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.