What I Learned When I Kept a Time Log


This Monday I finished up a week of tracking my time. For seven days I wrote down what I did throughout the day in half hour increments. Yes, it was tedious. But I knew it would be, and my curiousity about where my times goes outweighed the tedium.

Part of what motivated me is that we may homeschool Chicken for kindergarten next year. I know that will be add something significant to our schedule and I want to know where our time goes now before I just lump something else in there. I like having juuuust the right amount of activities to keep us out of the house, but not too many where I am CONSTANTLY YELLING AT THE KIDS TO HURRY UP SO WE’RE NOT LATE FOR YET ANOTHER ENRICHING SOMETHING OR OTHER. Being too busy brings out the yeller in me.

So, like I said, I tracked my time for a week and discovered a few really valuable things. I think they’ll be helpful to know, whether we homeschool or I send everyone away to boarding school.

I spend a pretty minimal amount of time cleaning. I recorded five hours of cleaning over the course of the week.

My house will never pass a white glove inspection, but you won’t get skeeved out by the filth, either. I like to keep it clean enough that I’m not embarrassed when people stop by. And apparently I attained that level of cleanliness with five hours of effort last week.

Because I know I would be curious if someone else wrote this, here is what those five hours includes: picking up toys with the kids, laundry, sweeping, cleaning bathrooms, sorting and organizing the kids’ toy closet, vacuuming the upstairs, and a big clean of our bedroom that I do on the first Monday of the month. (That means I pick the stuff up off the floor, vacuum, clear the clutter off our bedside tables, and dust).

The majority of the cleaning happens when my kids are awake, and playing nearby or helping me. This is a shift from a couple of years ago, and I didn’t notice it until I was doing the time log. I used to save up the cleaning until the kids were asleep- either napping or down for the night. At some point I wised up and realized I don’t want to spend my quiet hours of the day cleaning. And it feels weird that my kids would just wake up and see that the magic cleaning fairy has struck again. I’d rather they participate with me and not just think the house cleans itself.

I’m pretty happy with five hours of cleaning a week, give or take. That works for me. Having a few well-loved toys means clean-up goes faster at the end of the day. Having fewer clothes means less laundry to stay on top of.

I have more thoughts and reflections from my week keeping a time log, but I know I just lost at least four out of my five subscribers because I talked about cleaning for so long.

Sorry suckers! There’s more where that came from!!

7 thoughts on “What I Learned When I Kept a Time Log

  1. This makes me kind of want to do the same thing and share! I keep track of my time spent on worky things, like designing websites or blogging (I count it all as work to make me feel better about spending so much time doing it! ;)), but not how much time I spend wasting time online or cleaning. I have a feeling it would be an embarrassing ratio between the two! 😉

  2. I think it’s really important to track your time periodically. We get so bogged down with things and there are numerous distractions around us all the time, that we often end up not nearly as productive as we could / should be.

    Thanks for sharing your results! Stopping by from the William Morris Project 😉

    • you are not allowed to do this until your daughter is at least a year old UNLESS you do it to validate your suspicions that breastfeeding a child is, in the beginning, almost a full time job.

      i consider people.com current events. just record it as such on your time log.

  3. Pingback: Let’s Talk Motivation | Ye Old College Try

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