I’ve been tracking my time the last few days. Renee Knowles got me going on it when she gave her Career Bootcamp workshop at CRW the other day. Her point was that, if you’re not getting everything done that you want to — like drafting that bestseller — then one approach is to track your time and see where it’s going.
Now, my schedule is pretty tight: I get up much earlier than I like; I go work out; I hit this blog (new activity); write for another hour and a half or two. Then I shower up, practice harp, work my day job. At night I have meetings sometimes or I hang with David, which I believe in as relationship investment time. So I think I have my time pretty well accounted for. But I thought it would be interesting to check.
I made a spreadsheet (it’s the Virgo in me — can’t resist a spreadsheet) with my day listed in 15 minute increments, from 5:30 am to 11 pm. When my mom asked Sunday evening what I’d done that day, I sent her my 15 minute blow by blow list. Every mother should have such a responsive daughter. After she asked why on earth I’d done this, she remarked, “right off, I’d say less computer time.”
No shocker there. Though I defended it as an unusually heavy computer day because I’d been at the workshop the day before and had lots of catch-up to do. But even tracking my work day yesterday, which admittedly involves being on the computer all day, a huge chunk of my day is spent on emailing, instant messaging and looking stuff up on the internet. No, not surfing so much as deliberately going from link to link, reading the daily stuff on my list.
Okay, so there’s networking which, just like relationship investment, takes time. No way around that. And even Renee, like many others before her, exhorts reading blogs if you’re trying to market work as a writer.
The upshot is: what’s dropping out is my reading time. Even though I’m in the middle of a fascinating book (Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall and Lisa Pulitzer) and had time scheduled to read it, that time decreased, wedged up against my looming bed time hour, and I spent more time on the computer. Working on stuff to market my work, so I can sell books to people who have less time to read them.