Financial Hogwarts Houses Central (was "March of Time" Tracking Challenge)

I’m issuing a CHALLENGE.

This month we’re working on tracking TIME!

Not into it? Check out our rad 20 in 2020 Challenges (there’s 5 to choose from ) and skip this month’s challenge.

“March of Time” (MOT) will run from March 1 to March 30.

Time is money! But many of us know exactly where our money goes, but have no idea where our time goes. Once you know where the time goes, you can make changes that will help you spend more time on the things you value and less where you don’t (just like budgeting).

For example, do you know how much time in a week you spend:

  • in meetings that don’t accomplish anything
  • doing dishes
  • chatting with coworkers about this weekend’s soccer game
  • reading to your kids
  • connecting with friends
  • online shopping/scrolling
  • watching youtube videos about people who escaped polygamist cults
  • on this forum (oops please don’t abandon us)

Tracking your time has a ton of benefits:

  • Learning how you can change your time to fit your values
  • figuring out if you’re actually saving money paying for the unlimited gym membership rather than by class
  • understanding just how much time you do spend on things that you value (family, hobbies)
  • allowing you to come up with compelling data-based case for outsourcing, splitting household chores differently, or hiring help at work
  • finding “wasted” time that could be used for fun pursuits or batch chores (listening to a language learning podcast on your commute? folding laundry or stretching while watching TV, etc)
  • understanding the times of day you’re actually productive vs spinning your wheels
  • finding the time each week that you can easily add something you value (always sit on your butt on friday night and eat nachos but want to hang out with your friend more? Maybe invite them over to sit on their butt with nachos with you.)
  • get pretty charts

Please read this Time Tracking 101 from Laura Vanderkam, who has done the most extensive work on time tracking, including getting time logs from hundreds of people, and has published several books on the topic.

Apps for tracking your time:

Your MOT goal could be as extreme as tracking all your time in 15 minute increments on a spreadsheet, or as simple as only tracking the amount of time you spend watching TV or cooking for the week.

Whatever it is, make sure the goal involves tracking your time in some way for at least one week (any 7 day period) during March 2020.

March of Time will have a special forum badge and even a STICKER for people that complete the challenge, that will (probably) be cat themed.

Basic rules:

  1. You must establish your own rules about what and how you are going to track. State them in this thread in the first few days of the month to get us kicked off in the right direction.
  2. PREDICT in numbers, how much time you think you spend doing XYZ tasks. This is the FUNNEST part.
  3. During the week you track, report on how you did in this thread . You can report on where you’re at, ask for help with tracking time, and what your biggest takeaways were.

Who This Challenge is For

Anyone who wants a little public accountability to track time. If you liked any of our previous challenges and want to keep it going, here we are!

What do you get out of participating?

  • Knowledge of how you spend your time
  • A community to support you as you do something a little weird
  • A CUTE forum badge for participating
  • And if you do the challenge, you get a STICKER mailed to you.
  • Extreme version: anyone who tracks their time all month gets TWO stickers, and TWO badges.

If you’re in to participate (or on the fence and need encouragement), comment below with your goals for March of Time (MOT)


I already track my work time, I haven’t tracked my time outside of work in several years. I’m in for the EXTREME challenge, which will be tracking all my time (in a spreadsheet) for the whole month. In 15 min increments.


  • 3 hours a week of “social time”
  • Spend 6 hours a week online scrolling/shopping aimlessly
  • Spend 7 hours a week in meetings
  • Spend 8 hours a week watching TV
  • Spend 6 hours a week cooking and doing dishes
  • Spend 4 hours a week skating
  • Spend 7.5 hours a week biking

Overall I want to understand:

  • how to fit in more time doing video editing without feeling like I need to give up my whole day to it
  • how much time my best shows and videos take me vs the “lazy” ones
  • how to spend more time seeing friends without going to “events”
  • how much time skating actually costs me
  • where my time at radio job is wasted
  • When and why I am online scrolling/shopping

Yesss, I’m in!

I have been reading one of Laura Vanderkam’s books and actually already started tracking my time on a spreadsheet from her site, but since this is definitely a weird week I was going to continue tracking at least one more week, so…

I’m totally doing this!

I am currently tracking on a spreadsheet in 15-minute increments. I plan to continue doing this, but after this week (starting March 3), I reserve the right to switch to the 30-minute spreadsheet. I will not be doing detailed tracking of day-job time (and not just because it would show a lot of OMD); I’ll just track how long I am at work.

I am interested to see how long I spend doing chores/life admin like dishes, laundry, and cooking, and perhaps whether I can find more efficiencies there.


  • 4 hours a week of chores
  • 20 hours a week of meaningful parenting time
  • 10 hours a week reading (usually while eating)
  • 2 hours a week friend time
  • 8 hours a week writing/writing-related work

I wonder how much time you’ll spend tracking your time. :wink:


I actually know how much time I spend tracking it because I know how much time I spend on the toggl website! It adds up to about 12 mins a week!


I’m in! Will be testing two apps, Clockify and Harvest, this week and will return with a clearer idea and goals in order to start the challenge.


Fuuuuck this is something I definitely need to do but it never would’ve occurred to me. Thank you for making this challenge.


I’m interested in doing this. I don’t think I’m going to track everything; that feels too regimented and onerous. I tracked time when I was in grad school, though, and it was a fucking major insight about how much time I spent actually working. It was a lot less than I thought I was, and that was actually really freeing; I realized how little I needed to actually do to get results!

I’ll update this post later with my methods + what I want to do.


