Making the most of my 168 hours

After my outlook on life changed dramatically about a month or so ago, Hubs and I had a serious talk about cleaning our house.  Keeping the house clean doesn’t take us too much time, but that is mostly because we try to stay on top of things.  And let me tell you, with three [extraordinarily] furry friends in the house, “clean” probably means a different thing to us that to people with no pets.  We’ve talked before about paying someone to clean, and it always seemed unnecessary to me because we equally share the responsibilities.  Plus, once we had a housekeeping service come out to give us a quote, and it was OUTRAGEOUS.  With me re-focusing [or perhaps truly focusing for the first time ever] on grad school, however, it seemed like it might be time to reconsider having someone help out.

Over at 168 Hours, Laura Vanderkam always stresses that, in order to make the most of your 168 weekly hours, you should pay people to do the things you don’t have to do.  This way, you allow yourself to fully enjoy the time you’re not working or to truly apply yourself to work when it’s work time.  This idea has always made tons of sense in theory, but now faced with the goal of [actually] applying myself to finishing my PhD and knowing that the best way for me to not lose steam is to practice self-care by giving myself real time off (weekends filled with crafts rather than chores), we set out to find someone to clean our house.

I called seven (count ’em!) cleaning services and filled out as many online forms and I didn’t hear back from a SINGLE ONE.  (Maybe it was the truthfulness of my applications.  On the scale that you could use to rank your house: 1 – fairly clean, 2 – Some dust and dirt, 3 – Lots of dust and dirt, and I chose 3 every time.  If given an option to include more information, I put something like “we have a lot of fur here”).  I’ve let it just sort of simmer since I made the initial push, but the whole situation got me started thinking about how I spend my time.  Honestly, an hour or two of cleaning a week isn’t breaking the self-control bank, but dedicating time to things that don’t fill me up at least as much as I am pouring out is.

So I really carefully examined my time, and I realized that I needed to quit coaching Ultimate and cancel cable television.  I love coaching, and if I had a 9-5 job, I would continue to do it as long as I could.  Quitting was an extremely difficult decision, much harder to make than the choice to quit playing, but the emotional energy and time that I was dedicating to coaching had become too much.  The decision to cancel cable was easy:  I hated that the TV was always on, that watching TV was my main relaxation activity (rather than reading books, which I LOVE), that Hubs and I watched TV together but didn’t have as many good conversations, take as many walks, or enjoy as many meals together.

I tearfully informed my team and am now navigating a new life of not traveling multiple weekends for Ultimate or being committed to four+ hours a week of leading and planning practices.  We kissed our DVR goodbye and said hello to free DVDs from the library, streaming shows we love on the computer, and an antenna that lets us catch the NFL games of the local team (in HD!).  Hubs and I are having great conversations, and I’ve been able to [mostly] stay motivated at work.  Yesterday I met with my counselor, and it was one of the first times in years that I haven’t cried throughout the session.  These changes in my life have been varying levels of challenging to enact, but I am SO GLAD I have.

How could you make the most of your 168 hours?

3 thoughts on “Making the most of my 168 hours

  1. RBM says:

    I think having a housecleaner is one of the best things I have ever done for my life and marriage, to be honest. I would suggest, instead of trying to find someone through a service, ask folks at your church, school, gym, etc if they have someone who just does it as an individual business. I have hired 4 different cleaners this way in 3 different cities and they are ALWAYS much cheaper than a service. (I couldn’t believe the quote Merry Maids gave me once–ridiculous!) And good for you for taking the plunge to turn off cable TV, that is such a hard decision, but a good one I think. Love to you both 🙂

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