work 60 – 69 hours a week really log 52.6, and those who claim 70 – 90 hours log less than 60.  And lastly, many of our work habits are incredibly inefficient – such as forcing employees to attend pointless meetings or write repetitive memos.

 

I tracked my time from October 20 – 27 in 15 minute increments.  Yes, this was incredibly tedious, but it was very illuminating and, ultimately, I believe worth the effort.  You can download time tracker sheets on Vanderkam’s website, but I just created a chart in Excel and filled it out throughout the day.

 

So, that being said, here are some introductory notes about my 168 Hours:

 

  • I am a stay-at-home-mom who runs two small businesses.  I wish I had tracked my time before Henry was born, especially when I was working full-time on one of my three books, just so I could compare.
  • With only a handful of exceptions, I’ve worked every day of the week and every week of the year for the last four years.
  • My husband stays home Mondays and Fridays so I can focus a little more on my own projects; however, this works out better in theory than it does in reality.  Like me, Kristien works every day of the week and often brings his work home with him.  I usually end up working half-days on Monday and Fridays because he is so busy.
  • I organized my time into six general categories:  Sleep, Henry (broken down into baby care activities, play time, pumping, and sleep training time), Household (which includes chores, commuting, errands, and walking dogs), Leisure (broken down into Internet, reading, socializing, and television), Personal Care (which includes cooking/eating, exercise, and showering/dressing), and Work (broken down into running the Husband’s clinic, answering emails, Healthy Tipping Point, writing my novel or working on freelance projects, Operation Beautiful, and managing my speaking events).  If you do a similar project, you can break down your time however you want and organize categories as you wish.  For example, I considered putting ‘walking the dogs’ under ‘Leisure’ because it’s a form of exercise and relaxation, but it’s also something that I have to do, so that’s why I put it under ‘Household.’
  • I multi-task a lot.  I play with Henry while eating, walk the dogs while talking on the phone, or pump while reading.  I tried to categorize my multi-task time according to the ‘primary’ or most important activity.  If I do this again, I will also keep track of the time that I spend multi-tasking.

 

That being said, here’s a breakdown of my 168 Hours:

168 Hours Total

Was I surprised at the results?  Well, I wasn’t surprised at my Henry-to-work breakdown.  As suspected, I am a ‘full-time’ mom, clocking in 32.85 hours focusing solely on Henry.  More Henry time can also be found in my ‘Household’  and ‘Leisure’ time – for example, vacuuming the house while singing to my baby.  After all, Henry is awake 12 hours a day, and unless I’m exercising or working, I’m with Henry.

 

In terms of work, I do think this was a slightly-lower-than-average working week, but considering that I think of myself as a part-time worker, 20.875 hours is spot on.  I also spent more time engaging in leisure than I thought I would (although, of course, I threw a Halloween bash on Saturday – the prep for the party sucked up at least five hours). 

 

In regards to work, here’s how my 20.875 hours broke down:

168 Hours Work

I didn’t have any freelance projects last week, which is slightly unusual, but I am so disappointed that an entire week went by and I didn’t write a single word of my novel.  I am not the least bit surprised that I spend so much time on e-mail.  And if I had a speaking event this week (I do one every five weeks or so), I would’ve spent 10-15 hours on the event, especially when you consider travel time.

 

It’s worth noting that Vanderkam warns against thinking, “Well, this wasn’t a typical week” because – for most of us – there is always something ‘untypical’ about our week every week, whether it’s taking a half day away from the office, throwing a party, or going to a doctor’s appointment.  This is especially true for someone like me; much of  my work is project-based so my weekly breakdowns can look very different depending on what I’m working on.

 

And here’s how my time with Henry broke down:

168 Hours Henry

Why I Pump… I wonder what my time breakdown would look like if I still breastfed or formula-fed.  As a side note about pumping, based on what others have told me, I pump incredibly fast.  So please – if you are thinking about pumping exclusively, don’t assume it will also take you less than 1 hour a day combined – most women pump for 20 minutes at a time (and then six or eight time a day!).

 

I’m happy that I spent so much time playing with Henry, and I’m surprised that sleep training (shushing, soothing, putting down for naps) takes just as much time as general baby care (dressing, bathing, feeding).  I’m also happy to have spousal and familial support in raising my child, as it allows me to do other stuff that I want/need to, like working and exercising.

