So, in case you missed it, I decided to keep a time diary last week. It was actually pretty simple – I decided to use a Windows Notepad document. A pretty neat trick is that if you press F5 in Notepad, you get a full date/time time stamp. And since my computer is on almost all day (I’m a work from home software engineer), all I had to do is sit down, hit F5, and write down everything I did between that and the last time stamp. I thought it was going to be a pain, but I hardly noticed it.
This was a very enlightening experience. I won’t list out all my activities (that would be boring, and frankly just a tad too personal), but here are some of the more important takeaways:
- I don’t actually waste that much time in a day. Most of what I do is either useful or meaningful leisure activities. You don’t know how much better this makes me feel, although it makes me wonder how I could get more done, especially cleaning.
- I don’t spend as much time browsing the internet as I thought. Maybe about an hour total in a day, and I’m comfortable with that.
- Here’s a big surprise – I don’t appear to get any more done in a day with Ruby at preschool/camp then I do when she’s here. I still get the same number of work hours in, and about the same amount of housework or other things. It made me really think hard about why I send her to preschool. I think it is still worth it for 1) her enrichment (especially since she has no siblings yet) and 2) for my sanity (I love my kid to death but I also value the few hours when I don’t have to keep an eye on a 2 year old 😉 ). This may change one way or the other when there are two children in the house, and that is not far from now, not far at all.
- Maybe outsourcing some of my housework is the right thing to do? It would allow me to spend more quality time with my family without “cleaning guilt”, and if I worked just a couple of hours extra it would be paid for. We had a service before, but I think this time I would really like to find an individual person. I’m not sure though, because this idea really goes against my current frugal mindset.
Have you ever kept a time diary? If not, I definitely recommend it. It’s not as daunting as it sounds, and it might teach you a thing or two about yourself. If you have, please share what you found out.