A Week in the Life

One thing I like to do every few months at work is a minute-by-minute audit of how I spend my time. I often find that I’ve slipped into using time more inefficiently than I realize in the routine of each day, and it’s also useful for reporting to management which projects are taking a disproportionate amount of time and need support. I decided it would be a good thing to do in my personal life too. Here are the results.

Note that for this blog, I chose to display activities grouped by category rather than by exact sequence to make the number of entries for each day slightly more manageable – but it’s still pretty long, so feel free to skip to the bottom, where I show an even more manageable aggregate.

Also Note: Where things were simultaneous, I picked the one that was more relevant. For instance, no meals are listed, because I was always reading/watching TV/writing emails/with friends while eating. Also, driving time is included with the activity it serves, such as work or errands.

2h: shower, start unpacking and laundry, talk to roommate, mend a broken earring, refresh Facebook a few times, and realize I’m supposed to be keeping a record of my activities this week
2h 10m: chores: including laundry, finish unpacking, make grocery list, dishes, and other misc. chores
30m: prep week’s lunches
50m: errands
5h, 12m: in-person socialization
6m: email
30m: draft blog post I have no intention of actually posting
34m: journal
80m: watch TV (with a few interruptions for laundry)
26m: fret about music blaring from the new tenant’s bedroom, directly below mine
16m: window shopping

9h 5m: work
16m: make breakfast, do dishes
34m: settle in, digest info from day
1h 6m: shower, get ready
14m: get ready for bed
26m: eat breakfast, email
1h: watch TV
30m: read (novel)

9h 1m: work
35m: shower, get ready
8m: make breakfast
24m: dishes, make bed, etc
6m: get settled
9m: get dinner
52m: email
8m: misc. and some Facebook
2h: watch TV
4m: ??/wasted

8h 26m: work
52: shower, make bed, get ready
13m: make breakfast
2m: make dinner
4m: tried to do homework. Bad planning.
1h 28m: reconcile credit card, finances (with just a little bit of movie)
14m: misc. chores
39m: email
12m: Facebook
4m: read educational blog post
41m: breakfast, education
25m: study
16m: wasted time
37m: refused to get up
36m: watch movie
42m: read

10h 26m: work<
26m: roll over and refuse to get up
50m: shower, get ready
6m: get ready for bed
3m: make breakfast
5m: put away dishes
16m: breakfast & finances
5m: make snack
4m: pick up room
40m: figure out how to upload photos from camera
1h 33: computer lab
28m: email
4m: talk to roommate
26m: post pictures to Facebook; interact with comments on album<
33m: read<
5m: entertainment article
35m: watch movie
17m: time waste

8h 57m: work
59: get ready/shower/make bed
7m: get ready for bed
21m: Facebook
7m: make breakfast, talk to roommate
6m: email
15m: breakfast, study
3m: process info
4m: pick up room
17m: read
25m: watch movie
2h 49m: Friday Night Dinner w/Mom & Dad
38m: start blog


Week totals:

Work: 45h 55m
Running of household: 10h 24m
Social, exclusive of Facebook: 10h 16m<
TV/movies: 5h 56m
Morning/evening routine: 4h 49m
Education: 3h 29m
Reading (entertainment): 2h 7m
Wasted time: 1h 45m
Writing: 1h 42m
Facebook: 1h 7m +



  • I like to think more TV was watched this week than usual, but I decided to allow myself that because the work week was spent entirely in absorbing information. Coming home and reading/using my fried brain was mostly out of the question.
  • Time seepage occurred more in the middle of activities than between them; I realized, for instance, that almost all the time spent on Facebook came a few minutes at a time while I was ostensibly doing something else.
  • I spent less time on Facebook than I expected, but this was at least partly affected by keeping track – after a couple of minutes I would realize I was supposed to be doing something else, for which the clock was still running, so I would make my best guess about how long I was distracted and go back to what I was doing before.

Changes to make:

  • A little more mindfulness/One thing at a time. It’s ridiculous to, for instance, stop halfway through typing this sentence because I had a sudden urge to check email/Facebook. I didn’t even realize what a pattern that had become.
  • Time spent on some activities varied wildly – getting ready for work ranged from 35 minutes to over an hour; getting ready for bed ranged from less than 3 minutes to 14. Obviously this requires a little more attention to find and eliminate the inefficiencies. I hate spending time on stuff like this.
  • Some effort to think ahead, either at the beginning of the week, or each day. Lack of planning and procrastination tripped me up a few times – for instance, I knew I should try to do at least one homework exercise Tuesday night, and decided I would do it all Wednesday. Except that when I logged in Wednesday, I realized I needed to go in to the computer lab – and it was too late, which meant I had to rearrange Thursday. If I had done the right thing Tuesday that wouldn’t have happened.

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