Now that I’m on maternity leave, I get a lot of questions like: “What do you do with your time?” and “You didn’t take the garbage out? What did you do all day?”. On top of the questions are statements like: “It must be nice to relax and do nothing all day” as well as “I wish I could get a year off of work”.
I could answer the questions and statements by saying how much work it really is to be at home with two little girls (4 and 4 months), but I felt like my answers were falling on deaf ears.
Being a tech mommy geek with a love for stats and charts, I came up with a plan to come up with a visual representation of my day as a part-time work at home mom.
I tracked everything I did on from midnight on July 16th, 2012 to midnight on July 17th, 2012.
Here is a sample piece of the insanity. I recorded 91 activities:
Once I had an entire day documented, I assign activities to each task so they can be grouped together. Then, I added up the minutes associated with each category. Next, I converted minutes to hours and then calculated each activity into a percentage of overall time. From there, I put together a pretty pie chart.
Now, when someone asks me what I do with so much spare time or assumes that I sit on my butt watching TV all day, I reply- “On an average day, I get about 6 hours of sleep and then work for 3 hours, look after the girls for 7 hours, and spend 6 hours between eating, traveling, household chores and making supper. After all of that, I am left 2.5 hours of free time.” I follow this up with: “My free time now is actually less than the alone time I got over lunch, coffee breaks and my commute when I was working full time at the office.”
Then I take out a copy of my pie chart image that I have saved on my iPhone and ask if they have any questions. This always shuts them up. Always.
If you are looking for a way to answer these annoying questions, I highly recommend going nerd on people. It astonishes them and It’s fun. Nothing like throwing a pie chart in someone’s face.
If you do decide to try this, let me know. I would love to see what your pretty pie chart looks like.