Now that I have a week’s data on how I spend my time, I have to analyze it!
First things first – even though I started the challenge on a Tuesday, I think it’s easier to analyze if I show the data starting at Monday. I went ahead and transposed the data on the weekly totals charts I’ve been keeping:
Thanks to my color-coding, I also made a heat map of the way I spend my time. In case the color-coding isn’t clear:
- Blue is for relaxing
- Teal is for domestic/errands
- Yellow is for career (work I am paid to do)
- Green is for personal development
- Purple is for commuting
- Red is for unproductive time (mindlessly surfing the web, not focusing)
At that point, I decided it was better to start grouping the categories to get a clearer trend.
- I work a lot during the beginning of the week, which declines as the week goes on.
- I work more in the mornings and relax more in the evenings.
- I don’t take any breaks! Look at those long, uninterrupted blocks of green and blue!
- I am most unproductive on Fridays and late in the evening. I’m attributing this to fatigue at the end of the day.
Relaxing vs Work
One thing I wanted to learn from this challenge is how I spend my time relaxing vs working.
The chart is a bit disturbing. ~12 hours of work on Monday, but ~4 hours of work by Friday. Wouldn’t it be better to even it out a bit?
- I DO work pretty hard on the weekdays. That 8.7 hours per day is REAL, FOCUSED work, not the “work” that I often see people doing at the office (ie. having Youtube/Facebook/online gaming open at all times – not that I don’t do that myself. I just count it as “unproductive” time).
- I relax a good amount too! Then why do I still feel tired? 😦 Perhaps I need to intersperse my breaks with my work better?
Productive vs Unproductive Time
- I think this graph shows a flaw in my approach. If I only spent ~2 hours per day being “unproductive”, I don’t think I’d be doing this challenge! 😛
- In fact, many others would consider me productive – I didn’t lie about the time I spent working or on personal development. My managers think I’m great. But I still don’t feel productive.
- The problem is I defined “productivity” in the sense of “not wasting time watching cat videos on Youtube”. Instead, I should’ve defined it in the sense of “spending time working towards my goals”.
Besides the whole “working hard on Monday and partying hard on Friday” thing, the numbers say I’m pretty darn productive, but I sure don’t feel that way.
I realized the problem is I wasn’t defining productivity correctly. Yes, I work hard – but there’s a HUGE difference between “getting stuff done” and “working towards your goals”.
That said, I’m going to break my time down by goals this week.
- Get a better (software engineering) job in 3 months
- Practice algorithms every day so I’ll be ready to interview.
- Work on a personal project to strengthen my understanding of real-world best practices.
- Listen to podcasts/read books to broaden my knowledge of web engineering.
- Lose weight
- Go to the gym 3x per week, 1h per day as requested by my personal trainer.
- Prepare meals at home so I am not tempted to eat out.
- Maintain my clean apartment
- Clean the apartment every day (I’m a very messy person – this is difficult!)
- Set aside a couple hours every week for cleaning.
- Improve sleep hygiene
- No more naps! I napped A LOT this past week – which I counted as “relaxing” time. This is deceptive because naps should be part of nightly sleep time which aren’t included in this analysis.
- Go to bed by 11pm
- Experiment to see what can help me fall asleep faster (meditation? acupressure mat? aromatherapy? bath before bed?)
- Take productive breaks
- Determine how productive a break is by how you feel afterwards. If you feel refreshed, it was productive – if not, then don’t employ that break strategy again!
As for everything else? I will timebox it. It’s not like I can spend 100% of my time working towards my goals (after all, I do have to make a living) – but I can apply the 80/20 principle to make sure lower priority activities don’t infringe on my personal priorities.