Writing Advice

How do you spend your time?

clock I was driving home last night contemplating my schedule, where and how I spend my time, and, most importantly, where it all goes. That got me thinking… while I know how and where I spend my time in a general sense, I was curious as to how much time in any given week I devote to the major items in my life. Who knows? Maybe by analyzing this I might be able to make some adjustments and improve my overall time management.

For me, major items include:

  1. Work (my primary, day-time job)
  2. Going to/from work (4 days/week since I usually work at home at least 1 day/week)
  3. Exercise (cycling, running, weight-lifting; this goes up in the warmer months as I'm out on the bike more)
  4. Writing (my current novel, short stories, this blog)
  5. Reading (books, blogs, etc.)
  6. Breaks (TV watching, playing with the dogs, hanging out with my wife; everyone needs some down time)
  7. Outside work (mowing the lawn, etc.; less now but more as it gets warmer)
  8. Personal Technical Projects (various side projects I work on to stay up on programming and technology)
  9. Sleep (almost forgot this one…)

I'm not going to include some things, like listening to podcasts, which I do all the time but which I always do whilst engaged in something else. Which brings up another point: I don't consider the time I spend driving to and from work as wasted because I'm always listening to podcasts or sometimes audio fiction. I'm a fanatic about maximizing every minute.

Given the above items, here's how much time I spend on each per week (my first attempt at this I was 5 hours short; since I'm not working off a super-accurate log here, I just spread those hours out to get to 168):

Work 45 27%
Commuting 8 5%
Exercise 8 5%
Writing 16 10%
Reading 18 11%
Breaks 10 6%
Outside work 6 4%
Technical Projects 8 5%
Sleep 49 29%
TOTAL 168 100%

And, in pie chart format:


Some of these items are immovable: work, sleep (I only get 7 hours/night as it is), commuting. Others could be changed, such as exercise or reading (sometimes I think I spend too much reading blogs). Breaks… I'd have to take a closer look at what I do in those 14 hours. Writing and Technical Projects… if anything, I want to spend more time, not less, in those areas.

Of course, this is a somewhat rough idea where I spend my time as some of the figures are pure estimates. If I wanted to really perform a close analysis I should probably carry a small notepad around with me for a week and write down each activity and time spent on it. Maybe I'll do that at some point, but for now I just wanted to get a general sense where all the time is going.

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