09 Apr 2013

my many numbered days

It’s been a month since I started reading 168 Hours, and I wish I could have a nice review for you here. I can’t, because I told this guy I live with that he would like it and while I was busy working on my Dream List, he stole it from me. And took it to work with him every day to read on the train. And then it went overdue and days passed and eventually it turned up in some the car of a guy named Josh. Such is life.

Instead of reading 168 Hours, I downloaded a 168 Hours app and started conducting my own time survey, or whatever Vanderkam calls it, I can’t remember because I haven’t set eyes on the book for weeks. It’s not a good app – it’s clunky and easy to click on the wrong thing and I’m not sure what happens to your data once a week resets on Sundays – buuuuuut it’s fun. High strung Type-A fun, but judge lest ye judged.

Right now it’s 9:00 p.m. on a Tuesday. I can tell you with certainty that in the past 72 hours, I have designated my time as such:

  • 1 hour and 19 minutes cleaning my apartment. It was pretty filthy.
  • 40 minutes running errands not related to groceries.
  • 29 minutes buying groceries.
  • 29 minutes preparing dinner (thank you crock pot!!)
  • 1 hour and seven minutes eating dinner (we were watching the end of The Descendants on Sunday night, so I couldn’t eat very fast because I was crying. That isn’t even a joke)
  • 1 hour and 18 minutesĀ  eating lunch
  • 1 hour and 43 minutes watching the season premiere of Mad Men
  • 38 minutes showering, recovering from shower, and blow drying hair
  • 25 minutes “puttering around the house”
  • 1 hour and 26 minutes “getting out the door”
  • 21 minutes waking up
  • 16 minutesĀ  preparing for bed
  • 23 minutes running
  • 3 hours and 17 minutes commuting (most of which time was spent also reading)
  • 2 hours and 34 minutes just plain reading (most of time spend on The Tragedy Paper)
  • 2 hours and 50 minutes on creative writing pursuits
  • 3 hours and 34 minutes working on The Artist’s Way tasks
  • 13 hours and 10 minutes working
  • 1 hour and 48 minutes at the dentist
  • 2 hours and 20 minutes sitting on an “alumni panel” of a program that I am not an alumni of…
  • 24 hours and 35 minutes sleeping
  • And, 26 minutes blogging. Sorry guys.

It was probably not fun to read those numbers, but it is fun to know those numbers, to look at them, to cringe and feel proud as such. I think keeping a Time Diary is similar to keeping a Food Diary – the act of recording makes you more aware of how you spend your time, which makes you improve the way you spend your time. 25 minutes “puttering around”? That means that I actually could not think of a single category of thing that I wanted to do, that I should do. But how many more minutes would I have if I didn’t have my silly little app on the back of my mind, encouraging me to do something more… uh… categorizable? Thinking of how to categorize your time also a valuable task: like this librarian learned in cataloging class, how you sort data implies a value system. How you sort YOUR data implies YOUR value system.

The moral of this story is: who needs to read the book? Just download the app instead!

That was a joke. But seriously, where is that book???


Leave a Comment