 

Here’s what else I learned by logging my time:

 

  • Although I’m far below the national average of 33 hours (yes, seriously), I spend way too much time watching television.  I watched 6.5 hours of TV last week.
  • I spent more than 7 hours running various errands, including one trip to the grocery store.
  • I was intrigued at how much I slept – almost 8 hours a night on average.  That’s more than I thought, but I should point out that my 8 hours is constantly interrupted and feels more like 5. 

 

And here’s what I’m going to change going forward:

 

  • I’m going to spend less time working during the day – when Henry is awake – and work at night instead of watching so much TV.  That will give me more time to interact and play with Henry, which is just as relaxing as zoning out in front of the TV at night.
  • Online shopping (hello, Amazon Prime!) can drastically reduce my errand and commuting times.
  • I’m going to get tough about only answering non-pressing emails two days of the week – Monday and Friday.  I’m more efficient at responding when I sit down and do it in hour or two hour chunks v. being tied to my phone or computer all day.
  • I need to stop making excuses and start working on my book.  I’m 30 pages in and really proud of it so far.  It’s not only a leisure activity for me – I really enjoy writing – but it’s also a potential moneymaker – assuming that I can sell it to a publisher.  It’s worth my time to focus on it – I just need to do so! 

 

How do you spend your 168 Hours?  Do you multi-task a lot, too?  Do you watch 33 hours of TV?  Got any great time management tips?

{ 82 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More October 29, 2012, 8:39 am

    I’m a huge multitasker and as crazy as this seems, I’m often at my best when I’m busiest. I guess because I’m just in a go-go-go mode but that’s usually when I’m able to accomplish the most. I guess that’s a good thing because I have HUGE things planned for November and will be very busy!!

    I generally just watch TV while I eat my breakfast in the morning to get an idea for what’s going on in the world or a select hour or two in the afternoon/early evening. I can easily get sucked into hours and hours of TV so the more I limit it, the more I’m able to get done.

    Reply
  • Sara October 29, 2012, 8:40 am

    I usually run errands during my lunch break so I don’t have to do it after work. That saves some time!

    Reply
  • Michelle @ Eat Move Balance October 29, 2012, 8:47 am

    I multi-task ALL THE TIME. I don’t think it’s the best way to be efficient, but sometimes it’s just necessary. I really like your list of ideas on how to begin to move forward . . . especially the online shopping (hello, holidays are coming) and to stop making excuses–and just get to work!

    Reply
  • Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries October 29, 2012, 8:49 am

    This is SO interesting to me!! I might just have to pick up this book and do these exercises myself. I’m not always the best at managing my time well and have often thought about how much more I could get done if I worked on my time management skills. Social media is a HUGE time sucker for me… I look forward to reading more about what you to say about all of this!

    Reply
  • Isabella October 29, 2012, 8:49 am

    This post was awesome! I’m in public school and sometimes feel wasted by the amount of time that is just for chatting. This has inspired me to get back in the groove to at least work on Homework when I have the extra time. I don’t watch Television and am so glad!

    Can you talk about how your new goals affected your use of time at the end of the week?

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 29, 2012, 8:58 am

      I’m thinking about implementing them one week and then doing another tracker of my time in two weeks to see how it changes!

      Reply
  • kalli October 29, 2012, 9:02 am

    this is very enlightening! i work alot being a high school principal. i would say most of the day is work. i run at 5 am most days of the week, do NOT have tv because that would waste a lot of time i don’t have and stress me out, i eat easy to cook meals like you, shop once a week, and use mail order a lot. i just don’t have time to waste and still want to enjoy life :)

    Reply
  • Melissa R October 29, 2012, 9:02 am

    I hate to be negative, but I have found as my boys are getting older, I am truly exhausted and brain dead to do anything productive at night. You might find working at night to be challenging as Henry becomes more active. I think the key is–adapt the schedule as you go along. Or wake up way before everyone else! ;-)

    Reply
  • Kaitlyn October 29, 2012, 9:06 am

    I know I overestimate my worktime. It’s so mentally draining that it feels like more. I am shocked to see that American spend over 30 hrs watching tv?! What is there to watch?! We still have bunny ears and get three channels. That sqaushes that pretty fast.

    Reply
  • Heidi October 29, 2012, 9:11 am

    I really enjoyed your review of this book! The amazon reviews mention though that she pushes a lot of “hire someone to do it for you”. Which is obviously not realistic for most. Did you find this as well?

