My experiment with time tracking

I’ll share one (probably) weird thing with you today.

I have been keeping track of my time, down to the minutes since July.

I use this app and have these categories set up for different activities:

  • Exercise
  • Meal
  • Sleeping
  • Consuming – NIANU
  • Consuming – Book
  • SH work
  • Non SH work
  • Grooming
  • Journaling
  • Family
  • Social
  • Music
  • Break – NIANU, procrastinating
  • Break – positive
  • Routine
  • Housework
  • Commuting

Note: NIANU: Not Important and Not Urgent


Nothing. It’s just pretty. And interesting to observe the pattern.

Here are some graphs from the past couple of days:


Well I don’t know. I just like keeping track of things, analysing, noticing the progress, like a time machine.

I first done this back in 2016, for 3-4 months. Then I stopped, can’t remember why.

Then I started tracking again March this year. Initially I just used the app to track my exercise and my sleeping time.

I’d like to know for example how fast can I complete this rep this time around and notice any improvements in the record. As for sleeping, I was wondering how much time do I actually need to sleep on a day to day basis.

Then I became curious how much time do I actually spend on each daily activities. So since July this year I started keeping track of the 24 hours.

The most difficult part of the whole thing is defining the categories. Tracking is less of a problem because I would more or less have my phone around all the time anyway.

I am still not 100% happy with the way I have the categories defined now. I think the classification I had back in 2016 was much better, but I lost my phone since then and I can’t remember the categories perfectly haha.

I also find it helps me be more mindful of what I am doing moment by moment. I just drift less often. I have grown the mental habit of checking in and just logging the activity.

It also helps when doing exercise. Once I hit “Start Tracking”, I would just go and do whatever needs to be done because the clock has started ticking, instead of going into overthinking and risking talking myself out of it.

What have I learned from doing this?

One interesting thing: during that period, I noticed I would spend exactly 22 minutes first thing in the morning just messing around with my phone, checking Instagram and Twitter. It was purely habit.

I would just go into a trance for 22 minutes, getting all the dopamine hits from scrolling on these timelines, and then right at the 22 minutes mark, a flip gets switches and I’d be satisfied.

Another thing I noticed is I spent average of 30 minutes eating. If I eat slower, I will get full in 40–50 mins. If I eat faster, I’ll get full in 33 minutes. But I would not feel full before 30 mins mark. So logically, to eat less but still not leaving feeling hungry, I need to make sure I spend > 30 minutes on the dining table.

This also puts things into perspective where I can say hey here are 22 minutes I can probably reallocate to something else. I started experimenting, changing the triggers, moving things around.

And I realised everything, every single thing, in my life is just habit. I can literally change any part of my day as I like it, and I will just adjust to the new things.

The person I am now are doing the things the 5 years ago wouldn’t have thought I would enjoy, would know, would have become comfortable with.

I have iterated through and lived with all kinds of routines. From working in the morning, doing 9-5, starting at 13, starting at 16, working at night, eating 3 meals a day, going into intermittent fasting and OMAD, spending hours on Tumblr, and a bunch of other variations.

And they all work well. I didn’t ruin my life. Everything was just something I have grown into. And then I made some small adjustments, or major decisions, then I’d adjust into the new thing.

It’s just so freeing to know that there is actually no predefined structure I have to follow and stick to. To notice how many things in my life that have changed throughout the years. And to know that there is nothing I cannot change in life and it will all work out perfectly fine. Really.

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