Tag Archives: activities of daily living

565 days of my life in numbers

If you’re like me, you’re often wondering: “What do statisticians do in their non-professional lives?”. Since this was one of those rare occasions where Google didn’t know the answer, I’ve decided to find it on my own and after three years here’s the answer:

Getting to this answer was tedious work. On December 8th, 2010 I’ve started logging every step I made, day and night, rounding the intervals to the nearest 5 minutes. My calendar records looked something like this:

My calendar

All this time I lived in Galway, Ireland. I kept logging until August 31st, 2012 with a break between July 17th and August 20th, 2011 when I went to Moldova and most of the time I was visiting family and friends. On July 30th my son Adam was born and for a month I tried to keep logging my daily routine. But it was impossible as practically I didn’t have a routine, all my activities were interrupted and more important I was so tired that I wasn’t able to keep accurate track of what I was doing. I decided to stop and didn’t include this last month data in the study.

New baby in the family brought us lot of joy, but also deprived me the possibility of working without being interrupted, so I postponed the analysis of my calendar for more than a year. Meanwhile I moved with my family to San Francisco, California. After we adjusted to the change and my baby became more independent I decided to start working on my project, kind of a New Year’s Eve 2014 resolution.

After taking away the visit to Moldova and the last month of logging I was left with 565 days. Applying a bit of Python magic, I exported the data from iCalendar into a Google spreadsheet. I corrected the misspelings and combined some activities until there were left 25 categories.

If I were to spend each of the 565 days the same then the activities of my daily living would be distributed according the following chart:

If I take away the sleep time wich accounts for 32.3% of my time, then my rest of the day has the following distribution:

These numbers were calculated from summing up all the activities I did during this period and then deviding by 565 days. Of course my days weren’t all the same, some activities I did perform daily, some weekly, some monthly and some occasionally. More details follow below, along with some charts to visualize the data.


“Evening” routine includes 48 minutes for bathing my kid, story time, tucking in bed and 29 min for my shower and bedtime preparation.

“Morning” routine was divided into school mornings and no school mornings. On weekdays we would spend 70 minutes from getting up until going to school and 67 minutes during weekends. The result surprised me, I was expecting more time doing nothing in the morning in weekends, but I guess the weekend lazy mornings in bed are a rarity when you have kids.

I had lunch and dinner at home 5 to 6 times a week and my average lunch average duration was 26 min, dinner 35 min and tea/coffee/snack breaks 19.5 min. I was busy cooking about 10 times per week with average duration 34 minutes.

Every day I had at least 3 breaks of 21 min, usually time in between/ interruptions from my main activities or activities not important enough to record.

16 times per week, 29 min long, I did cleaning and tidying up the house, laundry, cleaning after parties or kids’ activities.

12 times a week I would spend 33 min in front of my computer, mostly managing my mail, online enquiries and appointments, research, reading etc.

In this period I was mostly SAHM but I did some work on a freelance basis. I was busy working 4 to 5 times a week for 95 min long. My work-related activities consisted of:
– Tutoring college students in calculus, algebra, statistics and programming. In total 52 sessions 134 min long on average.
– Organising sewing and crafts workshops for kids during holidays. In total 25 workshops during this period with average duration 187 min.
– Volunteering for Sea2Sky science exhibition: 1h for training and 9h 45 min during the day of the exhibition.
– The rest is working for Sea2Sky and Galway Science&Technology festivals as statistician, statistical consultant on freelancer.com, preparing the tuition sessions and the workshops and writing on my blog.

During this time I took some courses with Open University and Udacity.com, so 4 to 5 times weekly I studied, 77 min on average.

I had 5 times per week of entertainment (movies, shows, Youtube etc.), on average 68 min long.

4 to 5 times weekly 72 min were dedicated to Eva: nearly 2 hours for karate (including the time to and from), nearly 3 hours for swimming (usually we spent some time after swimming in the coffee shop over there). Once during Christmas holidays we spend 12.4 hours making a 1000 pieces puzzle in 9 sessions 83 min long. Other regular activities were homework, playdates, board games, arts and crafts, birthday parties. One important mention: here isn’t included the time spent watching something together, going in town/library/church and other outdoor activities.

