When I was heavily involved in Youth Leadership thirty odd years ago, I can remember drawing up a sheet of paper into 7 days & 16 hours per day, starting at 6 am & finishing at 10pm at night. This was the days before home computers, so once I had drawn it up, I needed to photocopy the blank table a number of times. The next few weeks I mapped out just what I was doing every half hour to an hour. Where I was living at the time, there wasn’t any television, so I was fortunate. Some of my friends who also did the exercise, realised that they were watching 15-20 hours per week of television & then wondering why they never had any time to follow up some of the youth.
I still believe that occasionally it is a great exercise to look at how you are spending your time. Are there chunks of your time that are wasted? I am not talking about being super productive & using every bit of spare time to achieve something. What I am talking about is looking at what proportion of your week you spend your time on certain things & if that is a good use of time for you.
Your actual priorities in life are seen in how you spend your time.
I would encourage you to make up a simple chart starting at the time you get up in the morning, with half hourly time slots, until the time you normally go to bed. Do it with your kids & just see what they do with all their time. Everyone in our family has done this exercise this week even though the week was a bit unusual as we had a 2 day conference on the Thursday & Friday. We colour coded our activities to make it easier to see at a glance what was happening with all our time eg brown = schoolwork, purple = reading, green = eating & preparation/housework etc.
If you value something, then you don’t usually consider that a waste of time. I value reading good books, so when I see my kids reading, I automatically think they are making good use of their time. I don’t value television, so I almost always consider this a poor choice and usually a waste of time. Granted, there are a lot of great educational programs that are helpful to watch, but there are also a lot of programs that I believe are not healthy to watch.
I encourage you to do the time usage chart with your children and to discuss the results. What does this portray about you & your children’s time management and priorities in life?