I originally ordered this book because my Princeton Kappa mentor, a Zeta Phi alumna who I have stayed in touch with since graduating, recommended it after I asked her how she managed being a a mom and having a thriving career. I ordered the book right away, but it took a while to get to me. It sat on my shelf for a couple months, but now I’m so glad I read it! This book changed my whole persp
ective on life and time management, which has always been a subject of interest to me.
I did my very own 168-hour time long (one week) while reading the book and I’m so glad I did! (I’m hoping to start doing one each month as part of a new series that I’ll be launching. Details coming soon!) What Vanderkam points out is that we don’t need to do thi
ngs every day in order to get them done. You don’t need to read/write/stitch/clean every day for them to be
done. As she said to me in a follow up email conversation I had with her, “Ah, email… It can take all available space.” It really can! I don’t need to answer all my emails every single day because I will get back to them at some point. I do not need to wash the dishes every day or I’ll spend more time than needed washing dishes.
As a twenty-something, I feel guilty for admitting that we have a cleaning lady that comes once per month to deep clean our house. Between that, I maintain the house, but the deep cleaning- the toilet scrubbing, oven cleaning, and stair vacuuming- is taken care of my someone else. That I pay. With money. And it’s some of the best spent money in my budget each month. You see, I hate cleaning. No, I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate cleaning. I always have. When the trade off is that I could spend three hours cleaning and being miserable the entire time or I could pay someone $75 to come clean my house while I’m working, it’s a no brainer. But I always felt guilty.
I would much rather spend those three hours doing this, writing blog posts, or doing work for my freelance clients or learning or reading. That $75 buys me three hours of freedom and makes me quite happy. And that is a-okay. It was like I needed Vanderkam’s reminder that other people have the same struggles I do and that there are multiple solutions to every problem. For us, it is worth giving up a date night to have Mary come once a month and make the house smell lemony fresh.
Emilie is an Army Wife, Data Engineer, and CrossFitter with a love for working through her thoughts in this space on the internet. She is a contributor to many open source projects including dbt, Meltano, and GitLab. She lives with her husband Casey, their son RJ, and their pup Bo in Columbus, GA.