The first time I did a time audit I looked at the results and took a nap. I was exhausted looking at all of the things I had agreed to do. There were work things, mom things, family and friend things, volunteer things, self care things. So. Many. Things.
The obvious solution was to remove some of the things from my list, so I stopped accepting most new offers, even if they were things that I enjoy. This was difficult because it’s easy for me to say no to things I don’t want to do, but saying no to things I like? That’s not my default.
A couple of years later, my to-do list is more manageable, but I still do an audit periodically to make sure I’m on track. During the last one I noticed something. I don’t have a hobby that’s a true hobby. I write, read and watch TV, but because of my career these things aren’t a hobby. They are research.
It took me a while to decide, but I’ve chosen to play around with jewelry making. I want to make unique pieces for me, and possibly gifts. Not make it a business, :-).
I bought my first round of supplies and I’m looking forward to some online tutorials. Hopefully I’ll be able to add some metalsmithing classes when Covid-19 permits. I’ll let y’all know how it goes.
If you want to do a time audit, an online search will show many options. Some people track how they spend each hour of their work day, while others do general blocks of time.
I do a seven-day tracking exercise. For one week I write down everything I do, including sleep, and about how much time it takes. At the end of the week I look for trends, along with things I need to tweak, delegate, etc. I use a regular notebook so it doesn’t feel intimidating.
No matter which format you choose, you will probably find some surprises. Hopefully you won’t need to take a nap when you’re done. Good luck!