As someone who tracks nearly everything they do in a calendar, I thought I would go one step further and track everything for a week. So for a random week in November, I tracked all my time, I mean everything, even sleep. You might be thinking why would anyone want to time track everything they do, but, there are a lot of cases where people do this. Freelancers, for example, time track their work for accurate billing and in a past life I also had to track my working time. If it works for an employer to know where you are spending your time, why can't it work for you?
To start this time-tracking exercise, I broke down my time into the 6 categories of life, Personal, Health, Career, Fitness, Education and Finance. As some of these categories are quite broad, I decided to break each one down further. To my surprise, I spend a lot of time working, sleeping or just doing personal things. Some initial callouts would have to be, how little time I spend travelling/commuting, (thanks to working from) home and the amount of time I waste on social media and streaming.
The first category of life is Career and much to my surprise I only spent 45 hours at work that week. I am also happy with the ratio of dedicated work to time spent in meetings. Working remotely can be difficult and I find myself in a lot more meetings, mostly because it's easier than trying to write out a message on teams.
The personal category kind of acts like the "everything else" bin, as I find that the small chunks of time I have in my day normally fall into one of the subcategories and if not, I would create a subcategory for tracking. Worryingly, I spend a lot of time on social media or streaming content. Watching people cook on Youtube is probably my main downtime at the moment, however, after completing this exercise I plan to replace some of that time with reading.
This category is probably the most concerning and where I need to make the biggest changes. All the time this week is currently taken up with blogging/research and I haven't spent much time working on my study. Having written this post a few weeks after collecting the data, I have actually been able to restructure my mornings and set up 30 mins of dedicated study time each day before work.
It's good to dedicate time here and I am happy that my finances are automated in such a way that I only need 45 mins a week. The time this week was spent on snap-shotting my net worth which I do on a weekly basis and allocating my salary using the approach I explained in this post How I Structure My Finances.
I actually don’t spend that much time per week on fitness, a total of 8 hours over the course of the week. Depending on the time of the year and what my current fitness goals are, these ratios change, but at the moment I am focused on gaining some weight so I am spending most of my time in the gym doing strength training. Walking is something I have also introduced after dinner to help with digestion.
I have experimented in the past with trying to sleep less (targeting 7 hours a night), but the correct amount at the moment for me seems to be 8 hours per night. My only thing to work on is to stop hitting snooze and sleeping for an extra 30 mins. I ended up snoozing only 3 out of the 7 mornings and while I felt great to sleep for another 30 mins, I find I feel the best if I get up after my first alarm.
While this is not something I would plan to do every week, it has been a great insight into how I spend my time. I have already put a reminder on my to-do list to complete this exercise again in 12 months' time.