I’ve always been fascinated with “Productivity hacks.” Do things this way and you will magically find a couple of extra hours in your day. The promises have always seemed just a little too good to be true. When I read Laura Vanderkam’s I Know How She Does it: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time back in August, I learned so much about how other women- the women with the successful careers and lifestyles that I always wanted- spent their time.
In September, I kept my first 168 hour time log. It was a great experience to see where my time was actually going and where I could better and more efficiently spend my time. I even exchanged a couple of emails about my first time log with Ms. Vanderkam! I was so excited and while I didn’t want to do this all the time, I knew this was going to be a routine I wanted to incorporate into my life every once in a while. Then my printer went bonkers and there went that habit that I wanted to incorporate.
When I saw that my blogging friend Bailey had also read I Know How She Does it, I took that as the sign to track my time. Bailey and I agreed on a week in February (just over a month ago) to track and then share our weeks. You can read about Bailey’s week here.
In terms of how this week compared to others, I thought it was a pretty typical week- well, as typical as any week is around here really.
[table caption=“Week 6 of 2017”]
,MONDAY 2/6,TUESDAY 2/7,WEDNESDAY 2/8,THURSDAY 2/9,FRIDAY 2/10,SATURDAY 2/11,SUNDAY 2/12
6,In Bed/Awake,Work,In Bed/Awake,In Bed/Awake,Read,Sleep,Sleep
7:30,Read/To Gym,Work,Eat/To Gym,Eat/To Gym,Eat/To Gym,Sleep,Sleep
9,To/Home Inspection,Work,From Gym,From Gym,From Gym,Eat/To Gym,Chores
10,Work,Work,Work,Work,Work,Gym,To Car Wash
10:30,Work,Work,Work,Work,Work,Gym,Drop off Car
1:30,Work,Work,Work,Work,Work,Freelance,August Osage County
2,Lunch,Work,Work,Work,Work,Freelance,August Osage County
2:30,Lunch,Work,Work,Work,Work,Freelance,August Osage County
3,Work,Work,Work,Work,Work,Freelance,August Osage County
3:30,Work,Work,Work,Work,Work,Freelance,August Osage County
4,Work,Work,Work,Work,Work,Freelance,August Osage County
4:30,Freelance ,Work,To Sonia (Taxes),Work,Work,Freelance,August Osage County
5,Freelance ,TV,Tax Meeting with Sonia,Work,Work,Freelance,August Osage County
5:30,Work,Shower,Tax Meeting with Sonia,Work,Work,Freelance,Pick up Car
6,Work,Read,Tax Meeting with Sonia,Work,Read,Get Ready,Clean
6:30,Work,Casey time,To Home,Taco Bell,Read,Dinner,Pack
7:30,Work,TV,Freelance,Dinner with Casey,Eyebrow Wax,Dinner,Paint Nails
8,Work,House,Freelance,From Casey,To Ellen’s Girls Night,Dinner,Dinner
8:30,Work,TV,Cuddle,Home,To Ellen’s Girls Night,Movie,Hang out
9,Work,Cuddle,Cuddle,Clean,To Ellen’s Girls Night,Movie,Hang out
9:30,Work,Cuddle,Cuddle,Sit Outside,To Ellen’s Girls Night,Movie,Hang out
10,Work,Sleep,Sleep,Read,To Ellen’s Girls Night,Movie,Cuddle
Weeks are rarely “typical” anymore, but the structure here does a good job of representing what usually happens. Here are some of the structures that you’ll see as the skeleton for most weeks: I’m up around 6 AM most days Monday to Friday. I’m working to make that a little bit earlier during the day and would like to eventually get it to 5 AM. Even when I’m awake by 6, I’m not always getting up and being productive right away. Some days I rolled around in bed for nearly a half hour before reading.
Reading before I get out of bed is another staple of my day. In the same way that I encourage people to pay themselves first on their budget, I read first thing each morning to pay my mind first. It’s a great way to make sure I get some reading done almost every day. After breakfast, I head to Crossfit Raeford, where I attend the 8 AM class every day.
RELATED: My First Crossfit Open: 17.1
I’m usually seated at my desk for work by 930 EST, which is 830 CST (my company is Nashville-based). Sometimes over lunch I’ll catch up on phone calls with my sister (I usually catch up with my dad on my drive home from the gym), watch something short on TV, or powernap. Most often, though, I just work through lunch, as I try to finish my closer to 5 PM EST than 6 PM.
