Today I was wondering how I could spend my time better in order to avoid going totally insane. To do this, I made a page assessing my daily activities, titled “the W.H.T.M.D. Worksheet”. WHTMD stands for, “what happens to my day”.
I sat down and went through the things I do every day and calculated how long each task usually takes and how often I do it each day, and then added up the minutes for each item. It was in no particular order, and looked something like this:
Feeding/caring for animals: 1 hour
Changing diapers: 30 minutes
Washing up after meals: 1 hour
Putting Maxine down for her naps and bedtime: 3 hours
Putting girls to bed: 1 hour
Making meals: 1 hour
Fixing problems/mediating fights: 40 minutes
Reading books: 30 minutes
Brushing girls’ hair: 20 minutes
Cleaning up messes: 30 minutes
Writing in journal or notebook: 20 minutes
Set up for watering garden or hen “pasture”: 20 minutes
Getting dressed, brushing my teeth: 15 minutes
Using the toilet: 10 minutes
Eating/drinking: 20 minutes
Checking for mail: 5 minutes
Nursing Max: 1.5 hours
Talking to Spencer: 30 minutes
Watching or participating in girls’ playtime: 30 minutes
Enforcing time outs, quiet times or a nap for girls: 30 minutes
Sleeping: 8 hours
And then I added that all up. And came out with this number:
21 hours, 30 minutes.
So, 24 minus 21.5 equals 2.5 hours left over, right?
Now I am wondering what the heck happens to those two and a half hours. I think on hot days I can safely say that I end up passing out in the middle of the day, either after reading kids books or putting Maxine down, and that’s about 30 minutes of lying lifelessly on the floor, couch or bed. That still leaves 2 hours of “free” time. I think those are probably the hours after I finish washing the dishes around 9pm, and before Spencer gets home around 11pm. By then I am something of a zombie and that means I most likely waste those 2 hours on the internet ogling seed companies, watching movie trailers for movies I will never see, and making half-hearted attempts at learning Spanish using Duolingo and the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Learning Spanish.
Now, on Spencer’s days off, it seems like I should have a lot more free time, right?
Wrong. I am still figuring out what happens here. I suspect that the two hours of driving time involved in going to town, coupled with the two hours of being in town getting groceries, cuts into the possible free time of his days off. Add to that maybe a 30 minute increase in time having some semblance of a conversation, the odd three or four hours he spends getting projects done around the house, the two hours of entering receipts, making a budget, and working on garlic order stuff, and there goes more of the “off” days.
Cumulatively, we spend on average 1 hour per week on the phone, and 1 hour per week talking to neighbors or lost travelers. And that’s on average. Some weeks less, most weeks not more.
Anyway, my conclusion was that in order to get more done or have some sort of “me time”, I will have to sleep less and cut out my internet vegging time completely, which frankly still leaves me with two hours of exhausted late night quiet time during which I can’t leave the house in case someone wakes up (which they do at least once, every night). WHTMD Worksheet fail.
I had, previous to doing this time use study, thought maybe I should sell all our animals (minus Mittens and Golds, of course) in case they were sucking up all our free time. But it didn’t seem like it, and the worksheet confirmed it. I should sell the kids instead.
Also, I realize as I write this that it does not include time for bathing. That makes sense. If I shower it means skipping about 30 minutes of something else in this list, and when I bathe the girls I am usually also cooking.
School time, when it’s not the summer, means more stuff gets cut out on school days, including enforcing quiet times and mediating fights, thankfully (they are always happier with more structured time and usually love “doing school”), but probably also conversation time with Spence, writing in my journal and bathing. Ha.
Oh, and laundry. That happens too. Dangit. This list was a failure. Ok, whatever.
Plan B: total insanity, here I come!
P.S. Wondering how I had time to write this blog? I ignored the older kids, nursed the baby, and burned the crap out of lunch. That’s how I did it.