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 29, 2012, 9:17 am

      Yes, she does do this. And yes, for most of us, it seems unrealistic. However, I’ve been trying to think of it like this, “Is my time WORTH MORE (financially) if I was doing something else?” The only time I can REALLY justify this is lawn care. The Husband spends 3 hours a week doing lawn care; this is ridiculous for him. He bills $75 – $200 an hour for his job; his time would be much better spent actually working (or relaxing – that is priceless). So I think we may hire someone to do our yard. If it’s $100 a month, it’s well worth it, and I think we can swing that. Can we outsource EVERYTHING (like cleaning)? No. We tried using a maid service for a while but it was far too costly and MY time wasn’t really financially worth it. Do you outsource anything?

      Reply
      • Caitlin October 29, 2012, 9:19 am

        It’s worth being said that I like her concept of “what can I ignore?” better. I think we all get sucked into doing tasks that are time consuming and not really worth it.

        Reply
        • Heidi October 29, 2012, 9:30 am

          I absolutely see what you’re saying, there are certain things for sure that if it made sense we would outsource. Currently I don’t, there’s no way I could afford it being only graduated university 1 year I am just getting on my feet financially. However, I’ve always said that once I felt financially more comfortable I would probably hire someone to come in once a month a do deep cleaning on my house, the stuff I hate doing! :) One of these days! Thanks for your honest opinion.

          Reply
  • Amanda October 29, 2012, 9:25 am

    This post is sooooo interesting! I could really stand to manage my time better. My goal for this week will be to log my time, even loosely just to see where I stand. That said I’m really disturbed that the national average for watching tv is 33 hours a week! Holy crow!

    Reply
  • DadHTP October 29, 2012, 9:29 am

    “If you need something done, ask a busy person – if they agree, they’ll figure out a way to make it happen.”

    Reply
    • Jen October 29, 2012, 11:04 pm

      I thought of that quote too! (Not that I’m the world’s best time manager, but great minds think alike.) :)

      Reply
  • Ally October 29, 2012, 9:32 am

    I guess my issue here is that people that have to work in an office, or shift work, aren’t really overestimating their time. I have to be at work from 9 until 5, Monday to Friday. I also have a 3 hour daily commute. I would agree that while at work, I might only officially log 5 hours of actual work for a day, but that doesn’t mean I can leave my desk and get grocery shopping done, or clean my house, or go to an exercise class. I get an hour long lunch break, so I do usually try to get a walk in and any shopping in that I can (obviously only what I want to carry on my train ride home) and I can pay bills and do some online tasks during my down time at work, but those take minimal time. So, I feel like there is wasted time, but not by choice. I think this the case for a lot of people who don’t have the option of working from home.

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 29, 2012, 9:44 am

      Yes, she talks about this too. So if you are at work all day, but take an hour to eat lunch w your coworker friends, it counts as leisure technically speaking. Although I would still think of it as work!!

      A 3 hour commute is brutal. :(

      Reply
  • Kris October 29, 2012, 9:33 am

    I think we all multi-task! I’d like to see a breakdown of the time suck that is Internet, social media, texting, talking, etc. I have the tv on a lot, but it’s more background noise while I’m doing stuff around the house, since it’s just me and the dog at home during the day, and he’s not a brilliant conversationalist.

    Reply
    • Kris October 29, 2012, 9:37 am

      I have to add that I rarely hire someone else to do things, since as a military wife we moved frequently and I had lots of jobs which didn’t pay much. I was talking about this with a friend, how much our time was worth. I said my time was worth about $12.00/hr. (what I made far too many times), to which she replied “I made $125.00/hr.”; we’re both college grads.

      Reply
      • Caitlin October 29, 2012, 9:42 am

        Don’t forget that if she was a small biz owner like Kristien, she might make that much but then she has taxes, employees to pay, advertising, and overhead!

        Reply
  • Katheryn October 29, 2012, 9:37 am

    I’m a SAHM to three kids, so my days look differently to yours, but this has definitely made me think about how I spend my time. Hubby regularly works 50 hours a week, but he’s been working 80-95 hours a week since July and will continue for another month. This is accurate though. He has to clock in and out and be able to explain every hour of work. All of his time at work means extra work for me alone with the kids. I watch more like 10-12 hours of tv a week, but that is my relaxing/unwinding time after putting the kids to bed. Once hubby stops working crazy hours, I’m sure my screen time will also decrease.

