Budgeting hours and minutes

I do not lead the kind of life where I should be short of free time. My work is part-time, I set my own hours, I don’t have kids, and as an introvert I don’t do much socialising even when there’s no pandemic on. I do run and blog and do a vague series of tasks (mostly accounting and logging) that I call ‘admin’ every day, but none by themselves have ever felt like they take up too much time. So where has it all been going?

In order to answer this question, last week I did what the TOMM website’s TOTT (The Organised Time Technique) book calls a ‘bootcamp’ and logged what I was doing every minute of every day for the whole week. I was expecting to find lots of periods of time lost to aimless social media scrolling and web browsing. However, while the latter did indeed account for an alarming amount of my time, I was surprised to find that I was already fairly strict about limiting the former to once a day. Although that ‘once a day’ was still taking up too much time!

In response to my findings, this week I’ve instigated a daily schedule that tells me what I need to be doing at all times. For the first half of the day, it’s very strict – this enables me to get all my daily stuff done and out of the way. Most of the afternoon is a bit freer, allowing me to work on the projects I choose (or day job work that comes in), and then I have the evenings free to relax. The main problem for me in recent years is that my to-do list takes up the whole day including the evening, and so I’m not getting any downtime. This is a good way of guarding against that – it does mean that my day is a lot less flexible, but I think I’ll get used to that. It does also feel a bit like ‘scheduled fun’, but scheduled fun is better than no fun at all because I’ve let the to-do list take over my whole day!

My new schedule also halves my social media time and eliminates random browsing from the ‘work’ part of the day. These things are huge time sinks, and I know a lot of people struggle with them these days. Social media in particular is very prone to making me feel worse about my own life (and guilty about not adding three hundred additional things per day to my already-crowded to-do list), so I really am better off minimising my time spent there.

I’ve only been doing the new schedule for a few days but I already feel so much better and more relaxed and in control!

So, what have I been using my newfound free evenings for? Well, at the moment it’s videogames (of course), but the important thing is having them free so I can unwind. In the future I might listen to music or watch favourite TV series… the world is my oyster!

Not much in the way of home improvement going on this week, but I’ve really settled into the groove of daily cleaning, especially now I’ve got the new schedule to keep it manageable.

Now for a lot of strictly-scheduled-in downtime over the weekend!

This fireplace needs fixing as it’s not putting out nearly as much heat as it once did, but at least it looks nice.

This week’s earworm playlists:


Traditional – ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’
Duran Duran – ‘Save A Prayer’
Lindisfarne – ‘Lady Eleanor’
Men Without Hats – ‘Safety Dance’


Audrey Hepburn – ‘Moon River’


Nintendo 3DS eShop – ‘Main Theme’
George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin – ‘I Got Rhythm’
Audrey Hepburn – ‘Moon River’
Peter Hames – ‘Ordinary Man’
The Boomtown Rats – ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’


Joe Hisaishi – ‘Kokoro No Kakera’
LunchMoney Lewis – ‘Bills’
Peter Hames – ‘Ordinary Man’


Audrey Hepburn – ‘Moon River’
Christina Aguilera and Redman – ‘Dirrty’


The Marcels – ‘Blue Moon’
Mark Ronson and Lykke Li – ‘Late Night Feelings’
Spandau Ballet – ‘Gold’
Duran Duran – ‘Five Years’

Plus a bonus track that Geth was humming that day:

3 Daft Monkeys – ‘Paranoid Big Brother’


Duran Duran – ‘Five Years’
Nintendo 3DS eShop – ‘Main Theme’
Abba – ‘One Of Us’

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