“Mommy, how many hours have I been alive?” While waiting in the car line, this is what Noah, my just turned seven year old son asked me. I love children and odds are if you’re reading this you have them too and know how profound their questions can be. Curious, I grabbed my calculator and determined Noah had been alive a total of 52,560 hours. I then punched in my own numbers to find that I have been alive 367,920 hours to date. Compared to Noah, that’s a long time and that was confirmed by Noah as he jovially exclaimed, “Wow, that’s a long time!”
Oddly enough, I’ve never thought of my life in hours. It’s always been days, months, or years. Looking at my life in hours gave me a whole new perspective. I couldn’t help but think about what I had done just that morning or what was on the schedule for that afternoon. We oftentimes look at what we have done with our life but not with the hours that fill the days of our lives.
Chunk Your Days
If you were to chunk your days into hour time slots, what would you find? How many hours do you spend in the car, at work, sporting events, watching television, cooking dinner, doing laundry, carpooling, doing homework, or whatever it is you do on a daily basis? Do you find yourself in a good mood or bad mood when doing these things? For example, some people love to cook while others hate it. An hour in the kitchen might be pure misery to you while to someone else it’s where they find their solace.
After having this conversation with Noah, I decided to examine my life a little bit closer. I took the time to write down my typical day and week. Upon review I realized that a large chunk of my time was spent cleaning, doing laundry, and simply trying to keep up the house. While at times I find cleaning therapeutic, the reality was that most days it was downright exhausting. With a demanding business taking my time during the day and sports, dinner, and homework consuming my night, I realized that these two things, cleaning and laundry were sucking the life out of me and were the source of my ultimate frustration.
I decided to do something about it. Although I have a housekeeper I’ve used and trusted for years, who comes in once a week, I decided to add an extra day to her schedule. The focus of that added day would be laundry and household organization. Not wanting to permanently increase my expenses in this area, I decided to just try it and see what kind of impact it had on my life. Well the verdict is in, I have had Carmen coming twice a week for two months now and I will tell you that without a doubt, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. While there is a considerable expenses associated having a housekeeper twice a week, I get something more valuable in return, time! Rather than running around cleaning and doing laundry, I get to go on bike rides with my kids after school, swim in the pool with them or just play a board game. I don’t feel overwhelmed at all and more importantly, when I come home from business trips, there is nothing to do, it’s already done. The laundry baskets are empty; clothes are washed, folded and put away. I’m constantly surprised when I open a closet or drawer to find Carmen has been there and it’s all tidied up (and I didn’t have to do it).
While this may not be a realistic option for you, it was transforming for me. I run a multi-million dollar company with a sizable staff and it requires frequent travel. Time, not money is my greatest resource. In short, by hiring Carmen, I am buying more time; a beautiful exchange. I am happier, laughing more, relaxed and more than willing to give up that new pair of shoes or item I might buy at the mall in exchange for her services and the freedom it brings to my life.
Make Your Move
What about you? Perhaps you are a stay at home mom but find you spend so much time carpooling that you can’t get dinner cooked and on the table. As a result you end up eating out four to five nights a week. What kind of impact does that have on your health and family budget? In this example, you might consider purchasing readymade meals from a gourmet chef. There are many options today and great Chefs will prepare delicious and healthy menus where all you have to do is pull from the freezer and heat in the oven. I have used these types of services in the past and will tell you that in most cases you end up eating healthier, spending less money on food as a whole, and are able to enjoy time around the table as a family. How would that feel in contrast?
My challenge to you is to take some time today to consider your day, where the hours of your life go, and which of those bring you the most aggravation. Then, brainstorm ways you might bring change that will allow you to instead enjoy those hours and in turn your life. Something as simple as changing the words, “I have to clean” to “it’s time to do some home caring,” and putting on great music, lighting candles and changing the mood of the experience can make a huge impact. Whatever your challenge, you won’t Get Your Girl Back if you don’t make your move and decided to remove stressful daily triggers from your life. Leave the guilt by the wayside and girlfriend, just do it!