After work, I’ll usually make dinner that Casey and I will eat together, do house maintenance tasks such as laundry or dishes, and sneak in an episode of whatever we’re currently Netflix binging. We try to go to bed early, as Casey is usually up at 4 most mornings and I need my beauty sleep.
On weekends, we usually have slower mornings before doing the things that we need to get done. (There is always laundry to do.)
There is No Such Thing As A Normal Week
I really truly mean it when I say this is no typical week around here. I wanted to use this to show what a normal week might look like, but it was through this experience that I was really reminded of this. Here are some of the special things that happened in this particular week.
The home inspection happened on the Monday of this week. Casey was off from work this Monday so we were lucky enough to get to meet the inspector together. It’s also why I took a very deliberate lunch hour on that Monday. I wanted to get the chance to spend time with Casey. Unfortunately, work also really took over on Monday. It’s a big reporting day since Tuesday is a big meeting day (and people need the reports I produce to gather insights and direction for their meetings). There were some issues that came up and I ended up working until 10 PM on Monday and starting again at 6 AM on Tuesday. That meant I did not make it to the gym on Tuesday which was a huge bummer. I also tried to wrap up work a little bit earlier on Tuesday, as a result.
Wednesday, I had a meeting with my tax professional, Sonia of SIR Accounting & Tax. For the record, Sonia is amazing. I’ve already gotten two of my three tax refunds deposited in the bank. As in, I already have cash in my hand! Isn’t that great?!
Thursday, Casey had staff duty, so I picked up some Taco Bell that we were able to share in his office. We rarely have fast food and usually I pack him dinner when I know that he has staff duty, but I didn’t have the time (or interest, frankly) to cook on Thursday night, so Bo and I visited his office with Taco Bell instead. Unfortunately, Bo got sick in my car that night, so when I got home I tried to clean it up as best I could, but I would have to really take care of it over the weekend. Of course, Casey didn’t come home that night which is why I read at night- something I rarely do- and went to bed a little later than usual.
Friday, I got to catch up with my girl Ellen. We pretended to watch chick flicks but really we just talked for a couple of hours. She and her husband are incredibly talented crafty-people. Give their blog a peak.
This weekend was particularly insane. It actually still sticks out in my mind. You see, on the next day (Monday), I would wake up at 3 AM to drive 1.5 hours to Raleigh to fly to Nashville for work. That weekend meant doing everything I needed to do to not be in the house for a week. That meant extra freelance work on Saturday followed by an early Valentine’s Day Date Dinner at locally-owned and recently reopened The Mill at Puppy Creek and a movie. Sunday, I took my car to get detailed because of the accident Bo had had on that Thursday in my car. I didn’t want that smell to sit in the car for a week while it was closed in the airport parking lot. Poor planning on my part, though, because I also had a commitment to see my friend Evie’s performance in August Osage County at the Gilbert Theater in Fayetteville with a couple of girlfriends. Casey very graciously drove me and picked me up. It was a long enough play for him to go home and boy was it so good! Otherwise, I tried to spend as much time with Casey as I could before I was gone.
Things I’d like to do better
As I’m trying to improve my processes for managing it all, there are certainly some things I’d like to improve about my schedule. For example, I’d like to do more of my freelance work in batches of 2-3 hours instead of scattered with one hour here and another hour there. That makes me feel like I’m always playing catch up on my freelance work and I’d like to really be able to go above and beyond. I’d also really like to be able to theme my days. In other words, I’d like to spend every Monday working for Client A, every Tuesday working for Client B, every Wednesday off, every Thursday and Friday working for Client C, and every Saturday focused on this space- or some similar schedule with themed days.
Otherwise, I’m mostly happy with how my schedule looks right now. I’m getting in the time for things that are important to me and though there are some things that I would like to see improved- such as getting out of bed on my first alarm and not my third- but life is constantly evolving and I’m constantly working to improve.
I hope you enjoyed this snapshot into my week!
Tell me: have you ever tracked your time? Did you find it helpful?
Emilie is an Army Wife, Data Engineer, and CrossFitter with a love for working through her thoughts in this space on the internet. She lives with her husband Casey and their pup Bo in Savannah, GA.