    Reply
  • Jess October 29, 2012, 9:49 am

    I need more hours in the day…seriously. Just quickly off the top of my head, this is how my day breaks down:

    6 hours sleeping
    2.5 hours nursing/pumping
    2 hours cooking (food prep plus eating with the family)
    1.5 hours driving (commuting to and from work)
    8 hours working
    1 hour exercising/TV (usually at the gym)
    3 hours other baby care

    I multi-task a lot and am pretty much exhausted all the time.

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 29, 2012, 10:01 am

      It’s admirable you exercise during such a busy day!

      Reply
  • lisa fine October 29, 2012, 9:53 am

    I read this book too, but never ended up tracking my time. (I think I worried about how much time it would take to do so!)

    My partner and I stopped watching TV over the summer, and this week I’m going to be putting up a post about our “TV free home”, why we don’t watch, and why we’re probably going to continue to keep it that way. I’ve been reading more books and writing on my blog again, which I love much more than spending time watching television.

    Reply
  • Vikki October 29, 2012, 10:01 am

    I gave up regular TV watching years ago. I substitute Netflix and watch when I can do something else like knit or clean (laundry).

    I work an office job and I’m a writer (5 Manuscripts to my name and I hope to query in the spring when I finish revising my contemporary romance.) I plan to steal time at lunch and write for 30 minutes. Setting a timer and forcing myself to focus on my book and not checking facebook, my email, and other things really really helps me get a lot of words in when I’m writing new. I also do the same in the morning before work and in the evening. That is an hour and a half of writing time that I wouldn’t have had.

    I have a friend is a stay-at-home mom to a toddler and an infant. (her youngest was born June 1st.) Writing is important to her so she’s been getting up at 4:30 in the morning and writing until the baby wakes.

    I’m the ML for my local national novel writing month group and I preach to new wrimos the gospel of making time and making yourself accountable. Shout to the world what you’re doing. Caitlin, you have a great resource right here on your blog. You could put a little counter at the bottom of your posts or in the sidebar that tracks your progress on your novel. I’ve written x words of a 90000 word novel. As far as turning off and making time to write there are a couple of things that can help. Freedom is software that allows you to turn off the internet for a predetermined amount of time. Write or Die is a text editor that more or less yells at you if your fingers stop moving.

    Just my thoughts. I know I don’t have kids, but I have a full-time job, an exercise habit, and a tendency to volunteer too much. This is how I stay on track.

    Reply
  • Corrie Anne October 29, 2012, 10:04 am

    This is fascinating. Unlike a lot of people, I KNOW I have a lot of free time. That’s the way it is, and I’m enjoying it while it lasts.I don’t have any kids. I work part-time from home (teaching piano), but I also keep pretty busy as part-time stay-at-home wife. I’m new to Denver, and we recently moved all the way across the city — so anyone I knew on the other side… Haha. I’m thankful that I get to go to the gym during the day, read, blog, read blogs, etc, and I’m trying to get more into volunteering. I grew up in a big family, and we will probably have one someday… so I guess I’m using up my life leisure quote now… haha.

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 29, 2012, 10:06 am

      Free time is awesome!!!

      Reply
  • Emily October 29, 2012, 10:04 am

    You should be proud of tracking all that time, I’d probably feel a bit guilty if I tracked mine because of all the time I spend on tasks that would take normal people much shorter, though it would be worthwhile. I can’t say I watch as much TV as you, though I would if I had my own TV and I had cable so I didn’t have to endure hours of reality TV – from Mum – and sport and current affairs -from Dad -. I like movies:) I’m a writer too although I’ve been doing it since I was sixteen and find it very easy to engage in when I am supposed to be studying for nursing, though I can definitely say my plot is more exciting than learning about the properties of angiotensin-one converting enzyme inhibitors!

    Reply
  • Katie October 29, 2012, 10:15 am

    I’m so glad you wrote about this book- the topic is incredibly relevant to my life! I have a toddler and a newborn (7 weeks old), work full-time or more, spend a lot of time commuting, etc etc… Seems like I’m always trying to squeeze every minute out of the days but there just isn’t enough time to get everything done. There certainly is never enough time for sleeping and/or taking care of myself. I need to make time to do this so I can figure out where to save!

