Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where do the hours go?

A few weeks ago I was reading a post on the Healthy Tipping Point blog entitled "Where does the time go" and it was all about the book 168 Hours: You have more time than you think.  The post sparked my interest because I really wondered where my time went during the week.  I always find myself saying "There isn't enough time in the day" but maybe I have more time than I think.

For the past two weeks I did my best to keep track of exactly what I did each day.  I tried to be as descriptive as possible and then when I was compiling the hours, I broke it down into eight broad categories - sleep, exercise, work, leisure, household, TV, driving, miscellaneous.

I think the first few categories are pretty self explainitory.  For work, I counted every hour I was at work because often I eat at my desk.  I did record my "lunch" time and it averaged to be about 30 minutes per day.  For leisure, I included all tasks such as reading my book, blog reading and writing, internet browsing, facebooking, etc.  For household, I counted every hour I was making dinner, cleaning the house, doing laundry, etc. The categories for TV and driving are pretty standard and then lastly I created the miscellaneous category to include things like showering, a running club meeting I attended, and just random time that I may not have been doing specific.

And here is how it broke down for last week...

Here is how it broke down hour wise...
Sleep - 52:45 hours
Exercise - 11:15 hours
Work - 47:30 hours (45 hours without lunches included)
Leisure - 7:15 hours
Household - 19:15 hours
TV - 9:00 hours
Driving - 7:45 hours
Misc - 13:15 hours

For the first week that I tracked my hours, things were pretty much the same.  I did spend an hour more on leisure items and A LOT more time watching TV (~7 hours thanks to watching Hurricane Sandy coverage and Sunday NFL Football).  Everything else was very similar - about the same amount of time sleeping and working and exercising. 

This is just a very rough estimate of how I spend my week.  But after tracking for the first week it really opened my eyes to how much time I actually spend in front of the TV.  Sometimes the TV is on and I may be "multitasking" but I still counted that as TV time.  There were many nights where I made myself go to the bedroom to read instead of sitting in front of the TV. 

I spend at least 10 hours a week just on exercising which does not include the time it takes me to drive to the gym for yoga or drive to meet up with my running group.  It really is a big time commitment to run but I think that is one hobby that I wont be giving up anytime soon. 

As you can also see I am a bit of a workaholic.  I honestly love what I do but sometimes I wish I had a less demanding job.  Some weeks (Monday thru Friday) all I feel like I do is eat, sleep, work, exercise, do laundry and clean the house.  But I work in an area where 50 hour weeks is normal and often expected, so unless I plan on changing companies or careers, I think my 40+ hour work weeks are here to stay.

After doing this little experiment, I realize that I do have a lot of time that I could be using more efficiently.  I generally think I watch too much TV although the national average is 33 hours so I guess I am not as bad as I thought. This really was an eye opening experience to how much time I spend on everything in my life and I hope I can start to fit more and more things into my day!


Marlene said...

I read that post on HTP as well and it piqued my interest. I don't know if I have the discipline to track all of my activity for so long but maybe I'll try. Too bad there's not an app for that. :)

Johann said...

This is really interesting. I think doing this exercise will be an eye opener for anybody.

Chelsea said...

I feel like I've seen a lot of bloggers do this lately. Although next week is going to be weird because of Thanksgiving, maybe I'll give it a whirl for the next two...

Laura said...

What a cool idea! I'd love to see how my time splits out, but I don't think I am dedicated enough to track it. I tried using RescueTime for a while (which tracks what you do when you are on the computer), but that didn't end up being too enlightening for me. I think something like this would be a lot more valuable!