How I Regained Almost A Day A Week With A Time Audit

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:34 am on Monday, March 2, 2015


What’s the most precious resource in your life? For me, it’s time. It’s the one thing you can’t get back. So I decided to see if I could free up a few more hours a week by doing a Time Audit.

For two weeks, I carried a notebook with me and wrote down everything I did and how much time it took me to do it. Then I broke all my activities into categories, tallied how much time each one took, and compared them to total time spent. From there, I broke the categories into percentages, so I could tell how much time I spent working, sleeping, eating, watching TV, and so forth.

Why do this? To:

    * Find out what I was really spending my time on.
    * Find extra hours in the week.
    * Learn how to use my time more efficiently.

Writing down everything you do is an annoying chore, but it was worth it because now I have an accurate idea of how I was using my time, and where I was wasting it. I learned a lot about myself in the process.

Here’s a few things I learned:


I work a lot. Turns out I spend the majority of my time working, which is fine with me. I love to work.

I read a lot. I was surprised to find I spend a portion of every day reading books. I didn’t realize it was such an ingrained habit, and I think it’s a good one to have.

I spend a lot of time socializing, being active, and playing with my son. All good things.


I sleep too much. What? An adult woman who gets *too much* sleep? Yep. I was frequently getting over 9 hours of sleep per night. I believe in getting enough rest, but that’s just ridiculous. So I started getting up an hour earlier, which means an extra 7 more hours a week.

I spend too much time cleaning. I was shocked to find that I spend 9 hours a week just cleaning. That’s insane! My house isn’t even that clean. I’m trying a new system out to save time—if it works I’ll save an extra six hours a week.

UPDATE: Related post How To Save Time Cleaning The House.

I spend too much time cooking. In my effort to stop eating out so much, I’ve been making meal plans and cooking at home. The uptick of that is that I spent way too much time in the kitchen and at the table—up to 15 hours a week. Can you ever win? I like to cook, but over an hour of total time on a weekday spent devoted to dinner (including eating) seems excessive. SO I’ve been experimenting with a new system for that too, and it seems to be saving me an extra five hours or so in the kitchen. I’ll share about this in a separate post too.

UPDATE: Related post
How To Save Time In The Kitchen

I watch too much TV. This one shocked me. On a weekday, we watch maybe one or two shows and that’s it–but if you add that up along with a movie or two, and it ends up being 12 hours a week, a major time suck. I figure seven hours a week is enough TV for me, which will free up about five extra hours a week. I’ll look into how to fix that one too.

So: If I address these problem areas, I’ll free up 23 hours a week.

That’s right, if I change some of my habits, I’ll gain almost an entire day of free time per week, thanks to the time audit.

I’d better get started.


Comment by Sandra

March 3, 2015 @ 9:46 am

Seems like a bit too much “ought” here; some people actually DO need 9 hours of sleep a night. Now if you’re waking up and lying in bed for an hour before actually getting up, that’s something else! :-)

And just what will you use those “regained” hours on? I can see spending less time cleaning, but if you enjoy cooking, why cut back?

Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

March 3, 2015 @ 9:47 am

Sandra, having fun, working, spending time with my family, and other things I would rather use my time on. Thanks for the comment!

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