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A few months ago, I read and reviewed I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam. It was honestly an eye-opening experience, because it suddenly dawned on me that I have the exact number of hours in a week that successful women do, and it’s up to me to make the most of them. My blog friend Emilie had been planning to write a blog post about her 168 Hours Log, so I was excited to join her! (You can read Emilie’s time audit here.)
I’ll admit– I was a little nervous to share this post. To me, I seem totally boring. The week that I logged was also an odd one, because I had requested the weekend off to visit Paducah for Valentine’s Day. That being said, here’s my week for Sunday February 5th through Saturday, February 11th. And yes, I’m one of those odd people who prefer to have calendars start the beginning of a week on Sunday instead of Monday!
Looking at this week, my thought that “All I do is work, shower, eat, and sleep!” was 100% accurate. I worked over 80 hours that week– probably closer to 90!– as we were in the midst of peak tax season and it was all hands on deck at the tax office. I’m also one of those odd people who needs 9-10 hours of sleep per night to function at my best, so I hit the hay pretty much as soon as I got home!
If you know anything about our journey to debt freedom, you know that my husband and I are totally committed to paying off our debt as quickly as possible. I had been unemployed for the first 6 months of our marriage, but when the opportunity to work as a seasonal tax preparer presented itself, we agreed that I would take it to pay off as much debt as possible. When I was hired a few weeks later for a permanent part-time Office Assistant position for a different company, we agreed that I would keep the seasonal tax preparer job as well as accept the Office Assistant position to speed up our debt snowball.
As a military family, both Andy and I have accepted the fact that I will most likely not have a job at every duty station because the job market is so tough, especially for military spouses. We felt that it would be best to make temporary sacrifices like not spending as much time together as we would normally like so I could take these two jobs. When I’ve struggled for so long to find a job, any job, we just didn’t feel okay with the idea of passing up this job opportunity when we have no idea how much longer it will take for another job opportunity.
Is working 80-90 hours a week sustainable? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I’m not going to lie, it was a bit tough on our marriage. Andy and I saw each other only a few minutes each evening, as I was quickly stuffing food in my mouth, jumping in the shower, and crawling into bed to catch a few hours’ sleep before doing it all again the next day. I’m so grateful that Andy was able to pick up my slack around the house, because I honestly did not make a single meal or clean anything that week.
Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY YES. Thanks to all of those crazy hours at the two jobs, we were able to pay off our credit card in full this week. That’s one less debt that we owe someone else. We both sleep a little easier knowing we are 25% of the way to total debt freedom and should be 100% debt free in a year. As Dave Ramsey would say, we are “gazelle intense.”
Honestly, logging my 168 Hours kept me accountable to how I was spending my time. On the Sunday night at the beginning of my log, I spent a long time “blogging.” Then, I realized I wasn’t truly blogging at all, just surfing the Internet, so I switched to do something more productive (read my Bible.) Even now, I’ve been setting time limits on how long I spend blogging or surfing social media each day in favor of being more productive. I also feel more productive now that I have a job to go to, because when I come home I want to keep the productivity streak rolling, as compared to when I was unemployed when simply getting dressed in real clothes was a major accomplishment for me.
This was such a neat experiment in how I spend one week. I am planning to do another 168 Hour Log in the future, as my life and job situations change, to see how I’m spending my time.
Have you ever done a time audit?
How do you spend the majority of your time?