Time and Motion

These past couple of weeks I’ve been at home all day and able to dedicate some full-time effort to writing. I found the quantity of work I was doing fell short of my expectations and decided to investigate why.

The plan had been to work from 9am to 6pm – that’s 7 hours of hard work with 2 hours to be used for everything else. For two weeks I kept note of how every minute was spent between those two times using Daytum – a fairly clean and basic metric tracking website. This graph was the result. (Made with GoogleDocs, not Daytum).

These are the main things I took away from this exercise:

  • Good – I spend a third of my time writing fiction
  • Bad – I slack off an awful lot. Slacking consists of watching TV, laying around in the sunny garden, reading stuff that isn’t research or review material.
  • Good – if I cut out the slacking I can up the fiction writing portion of my time to half, approximately 4.5 hours a day.
  • Bad – I don’t get as much exercise as I should do. So little that it didn’t warrant its own section. It got lumped in with ‘other’, which also includes eating and travel.
  • Good – The ‘housewifing’ portion of my time is much smaller than I expected. I think I expected it to take longer because there’s a lot of tasks that fall under that heading – shopping, cleaning, tidying, chores, cooking. But each of these tasks tends to be quite small, generally less than half an hour.

There were a couple of other things, but I wanted to end on a ‘good’ and the rest is just me beating myself up over picky things, like the amount of time I spend on the internet and how long it seems to take me to compose even short blog posts.

This week’s goal is to cut the slacking time down  and get the fiction writing time up to 50%.

Wish me luck.

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