4 to 5 times a week I did “Other” activities for 71 min on average:
– About 45 hours of my time was Christmas related starting with writing cards to the family and friends and ending with throwing out the tree.
– I went to the doctor/dentist about once every two months either for me or my child, and about twice per month during my pregnancy. One visit lasted on average 70 min long and included the time taken to and from the doctor.
– I spend 121 hours preparing for my driving test, driving on my own, driving lessons and the two actual tests (yes I failed the first one).
– During this time we did a very important project in our live, we bought our first house. I was the one staying at home and doing “nothing”, so I was the one mostly involved in all the activities around it. I spent 289 hours (12 days) starting with enquiring about mortgages, scheduling viewings, hiring the solicitor and contactors and ending with unpacking and arranging our new home.
– I kept a log on all the food I ate on caloriecount.com for a month at the beginning of my pregnancy to see whether I get all the nutrients I needed. I spent on that on average 26 min daily.
– 24.6 hours of my life were wasted “counting sheep” at night. Over these 565 days I recorded 23 cases of insomnia, average length 64 min. I compensated that with 27 sessions of napping/resting, 42 min long.
There were some more “other” activities, but not important or interesting enough to be mentioned.

Breaking down the “Socialize&Communication” category resulted in:
– about 2 times per week phone and Skype conversations (mostly family and friends), 29 min on average.
– 2 to 3 times per week socializing with friends in my house or theirs, 66 min on average.
– about 2 times per week I spent in the company of my husband and sometimes family and friends staying overnight, 46 min on average.
– about 2 times per month conversations on serious topics with my husband (like our kids’ future), 58 min on average.

I did grocery shopping about 3 times per week, 52 min on average.

I went to town about twice a week, spending there 116 min on average for just walks, shopping, to a restaurant or coffee shop and attending special family events.

I recorded 165 sexual encounters over this period which results in 2.04 times per week, 13.3 min long.

About once a week I went for walks 97 min long. About once per month I went to the beach spending there 174 min, but considering only the months April to September results in twice per month. I did 13 sessions of physical exercises at home 33 min long, 11 sessions of yoga 80 min long (including the time to and from the venue), once I spend 2h playing tennis and once 4.8 h playing golf.

At least once per week I was sewing, sometimes as hobby and sometimes as work, 77 min on average.

About once a week we had family time for 81 min. Usually the three of us were playing a board game or doing something fun like going to the swimming pool. One mention: here isn’t included the time going to the park/playground/beach/cinema, watching a movie together or going in town.

 

I spent 18 min on average on the way to school and 37 min from the school. I have been in the school for some special events and volunteering (Parent Teacher Association), about 3 times a month during schoolterm speding 104 min on average.

I read 2 to 3 times a month for 38 min long. These were the rare moments when I was reading at home curled on the sofa and don’t include reading in the library, bus, waiting rooms or during karate and swimming lessons.

Breaking down the “outing” data results in:
– 1 to 2 times a month going out in town for drinks (164 min) or cinema (181 min)
– 1 to 2 times a month going to the library 121 min on average
– about once a month going to the church 139 min on average.


During this time I spent 212.5 hours (8.85 days) away from home. Averaging we were going away about once per month for 482 min (8 hours). The rest is time spent on the road. I recorded only 9 times preparing for the one day trips, on average it took me 62 min for packing and preparing snacks.

28 min daily went into “unaccounted” category due to occasional small gaps in my data logging.

And finally 5 to 6 times per week I spent 13 minutes logging all these activities.

Now as a SAHM I have the answer to the question “So what did you do today?” But most important I have an idea how to manage my time better, the most important resourse. And from a point of view of a statistician, this analysis is just a quick insight of what I can do with my data. iCalendar contains enough details to do a more thorough statistical analysis containing not only averages but distributions and correlations of my daily activities, timeline series.

The numbers show that I had a pretty good work-life balance in Ireland. San Francisco is a very interesting city, but I have this constant feeling of busyness and exhaustion, everything takes lots of time and energy: shopping, doing errands, my kids’ activities, school. I decided to start another project and now I am collecting data on how I spend my days here, so that I could compare my daily living in the two cities. After a couple of months I will be able to have some preliminary statistics. Meanwhile please share my article if you liked it and feel free to leave comments and suggestions about what else would be interesting.