About What Have We Done…

Earlier this year, I conducted a time-tracking experiment. Simply put, I wrote up my actual schedule at the end of each day for a week and posted it as a Facebook note – e.g.

– Process incoming email (20)
(fall back into bad email habits: mail app stays open in the background, instead of being shut down after initial check in and only opened at 2 or 3 key points during the day)
– Blog/post yesterday’s schedule
– Respond to Dzifa’s survey for Philosophy Now survey
– Scan Vineyard forum–in particular Jacqueline’s post of a poem from Kwame Dawes
– Read Elizabeth Alexander’s “Praise Song for the Day” and a series of responses (including Carol Rumen via the Guardian’s book blog–pleasant surprise at finding someone else (other than anyone that’s sat through one of my workshops on form) that comfortably refers to a “strophe”)
– Clear down RSS feeds – all categories (from 900+ unread items -> 30)


I learned a lot about what I was actually doing with my time, and doing it in a social space gave me a bit of a kick to maintain the discipline. Even now, it’s interesting to look back over the schedule I was keeping at the time and see how much things have changed…

At the end of the experiment, I decided I’d do it again, except this time, I’d invite a few people to come along for the ride.

My needs are different now. I’m much better at tracking my time using iCal, and I’ve experimented with things like RescueTime. I still believe that there’s a value in a social experiment, however. I’ve invited a set of people to spend a week (maybe two) journalling their actual activity (sans the messy personal bits, of course…), and no massaging of the truth to look better beside whoever else might be involved. At the end of experiment, whoever’s involved will meet (as far as geographically possible) and discuss how things went down. Also, beyond tracking time, I’m hoping we’ll spark a few discussions here about the way we get things done.

The week started on the 23rd of November, 2009. I’m closing entries for this on the 25th, but with one eye on running similar weeks in the future, in the words of KRS-One “if you want to join the crew, then you must see me…”

Jacob Sam-La Rose

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