In the middle of 2019, I started time tracking everything I do, and so 2020 is the first year that I have an entire year’s worth of data. The COVID-19 pandemic affected my time quite a bit, but it’s still interesting to see what I spent my time on and how the pandemic affected it.
There are 8760 hours in a year, and my total came out a little high, at 8768 hours and 27 minutes, but that’s pretty close to perfect. It means I accidentally tracked about 1 minute extra per day.
Here are the broad categories for the year that I’m willing to share.
110 hrs 9 hrs/month
This includes time at church, Bible studies, serving at church, reading the Bible, and praying (although I didn’t track praying much, it was an experiment with a morning routine)
This went down significantly in March when I stopped going to church to serve. This was about 22 hours a month and went down to 4-7 hours/month.
36 hrs 3 hrs/month
This includes exercise, running, and the time I spent preparing beforehand (stretching or getting dressed), and afterward transitioning back to my normal day (showering and changing).
This went down before the pandemic hit because I was going to the gym a lot in January.
133 hrs 11 hrs/month
110 hours of this is podcasting, but it also includes writing, preparing for talks, programming, and the little bit of tutoring that I did.
- 43.75 hrs for BookBytes
- 6 hrs of recording
- 22.75 hrs of editing
- 33.5 hrs for Imprint
- 8 hrs of recording
- 15.75 hrs of editing
- 25 hrs for Talking Dudes
- 5 hrs of recording
- 12.5 hrs of editing
- 4 hrs for Web of Tomorrow
- 1 hr of recording
- 1.5 hrs of editing
A lot of these recording vs editing numbers are skewed because I got behind on editing and a lot of episodes were recorded in 2019 and then not edited until 2020. The other hours come from preparation, publishing, and then I also have timers for before and after recording. Sometimes it takes a while to start the recording and we usually talk for a bit afterward.
204 hrs 17 hrs/month
196 hours are watching videos and just 8 hours are listening to podcasts because most of the time I’m doing something else when I’m listening to podcasts.
That’s about 3.7 hrs/week watching video, which is about 30 minutes a day. I’m really happy about that. The average American spends 3-5 hrs watching TV per week.
Here’s how the video watching breaks down:
- 59 hrs Movies
- 103 hrs TV Shows
- 27 hrs YouTube (3.75 hrs were CGP Grey)
- 0.5 hrs Apple events
- 6.5 hrs unknown
277 hrs 23 hrs/month
249.5 of this is reading and the rest is learning, dev learning, or reading research (which is something I did for Seven Languages in Seven Weeks)
235 hrs 19.5 hrs/month
I feel good about this. I spend more time with my son than I do consuming media or on creation.
536 hrs 44.5 hrs/month
This is a bit of a catch-all that includes driving/commuting, errands, doctor visits, hair cuts (I only had 2 this year), cooking (I only started tracking this in February), and housework.
Driving and commuting alone were 250 hours. It’s funny though. Only 8 hours were commuting because that stopped mid-March and my work is so close to my house that my commute is only 13 minutes. It would have been 108 hours if I did my math correctly. There is a huge dip in driving in March and April (from 28 hrs/month to 15 and then 4.5 hrs/month), but it goes right back up for the summer (about 26 hrs/month). September was 43 hrs because we went down to Zion National Park. Then it dropped again for October-December (8-11 hrs/month).
The other subcategories include:
- 137 hours of housework
- 86 hours of errands
- 59 hours of cooking
148 hrs 12 hrs/month
This includes restaurants, date nights, and hanging out with friends and family. Thankfully, I had some family in town this year that I could hang out with, and we were able to babysit for each other for date nights.
28 hrs 2 hrs/month
This includes meetings, time spent on finances and budgeting, and weekly reviews. I spent about 14.5 hours on finances. I only spent 10 hours on weekly reviews, which means I’m not doing enough. This should be closer to 52 hours.
105 hrs 8.75 hrs/month
71 hours of this is outdoors because of camping. When I’m camping, the timer is outdoors, reading, or sleeping.
The remaining 34 hours are things like massages (only 1 hr due to the pandemic), meditation (17.5 hrs), therapy (13 hrs), and relaxing.
19 hrs 1.5 hrs/month
I didn’t do much with real estate this year. A lot of this is meeting contractors or working on finances.
3,158.75 hrs 263 hrs/month 8.6 hrs/day
For part of the year, I was tracking oversleeping time by automatically starting an oversleeping timer if I snoozed my alarm, but I stopped doing that and tracking sleep as sleep. Also, only an hour of this is napping.
A Note on Multi-tasking
You can only one timer at once with Toggl. At first, it was difficult to decide, which timer to run if I was doing more than one thing at the same time. For example, if I’m taking my lunch at work, but I’m watching a video, or if I’m running or driving, but also listening to a podcast. But I think this is a good feature because it forces me to focus and it forces me to choose the primary thing that I’m doing. I think of it as primary vs. secondary tasks. I have to choose which task is more important to track and be ok with “losing” the other data.
It also means that the time I track each day will always add up to 24 hours.
The most problematic situation for me is exercising or driving while listening to an audiobook, but I rarely listen to audiobooks. If I started listening more I would have to put more consideration into this because I don’t want to lose the amount of time spent reading, exercising, or driving. I spent 30 minutes doing that this year.
I have thought about trying to use tags to track multiple things, but I haven’t gone down that path yet, and I don’t want to overcomplicate this.
2,708 hrs 225.5 hrs/month 7.4 hrs/day
If I’m not doing something in the categories above (or work), then I track it as “Personal time.” This is my catch-all category. Last year I tracked 2,708 hours in this category. I’m honestly shocked by this number. I didn’t realize how big it is until I averaged it by day. I have no idea what I did during this time, but probably most of it is transition time, time spent waiting, eating, personal hygiene, and time I spent hanging out with my family.
Time spent time tracking
I had a time tracking category at first, but I quickly realized that I time tracked so little that it didn’t matter. I looked in Screen Time on iOS to find this out. I was spending about 7 minutes a day in Timery. The reason I wanted to track this was to make sure I wasn’t time tracking so much that I wasn’t present with my family. But I asked my wife and son and they both said I’m not on my phone very much and I’m usually very present with them. That’s because if I have a timer running, I’m committed to doing that thing.
How I did this
This warrants a whole post on its own. I use Timery on my iPhone and iPad to track my time.
I have some automations that help:
- Starting Timers with Shortcuts (If It’s Not Already Running
- Automatic Time Tracking From Plex
- How to Automatically Split Toggle Timer at Midnight
Time tracking when I was camping and didn’t have a reliable data connection was the biggest challenge. I was mostly tracking Outdoors, Sleeping, Reading, and Driving. The way I handled it was by writing down the times and then inputting it when I got back home.
I value spending more time creating things than consuming things. I include learning and reading in the creating category because I’m engaging my mind and most of the time I’m reading non-fiction or learning something from what I’m reading. I spent 411.5 creating and 205.5 consuming, so that’s a 2:1 ratio. I’m not sure what ratio to aim for, but it felt like I had a good balance this year. And actually, 15 hours of my consumption category was watching videos about how to take notes in Roam Research.
Awake vs Asleep
I spent about 5,600 hrs awake, so I spent about 64% of the year awake.
Family Time and Self-care
11% of my awake time on relationships, kids, spiritual, exercise, and self-care. That seems pretty good to me.
Goals for next year
- I would like to see Personal time go down and find out what all that time is actually spent on
- I would like to see the ratio of podcast recording:editing get closer to 1:1.5.
- I would like to see sleep go down a bit
- I expect to see self-care and exercise time go up