Ok. Gonna use Toggl, because it’s familiar, and if I hate having my phone near me on weekends… then I’ll figure out something else there. And I guess I’m gonna go on hard mode, fine, we’ll see how this is. Time is tracked in whatever Toggl decides to do for me, or if I move to paper, to whatever increment best pleases me.

Categories with guesses for time:

Time In Bed, 60 hours
Spirituality + Self-Care, 3 hours
Work, 25 hours (this might be more hopeful than real)
Work Procastination + Forums, 20 hours
Exercise, 8 hours
Social Time, 23 hours??? (this can’t be right but it’s what my guesses for everything else suggests)
Cooking, 7 hours
Hygiene, 7 hours
Cleaning, 5 hours
Hobbies, 10 hours

Cleaning might be weird because I generally don’t spend a lot of time on concerted cleaning; I do little bits throughout the day (brush teeth, realize sink is gross, wipe sink, etc).

I’m curious to see how this goes, and if I stick to tracking or fuss right the eff out.

ETA2: Also adding Community Service, because of regularly scheduled + one off volunteering, which does bring Socializing down to a more reasonable 21 hours a week in my guesses…


I’m doing this on paper w/ purdy colors in the topics listed. I’m going to attempt the whole month.

I might also try out some of the apps and try tracking everything in small increments, but I’m only holding myself to tracking these things. Partly because I only have 7 colors of pens. :woman_shrugging:

Lights out – 63 hours/week
Reading – 4 hours/week (tbd – do I want to count listening to an audiobook as reading a book or does only “reading with eyeballs” count?
Tv/video games – 10 hours/week
Friends/family time (note; must be actually interacting in some way, so watching tv would typically not count) – 10 hours/week
Exercise – 90 minutes/week? ???
Gardening – 1 hour/week
Focused work – 20 hours/week
Distracted/dicking around, but at work – 20 hours/week
Mindless entertainment (note, this might be tv/video games on occasion, but less “I’m actively intending to do and enjoy this” and more “I’m doing this because I am a potato without the energy for life right now”) – 10 hours/week

Some things might end up happening in tandem – i.e. video games w/ friends or gardening w/ exercise.

I’m hoping to:

  • Discover how much time I spend on “mindless” entertainment.
  • To be more cognizant of, when getting done with tv/video games/web browsing acknowledge “was this valuable, entertaining decompression or excessive avoidance of other things?”
  • To figure out how much of work I’m focused on real work stuff during and how this impacts my mood.
  • To see how big the gap is between how much I exercise and how much I want to be exercising.
  • To find out how much quality time I’m spending with other people.
  • To have pretty colors.


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Clockify is already out, damn thing kept crashing.

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I am IN. I used Toggl for a while and got away from it.

I have tracked more work stuff in the past, but this time I only want to track what I’m calling “unintentional dicking around on my phone”. Intentional phone usage is fine even if it’s doing something that appears to be a waste of time, like if I think “I am going to play this game now”. It’s the unintentional/mindless stuff I want to track (and reduce). I’m talking about the stuff like opening facebook, closing facebook, then immediately opening facebook again for no reason. Or avoiding getting up in the morning by checking stuff on my phone. Or obsessively refreshing a forum because I want to avoid doing work.


Oh, and my prediction is an hour a day. But I bet I’m about to be horrified.


Never has happened ever.


I’m here to track participation and cheer everyone on! Gentlemen, start your time turners!


After initial hesitation, I’m in!

The thought of time tracking everything makes my skin crawl - I could not get through Laura V’s books.

BUT my side gig is transcription and I’m paid by the audio minute. I would love to get a sense of my actual time spent and calculate from there my hourly pay. I’ll track my hours (both admin and active transcription work) all month. Who knows, maybe my April to do will be finding a better paying side gig!

Ummm…I’m going to wildly guess 40 hours of work for the month.


Yep, that just sounds like crazy talk. whistles innocently

Thinking about this today, I’m definitely going to have to be able to code time as two things. Walking the dog = chore, exercise. Watching tv during dinner = tv, child care (yes we’re that American family). I will probably do an app, might also do a paper version because I like the feel of paper and ink. I already have a notebook on hand to use too.

I’m curious to see how much time I’m actually wasting at work. I predict I’m going to have lots of tiny fragments of time between things, maybe I can figure out how to not have that happen. I’m not sure what kind of numbers predictions to do - lots of my bigger chunks of time are already claimed even outside of work/sleep.


I’m so in!! Will think about this on the plane tomorrow.

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Oof I need this! But do I have the time, lol!

Categories (subject to change)(est. weekly; monthly):
Sleep (56/168; 248/744)
Work (40-48/168; 198/744)
Transport (9/168; 40/744)
Food prep/clean (9/168, 37/744)
Chores/clean/errands (6/168, 20/744)
Social incl lunch (8/168, 30/744)
Gym/exercise (4/168, 15/744)
Travel (pack-fly-drive) (20/744)

Relax/Free: 32/168?


  • I have a work trip coming up and don’t know what to expect from it.
  • In general, I consider <15-20 min drive to be part of the activity it’s for, eg grocery shopping, gym. Also showering after gym/workout is part of workout activity.

Tools: I last did something like this 2 years ago in grad school. I liked an app called aTimeLogger. Very simple to stop/start timer even for short tasks, lets you edit after if you forgot. Generates reports and charts and such, IIRC.


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I’m in but need to decide how far to go. I want to track all my time outside of work, maybe for the whole month to get an overall view. Tracking my productivity at work would be eye opening but I’m just not going to go there. Will decide how I want to track before Sunday. This is exciting but also very daunting. I know I spend too much time just mucking around on instagram and checking facebook when I don’t even care what’s on there! Estimates TBD.

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