Freeing Your Time

{ Image source: gfpeck on Flickr }
I was sitting in my kitchen this morning, finishing the dregs of my coffee and thinking about my day when I realized something spectacular: I only have one thing that I absolutely must do today.

For the first time since before college started (read: OVER A DECADE), I don't feel rushed. I don't feel like I have to go do anything. I don't have a weight pressing on my shoulders and my chest, pushing me to go, go, go, go, GO until I collapse from exhaustion at the end of the day.

I attribute this change to embracing the Tim Ferriss Method of time management--or, rather, the lack of time management. Time, in this case, is not to be managed. Every little crap thing that takes up your time needs to be managed and eliminated.

As I mentioned in this post, I spent part of my summer reading his best-seller The 4-Hour Workweek. I've been focusing mostly on elimination--eliminating email, draining interactions, useless junk in our house, etc. This is in line with what we've been wanting to do since before we got married, but just never really figured out how to do it. It's as if this how-to guide not only gave us a path, but gave us permission.

Initially, giving up living in my inbox was hard. Some days, it still is, especially when my husband asks me to check something that applies to both of us but was sent only to me. But I put up a really nice autoresponder, which not only has gotten fabulous feedback, but it's trained my friends to call or text me if it's really important or they want a response within 12-24 hours. I also unsubscribed from most direct email lists, keeping only the ones that I truly am interested in, read on a regular basis, or have to keep in order to maintain organization membership.

Eliminating our useless junk in the basement is time consuming, but by breaking the task up into bite-sized pieces, I've been whipping through it. It took me four days to go through one old record box, but I reduced the amount of unnecessary paper by 75%. In ONE box! I have two more to go, but I'm pretty sure that I can fit everything into one box, thus reducing our load by 67% or more. I've also managed to sell off several items that we just taking up space, thus earning money that is going straight into the Harry Potter jar. The kids, by the way, are thrilled with this plan--since beginning the Great Purge, we've more than tripled the amount of money we have in the jar. We also have some items that aren't exactly appropriate to be sold or donated, so we've just been giving them away. It's amazing what people will do when they see the word "free" in a listing on Craigslist.

Back to this morning: in glancing over my list of things to do, I realized that the only thing I had to do was go to the grocery store. I did my meal planning last night, but we already have so many of the ingredients that it took me less than 15 minutes to complete the list. This list, by the way, usually takes me an hour. There are about half the number of items that I usually purchase; it's going to cost the same amount, but only because I have to purchase a few supplements to compensate for cutting dairy out of my diet. And since everything else can be done this afternoon while my toddler is sleeping, I really only have to watch and/or entertain my kids for the rest of the morning.

Do I have other things to do? Of course. Are they necessary to do today? Not in the slightest. I may want to check my email though ...

Recommended Reading and Related Posts:
A Summer of Introspection at Rhymes With Tao
The Harry Potter Project: And So It Begins at Rhymes With Tao
How to Check E-mail Twice a Day ... Or Once Every 10 Days at The Blog of Tim Ferriss


  1. I'm going to have to read that book. It sounds fabulous!

    I spent all last summer doing what you're doing, getting rid of useless stuff, organizing, etc, and I feel so much better! Gretchen Rubin over at the Happiness Project advocates the same thing: clean house, clean mind. It's so true!

    1. Oh, I know! I've read it in SO many places (smallnotebook.org being the first, I think), and I just haven't been able to make myself do it yet. It's pretty awesome finally weeding through the junk!


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