    Reply
  • briana October 29, 2012, 10:19 am

    Thanks so much for this post! I was literally just thinking this morning that I’m going to make a REAL commitment to time management, and I love that the vibe of this post is framed positively–seeking to find more things to do what is important to you. I’m looking forward to following this mini-series this week!

    Reply
  • Kath October 29, 2012, 10:27 am

    Loved reading this!!! I would love to do the same thing but I don’t have tiiiiime! Haha. Seriously though I might do it just to see how my life breaks down. I am such a multitasker though I’m not sure how I would break it down if I were doing 2 really important things at once… Like eating and blogging.

    Reply
  • Bronwyn October 29, 2012, 10:34 am

    This sounds really interesting. I’ll definitely have to do this breakdown, and read the book. I want to work on better organizing my time.

    Reply
  • Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin October 29, 2012, 10:39 am

    This is really interesting – just put a link to it on my blog because it was the best blog post I’ve read in a while! Like you, I think I watch TV a lot less than the average person, but I don’t think I would want to give it up completely because I really enjoy getting sucked in to a few of my favorite shows. I think I spend too much time on the internet though, which is definitely something I could cut down!

    Reply
  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 29, 2012, 10:48 am

    I have a feeling if I actually tracked my time, I’d spend barely any on school and way too much on commuting and leisure time… I really need to be more efficient!

    Reply
  • Emily @ Relishments October 29, 2012, 11:00 am

    I read 168 Hours last year (seen here: http://www.relishments.com/blog/2011/08/thoughts-on-168-hours/). Since then the thing that has stuck with me the most was her ideas about the phrase “I don’t have time”. I’m very guilty of “not having time” to do things, but Vanderkam points out that having time is really a matter of priorities–I have time, I just choose to spend it on television, Facebook or napping. As a result, I’ve really tried to be intentional about my time over the past year.

    Reply
  • jessika October 29, 2012, 11:03 am

    Yeah for amazon prime!!
    Yet boo to subscribe and save. They never got my deliveries out on time, it basically stopped being worth the discount due to the hassle.

    Reply
  • Sophie @ Threetimesf October 29, 2012, 11:11 am

    This is so interesting – when I go back to work next week I’m going to try it :)

    Reply
  • deva at deva by definition October 29, 2012, 11:15 am

    I do a lot of multi-tasking throughout my day. This post has me wondering what a typical breakdown of my week would look like hours-wise. I’d love to see how much of my “oh my gosh I have no time!” is self-imposed!

    Reply
  • Amy @ Eat Workout Succeed October 29, 2012, 11:22 am

    Wow – this has really got me thinking… what do i do with my 168 hours??? I am also a full time mom, with lots of ideas for a business but never feel like i have time, between looking after my son, errands, cooking, housework and dare i say it watching TV! I may do an audit from tomorrow until next week and see where i can make changes.

    Thank you for this, this is really interesting!

    Reply
  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action October 29, 2012, 11:39 am

    Wow- this has definitely inspired me to track my own week and see where I spend all my time. I don’t even have any children and I already feel like I’m running around constantly with no chance to relax. I’m also interested to see if I work as much as I think I do- since sometimes I feel as though I live at work. Out of curiousity, if you’re already tracking the way you spend your time, is the rest of the book a good read with something to learn?

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 29, 2012, 11:50 am

      Yes! I’ll be sharing more thoughts on the rest of the book throughout the week.

      Reply
  • Mai October 29, 2012, 12:07 pm

    This is such an interesting idea. I’m going to try documenting my 168 hours!

    Reply
  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction.com October 29, 2012, 12:07 pm

    Great post!!! This was really eye opening. I’d love to do a project like this, but can see how tedious it is. I hope this helps you with your time managment.

    Reply
  • KaraHadley October 29, 2012, 12:11 pm

    I would be so afraid to do this, I think. I know I spend way too much time doing leisure activities, but yet I always feel so stressed. But then, maybe that’s why I should do something like this.

    Reply
  • Carolina John October 29, 2012, 12:12 pm

    wow that looks fantastic! I actually struggle with time management even trying to balance training, work, family time, and blogging or other personal time. Good call, I need to start tracking sometime.

    Reply
  • Katie October 29, 2012, 12:40 pm

    This is so fascinating to me. I’m really tempted to start timing how long I spend on each task, but I’m afraid the amount of time I spend doing school work will be horrific compared to my leisure time.

