But today was the first time I really sat down and calculated how much of the average working day I spend doing what. This is what I came up with:
- 42% is spent on either the day job or commuting to and from the day job. This can go up to about 50% on busier days.
- 30% is spent sleeping, assuming I get 7 hours a night. (At the moment it's more like six, and I'm starting to feel it!)
- If my kids are lucky, they get about 8% of my time. Most of that is dinner, bath and bedtime, then the extra half hour fighting with them to stay in their beds. This is sadly the bit that gets squeezed on days I work late.
- About 8% of every day is wasted on necessary stuff like eating meals, getting dressed or undressed, having a bath.
- That leaves 12% of every day (the time when the kids sleep and I don't) for all the rest: writing, reading, social networking, TV. And this also has to give way to work demands. Looking at it this way I can suddenly see why it's so easy for the writing to get squeezed out. I guess you can call this 'me' time, though it's usually so full I can see why 'me' often gets lost in the mix.
There's not much I can do about the day job unless some gorgeous billionaire Alpha hero sweeps into my life and offers to take care of the bills. And negotiating work hours isn't an option either, because that's part and parcel of the job.
But I think this exercise has shown me two things. Firstly, it's helped show me which two things on the list need more time and attention: my children, and me. Secondly, it has highlighted the importance of spending that 12% of 'me' time wisely. Less TV, less social networking, more writing.
And starting right now I'm going to make sure that every moment of my weekends is allocated where it should be to make up for the Monday to Friday deficiencies, including some real 'down time' when the kids and I can just kick back and do nothing.
And maybe if I stop wasting time bathing, I'll have more writing time. Just kidding, folks!