Sunday, June 24, 2012

Breaking Down My Control Week

A few weeks ago, in anticipation of Create / Consume, I decided to run a 'control' week where I kept track of how I spent my time. Over the course of these seven days, I deliberately did not adjust my behavior at all. Rather, I just kept careful track of my time from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep, specifically tracking any instances of what I would eventually be counting as "creation" and "consumption." Here's how the week broke down:

That's 44 hours and 38 minutes of consumption, which absolutely crushes my 17 hours and 43 minutes of creation. Now mind you, this was not a particularly bad week for me. In fact, I daresay it was what I normally call a good week. I wrote for more than 8 hours, I had improv practice, a show, and a meeting with my writing group. But I also spent a ton of time surfing the web (at home and at my job), and I very much kept up with all my iPhone games. And clearly by the end of that long week, I felt entitled to a nice relaxing day, which meant bouncing around between my Xbox, TV and computer during most every spare moment.

I recommend that anyone who is planning on attempting Create / Consume run a test week like this (or just a few days, since we're now at less than a week until the project officially begins!) to both become aware of your creation and consumption habits and to get into the habit of keeping track of your time. It will definitely take a while to get used to pulling out your iPhone (or a stop watch, if you're kicking it old school) whenever you're about to do anything that falls under either category. The very act of tracking may adjust your scores too - as you can see it did on my first day when I opted to mostly do things that weren't being tracked all (exercising, napping, hanging out with friends). Finally, it's actually kind of fun to see the results if you're any kind of stat geek like me.

By the way - the app I used to track my time was called Eternity (technically it was the free version, Eternity Lite, though I liked it enough to buy the full version and all it's functionality for July). It lets you track multiple activities and it logs your total time while you're stopping and starting the clock over and over during the day. There's reports available too that I didn't use and would likely compile a better spreadsheet than I did before. You can break down the categories into more than just "create" and "consume" and really track how much of everything you're doing. Cool stuff.

Like I said a little further up, Create / Consume starts in less than a week! And it looks like a fair number of you will be joining me, so I'm super stoked. I'm going to go spend some time enjoying my last week of guilt-free consumption for a while while also continuing to spread the word and also coming up with some clever alternative creation ideas to keep me busy next month when I'm not in the mood to write, perform, or work on designing my card game. Those of you doing it with me - how do you plan on spending your last week preparing for this ambitious undertaking?


1 comment:

  1. I'm doing my trial run right now (so no useful data to share, though I am eyeing the growing section marked "Consume" on my weekly total pie chart with dread). Since I already use Toggl for tracking my work and freelance time, I just created a unique workspace for this tracking and downloaded the Android app so I could track Create-Consume on the go. (I mention Toggl specifically since Eternity is iPad/iPhone only.)

    Overall, despite the aforementioned dread, I think you've hit on a great way to think about life-work-passion balance and in a way that, at least for me, isn't as overwhelming and as failure prone as 365-style or even "30 days of" projects.