Here we are again in that mythical time of new years resolutions, one word promises, and other ways that we plan to do and be better in the new year. New year’s resolutions are promises we make to ourselves when we can see our potential and we’re hoping to live up to it. The problem with resolutions is we always have the best intentions but the follow through is difficult for most of us.
I recently discovered an easy way to track your resolutions or goals which can be easily adapted to your professional or personal life.
I stumbled across a video by creator Matt Ragland about his “ten block” method but realized that I don’t really need to organize or worry about my work life so much. My work life as a teacher is pretty structured already and I’m good about using my time wisely because there’s only so much of it to go around but I have found this method to be incredibly useful in tracking the things I want to do in my personal life instead of the usual habit trackers.
Step 1: I figured out roughly how much available time I have in a week:
Total hours in a week: 168
Total hours spent commuting at at work: 45
Total hours doing errands, meals, kids activities, meetings (high average): 15
Total hours sleeping (I’m a sleep zealot and work really hard on getting my sleep): 63
Hours left over: 168 — (45+15+63) = 45 hours
When I did this calculation, I was shocked to find out that I had 45 hours a week to do what I wanted to do, not just what I needed to do. That was an eye opener to me because, like most people, I’m usually complaining about the fact that there isn’t enough time.
However, seeing it in black and white, there really IS enough time, I am just squandering it with doom scrolling and TV watching.
After I processed my feelings of “wasted” time, I decided to get to work on making it not wasted.
I’ve been on the bullet journal train consistently now for about a year and it’s the only planner style I haven’t given up on yet because it morphs into whatever you need when you need it which I have found incredibly helpful. I will say, I generally stay away from social media or videos about bullet journals unless I use the word “minimalist” because the bujo world is CRAZY and some people get really artistic with them but that is not me — I am a minimalist — give me the basics and the simpler the better.
This is what hit me about Matt’s ten block method — it was a super simple time tracker that let you see how much time you were spending on different activities and if you were using too much time in the wrong areas. You can use this simple method as a way to track how much time you spend doing things you don’t want to (i.e. doom scrolling) or things you do want to be doing (i.e exercise).
As we enter into 2023 — I wanted to share this with anyone who might find it helpful:
Step 2: Set up a four hour strip — for me in my bullet journal it works out to sixteen dots on the dot grid paper and four for each hour.
Step 3: Draw this four hour strip as many times as you want or need to. Matt originally suggests ten times for a total of forty hours but I generally use six to eight strips (twenty-four to thirty-two hours) depending on what my focus is during that week. And since I’m using this in my personal life I figured I don’t need to be productive for the full 45 hours I have available, because sometimes we need to “waste” time and be restful.
Step 4: Separate the strips into one hour increments. I do this by using four dots for each hour.
Step 5: Then label each strip with what you’re tracking (i.e. meetings, exercise, reading, etc…)
Step 6: Shade time in the strip every time you spend time on that activity:
I have found this really helpful in keeping me on track and focusing on my priorities in a gentle and open way as opposed to being so rigid I end up giving up. I have found that I need a nice balance of routine and flexibility and this ten block method helps me with that. As you can see in the picture, I don’t always (very rarely) meet my goals or get even close to them but it at least is a way for me to see how I’m spending my time and where I can improve.
I hope you take whatever you need into 2023 and work towards the life you want to have — no matter what that looks like to anyone else!