I’m not busy.
I have a lot going on, some of the time, yes, but not always. I choose nearly everything I do—or at least, I chose the path that led me here, and I’m grateful for that. Want me to do something—volunteer, maybe, or help edit an essay, or play a game of Spot It or Monopoly? I do, in fact, have time. Which isn’t to say I’ll do it. I may in fact say no, but it won’t be because I don’t have time. I have time to spend several hours over the weekend learning how to make a beaded wrap bracelet. I have time to do an entire podcast largely for fun (and certainly not for money). I have time to take a sunset hike up Pinnacle, our town “mountain,” with a friend.
If I want to do something, I’ll make time. If I don’t want to do it, I won’t make excuses—I’ll just politely say no. My usual formula–that doesn’t work for me right now. Unless you want me to play Monopoly, in which case I may run out of the room shrieking.
As you’ve probably figured out by now (and may have already known, if you’ve read my earlier essay, “I Refuse to Be Busy,”), I probably don’t have significantly less to do than anyone else with a book to write and various other work irons in the fire and 4 school-aged hockey-playing kids. What I have is a different outlook on time and choices, and that’s not because I’m naturally blessed with a chill approach to life. It’s because I’ve read, and pretty much fully ingested, Laura Vanderkam’s work on time, starting with 168 Hours: You Have All The Time in the World, and now her newest book (just out in paperback) I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time.
In “I Know How She Does It,” Laura looked at time logs from 1,001 days in the lives of women who make more than $100,000 a year (including many who made a lot more than that). She describes their approaches as “the Mosaic:” how they (and you) chose to put together the many tiles of time that make up a week.
The book is full of stories of women finding ways not to just fit in work, family and life , but to enjoy the process, and feel happy about the lives they’re creating, and the result is a useful how-to guide that’s neither preachy nor pretends to know it all. Laura’s approach to time—or time management—is one that works for me. Reading the book again, before writing this blog post, pushed me to again revisit the ways I choose to spend my time, and recognize that in fact, now that i’m not under the daily deadline pressure, I’m not working enough hours–I’m frittering away some of them, and I’ve been sucked back into a kid task that really should be divided or outsourced (school pick-ups). When I make my book deadline in May, Laura gets a total shout-out, because I’m absolutely back on track.
I think you’d like “I Know How She Does It” too, and I’d love to get a copy in your hands–which is why I’m giving away two copies, along with a fun copper bracelet I made with the reminder “Design your Mosaic.” We’ve all got the same amount of time in a week, after all. I’m always happier when I remind myself that I’m the one who has made the choices that dictate how I spend them.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. Winners were informed on Friday, 1/20. Watch for more book giveaways later.