    Reply
  • Verna October 29, 2012, 12:51 pm

    Amazon prime is WONDERFUL!! I have two small children and the less time I have to spend with them at the store/loading/unloading them in and out of the car the happier everyone is! I love Amazon Prime!

    Reply
  • Penny October 29, 2012, 12:55 pm

    I’ve been very intrigued by this book every since you first mentioned it. I’ve looked it up on Amazon a few times and thought, “I should buy this book.”
    After reading this post, I feel as though I MUST have it. My time management has always been terrible. And when I say terrible, I mean utterly and completely appalling.
    I’m going to start tracking my time the way you have. I love that you have graphs on how you spend your time. I may have awful time management skills, but I love all things organzitional, and your charts make me feel kind of hot and bothered. :-D

    Reply
  • Marci October 29, 2012, 1:18 pm

    fascinating! i feel like i am always rushing somewhere and doing at least two things at once. i like how you are always trying to better yourself. inspiring. i have also wondered how you watch henry while you pump. that was always my problem, someone had to be home because naps weren’t predictible at the time.

    Reply
  • Annette@FitnessPerks October 29, 2012, 1:19 pm

    Wow. This is so very cool! Thank you for making the charts–and showing how it’s done.

    I watch about mayyyybe 2 hours of TV/week, if that. So yah, wayyyy below average. I sleep a lot too. And I teach a lot of fitness classes on top of working full time, so I don’t think I have enough leisure or me time. It usually ends up being crammed into the weekend, so I need to work on that!

    Reply
  • Cara @ I Don't Believe in Diets October 29, 2012, 1:39 pm

    Thanks for the summary on this. This is very interesting. I also adore charts, and might follow several tumblr ones also obsessed with them. haah

    Reply
  • Patti @ This Starts Tonight October 29, 2012, 1:43 pm

    Hey Caitlin! Do you know about NaNoWriMo? (National Novel Writing Month) Technically, you aren’t allowed to “win” with something you’ve written even a word of before November, but many people use it to work on existing projects. It’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November, and there’s a huge online community on their website, along with inspirational emails from other authors. This will be my third year, and I’ve never “won” (made it to 50,000), but it’s amazing how much time you can find to write if you’re trying to meet a challenge of 2,000+ words a day. Somethings to think about!

    Reply
  • Amber K October 29, 2012, 1:54 pm

    I very rarely ever do just one thing. I can’t fathom not multi-tasking. I also know I watch too much TV, but I am always doing something else while technically listening to the TV.

    Reply
  • Jessi @ doctorate housewife October 29, 2012, 2:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I read the book about a year ago, but I haven’t really put it into practice. This is making me think about it again. I’d love to hear about how this ends up working out for you in practice.

    Reply
  • Alicia October 29, 2012, 2:22 pm

    Hi Caitlin!

    I’m sure you didn’t mean it in a bad way, but as a 40-60 hour/week WOHM (geologist) I want to say that I am not a “part-time” mom. I hear the phrase “full-time mom” used very often from WAHM/SAHM and I do find it insulting and exclusionary. I don’t cease to be a mother while I’m at work.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that. I hope you don’t think I am attacking you or putting words in your mouth, but when you say that you are a “full-time mom” it does imply that other moms are less.

    -Alicia

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 29, 2012, 5:17 pm

      Hmm good point. Of course all moms are full-time moms! What I MEANT to say was Henry isn’t in daycare. That would’ve be phrased better!

      Reply
      • Marissa C October 29, 2012, 6:19 pm

        Eh, your wording didn’t phase me at all as a mom working full time.

        Reply
        • Stephanie October 29, 2012, 8:05 pm

          Im a full-time SAHM for the time being (coming from working full-time my whole life) and I definitely think there is a difference. It doesn’t mean that a working mom isnt “always a mom” but being home is a HUGE responsibility and I think Caitlin’s point was that she not only takes care of her baby 24-7 but ALSO works. Amazing.

          Reply
  • kwithme October 29, 2012, 5:06 pm

    I am thinking about checking out this book. I waste alot of time and know it. But the statement that stuck with me was “saying that a week was out of the ordinary”. With each change of seasons (especially school starting or summer vacation), I have to get ready for a new “Normal”. Takes a couple weeks to figure out what it will be like and to get settled in the best use of time and biorhythms. I would get to Friday and say, “this was a busy week” and after 4-5 weeks, I’d figure out that it was normal, and that only a few weeks were less busy.

