A Time Diary Experiment – Join us!

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I love that we do not have a lot of scheduled activity in the summer, but I have been feeling like I have been wasting about half of each day! It seems like I look up and all of a sudden it’s lunch time and what do I have to show for that morning time? Not much. Not much at all.

It’s not that I think there can’t be down time or chill time, but I want my days to be more purposeful. I don’t want the day to just happen to me, I want to be intentional – whether it’s chill time, play time, or declutter time. 

And I think spontaneity is awesome, but all day every day doesn’t work well for long.

One thing I’ve been trying to do for a while is get to bed on time and get up earlier (ideally before the kids, or at least before my youngest (Anna, 2). I think this will help me a lot, but I haven’t done well so far. My tendency is to get a second wind at night and stay up way too late. Of course that leads to a lack of motivation to get up in the morning and starting the day with the feeling of being behind.

Another thing I know I need to work on is planning for the day ahead. Not planning every hour of the day (although maybe some days I should), but having some idea of how I want the day to go, including at least some specifics about activities, times, tasks.

Working on my new cleaning schedule was definitely a step in the right direction. Now I need to pick me up some self-discipline to actually follow it! Do they sell self-discipline at Target? Well, they should.

So when my friend Kristen from The Frugal Girl contacted me about working together on our time management, I was easily on board!  We are both going to keep a time diary this week to see where our time is going, and we will report back at the end of the week. It would be even more fun if you wanted to join us and do your own time diary!

I actually have tried to keep a time diary before, but the mistake I made was trying to write down every. single. thing. That lead to wasting time keeping the diary updated and burnout from making it too hard to keep up. So this time I’m planning to jot things down once every 1-2 hours.

I’m going to continue to make efforts to use my time well this week. In fact, I’m fairly confident that I will do better than usual. (Because I am not really motivated to tell you at the end of the week that I sat in front of my computer for 3 hours every morning while my kids sat in front of a screen of their own. Nope. ) And that’s a good thing, I think.

So if you want to join us in keeping a time diary this week, leave a comment letting us know, and then you can comment again at the end of the week with your own analysis. I would love to hear about what you learn! 

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Filed under Priorities, Time Management

21 Responses to A Time Diary Experiment – Join us!

  1. WilliamB

    I started doing something related at work, which may be a different way to skin the cat of “I’m wasting too much time.”
    I am, inevitably, grossly understaffed for my work. My current solution: at the end of the day I think about all the things that need to be done, and decide which 2-4 are the most important right now. That list is the next day’s To Do list.

    Please note these are the most IMPORTANT not the most URGENT. Important, nonurgent tasks tend to get shuffled to the bottom of the list. This helps prevent that. I find a short list works better for me than a long one. The long list (like RSS’ summer bucket list) exists but isn’t in view. It scares me too much.

    Maybe something like this would help SAHs not fritter away the lovely summer days?

    • Elizabeth

      Good stuff WilliamB! I really like the idea of a shorter list. And thanks for getting me thinking about the important vs. urgent. I am quite good at putting off those important-nonurgent tasks. I need to work on that.

      • WilliamB

        Everyone does that, which helps explain why the problem is so well known. There’s a management exercise in which one creates a 2×2 grid: important/not important along one side, urgent/non urgent along the other. Put all your tasks in the appropriate box. Then pay special attention to important nonurgent tasks and erase the unimportant nonurgent ones.

  2. To be honest I don’t really WANT to do a time diary….but I probably SHOULD.I guess I’m scared to admit how much time I spend on the computer. So I guess I will!
    My main goals for this week are:
    Exercise at least 3 times
    Spend time with in-laws who are in town
    Keep the house tidy (in case in-laws drop by)
    Cook healthy meals for my family
    Do at least one craft with kids I babysit
    Do our budget
    I’ll let you know how I did next week!

  3. Hi, popping over here from The Frugal Girl. I’m planning on participating as well – I hope it will really be the kick in the pants I need to get my time organized!

  4. Kimberly

    What a great idea! I especially like the grid idea from William B. I just read about that in Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership book!~

  5. I read about your plan on Frugal Girl. I’m all in for this. This weekend I invited a friend over spontaneously after meeting her at the park. I was embarrassed by the state of my bathroom (the house was not in great order too, but a messy bathroom is even more unappealing! I’m sure I could find 5 minutes each morning to give it a quick clean and avoid this in the future. Will be interesting to see how much time I spend dawdling on the Internet!

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Danielle! I totally know what you mean about the bathroom! And you are right that 5 min. is enough to do a quick clean. That’s nothin’. I can waste 5 min. in a matter of seconds on the computer. 😉

      I’m glad you are joining us!

    • WilliamB

      Myself, I think there’s a difference between kid mess and grown-up mess. One almost expects kids to have messes of toys strewn around (unless one has a house that keeps the kids’ play apart from the grownup space) so no biggie.

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  8. I am all in on this one. I have been having a large issue with time management lately. Glad to find out I wasn’t the only one.

  9. Meg

    This is such a good sense, inspiring idea for those of us who *suspect* that we may be wasting precious time. Yep — definitely me!!

    I’m going to try this next week. (Yes, procrastinating is a great way to start!) It’s VBS week, and I know full well that I’m going to waste what little time is left over at the end of the day. 🙂

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Meg! I have to say, I’m really loving it so far. It’s been very enlightening. Enjoy VBS week and I’d love to here how your time journal goes next week. 🙂

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