Friday, November 9, 2012

How Many Hours Do You Need Part II

Phew, so glad October is in the rearview. What a busy month! Kat's dad came in for a week and helped with house projects. We did make time for a little fun, including taking in the mummy exhibit at the Witte Museum and partying in the driveway with our neighbors Halloween night. Although fun, Halloween seemed subdued on our street this year. Still plenty of trick-or-treaters, but not as many as in years past. Seems that fewer of our neighbors are turning on their porch lights. Too early to tell if this is a blip or the start of a trend.

I did manage to work on the tracking hours exercise. For a week I tracked how I spent my hours, then plugged those hours into categories to see how my time is spend. A few insights:

  • I had compared this exercise to tracking where your pennies go with the idea of planning a reasonable budget; however, it was really more like tracking calories with a goal of losing weight. It's a disciplinary technique. I found that I maintained focus and kept on track better with writing and project goals because I knew I would be jotting down how the time was spent. Keeping track of time will not be a daily task, but on shapeless days that require lots of self-motivation and organization, it's not a bad tool for staying focused.
  • The hours of my week (a "normal" week) are fairly well balanced among the major areas of work, family, church, and community. While that seems good, my frustration is that I do not spend enough time on my job, which is writing. Some balance is good, but that's not what I need to improve. I need more intensity with my work.
  • I don't have very many "normal" weeks. Some weeks or stretches of days are given over to guests or big events that come up. Yes I need more intensity with work, but sometimes I can simply accept what life is offering and not get frustrated.
  • One area that is very much not in balance is Personal Growth. While I do read books that would fall in this category, things like exercise, taking classes, and working on Spanish are earning big goose eggs.

One last thing. I've been a little obsessed with time lately. I'm closer to fifty than to forty, and there's so much I want to do. My perception of time and attempts to manage it are related to this particular season of my life, a season that is busy -- fevered almost -- full of meetings and family and hopeful projects. I am determined to enjoy it for what it is while I have it. If I live long enough, the day could come when time moves slowly again and I have acres of it.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." (Ecclesiastes)