    Reply
  • Carrie @ The Cook's Palette October 29, 2012, 5:31 pm

    Love this post! It’s fascinating, really, how we spend our time. I sort of what to do this just to make cool pie charts and stuff. :) Let us know how things go as you try to put things you want to change into practice.

    Reply
  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut October 29, 2012, 5:42 pm

    I always say how impressed (and jealous!) I am of how you are able to manage your time, but CLEARLY you make a conscious effort to work on it. I know you’d like some things to be different, ie your book, but I think you’ll hit a groove soon that you’ll be happy with. Usually slow processes are the ones that are most effective and long-lasting. :)

    Reply
  • Marissa C October 29, 2012, 6:20 pm

    I’m still jealous of your pumping skills! Before my daughter started solids, I pumped 30 min to get one 5 oz bottle. Today all I got was 1 oz and then I spilled it!

    Reply
  • Nicole October 29, 2012, 7:42 pm

    So interesting! I love seeing how much time you get with Henry, that’s such a blessing! I am really glad we got rid of cable, it has saved us money and I know it has given me more time in the day. I really wonder how I could spend my time more “wisely” while breastfeeding. Read a life-changing book? Learn a new language with CDs? Hmmm….

    Reply
  • Holly P. @ A Year in Wichita October 29, 2012, 8:40 pm

    Several things…

    1. You are one dedicated gal to have tracked in 15 minute increments. I would never have the patience for that.
    2. Very interesting to see how all of the baby work breaks down.
    3. I’m appalled that the national average of tv watching is 33hrs/week. That’s frightening. I just added up my the time it takes to watch all of my ‘shows’ and its 7 hours a week and I think that I watch a lot of TV. But I’ll never give up the shows I love. :) Good to know that I’m watching nearly 5x less than the average. Ugh.

    Reply
  • Kelli October 29, 2012, 8:58 pm

    I think I’d be scared to see how I *actually* spend my time…something tells me I spend a lot more time reading blogs and watching TV then I like to admit. :)

    Have you heard of National Novel Writing Month? http://www.nanowrimo.org/ It might help you get that YA novel written!

    Reply
  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) October 29, 2012, 9:06 pm

    I am not as busy this year as I have been in the past, and don’t really have a lot of responsibilities … so I spend a lot of my time on leisure, and waste a lot of it being bored. I really should get a few more hobbies!

    Reply
  • Allison October 29, 2012, 9:57 pm

    So interesting!! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • Dominique October 30, 2012, 12:38 am

    This is such a great post! I spend about two hours commuting each day, which is something I didn’t do last year. Now that I’ve lost those two hours, I find myself struggling to fit in the regular daily activities I used to complete. Breaking down my time into categories would be a perfect way for me to figure out how much time I spent on various parts of my life.

    Reply
  • Kelly October 31, 2012, 8:37 am

    As a full-time mom and part-time freelancer, I’ve found it INCREDIBLY valuable to track my time. It allows me to allocate enough time for the things I have to do and makes me much more disciplined when doing things I don’t necessarily have to do. I started with spreadsheets too, but I’ve since adopted a timer-based tool that one of my clients built – http://hourstracking.com. The timer is a constant reminder to stay focused.

    Reply
  • Kylie November 3, 2012, 2:12 am

    This is the 2nd place I have heard about this book this week. I have taken the hint and just got it on my Kindle. I can’t wait to see where my hours are taken up.

    Reply
  • Michael D. November 14, 2012, 3:29 am

    To be honest I’ve never heard of this book before, now I have to put it in my wishlist, thanks Caitlin! I’ve started keeping track of my time a while back, and I was amazed how little I actually worked.I’m kind of a computer junkie, so 80% of my time is spent on my computer.

    I’ve started using an automatic tracking tool ( http://www.paymo.biz/paymoplus/) and creating small projects and tasks so I could streamline my work. Fats forward a couple of months ahead and I’m getting more done, I’m rested and still have time to relax.

    Reply
  • Harry @ GoalsOnTrack December 2, 2012, 3:33 pm

    This is a great way to really understand how we use our time. I downloaded the excel sheet, but still wondering how you came up with those cool pie charts? Did you create them manually by adding up all time entries for different categories, or is there some tool you used to create this?

    Reply
    • Caitlin December 2, 2012, 5:26 pm

      You can make pie charts automatically in Excel. Just google it!

      Reply

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