Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Time Crunch

I spend the majority of my life feeling pressed for time.

I wake up, get dressed to go run, run for an hour or more, spend 45 minutes getting ready for work, commute for 40 minutes, work all day long, commute home for 50 minutes, and then I have about two hours to relax before it's time to clean up from dinner (which Greg cooks) and go to bed. And this is a life without having kids!

I usually feel like I am running behind and I'm always rushing around to get stuff done or go somewhere. I have often thought that I would love the option to work 4 days a week and get paid 80% of my salary. I value my time above all else. But of course, full-time salaried jobs don't work that way in the United States. Having a job means that you're all-in. Don't get me wrong-- I love my job. But the commute + all the running I do puts me in constant time-crunch mode.

I totally recognize that I am choosing to be this busy and I could opt for a job closer to home. I could move. I could run less. Or, I could find ways to make sure that the little "free" time I do have is not also occupied with things like running errands, cleaning the house, etc.

Over the summer, Greg read an article that showed how spending money on things that save time leads to the most happiness. I totally agreed with the article, which is how I justify spending up to $10/day in tolls to take the "fast" lanes. (Yes, a 40-50 minute commute is "fast" when compared to what it would take without the toll lanes.) After reading the article, he promptly hired a lawn service to take care of mowing our yard. He told me I should hire a cleaning service if I wanted. I didn't do this though, as that would require time to research, and I would want to be home while cleaners were at the house.

Instacart: 1.5 hours a week saved
Over the past month, however, I've really felt the time crunch with all of the additional "things" to do for the holidays. Holiday shopping, holiday gatherings, holiday cards, and holiday everything! On Thanksgiving, my sister told me about a grocery delivery service she uses to avoid having to go shop. It's called Instacart and for $149/year, you can have a groceries delivered to you from virtually any near by store: Wegman's, Giant, Harris Teeter, Costco, Whole Foods, CVS and more. There's also a 10-15% up-charge on the food, plus any tip you decide to leave the delivery person.

When Greg and I heard about this, we thought it would be life-changing and so far it has been. Each weekend, we typically spend 15 minutes driving to the grocery store, 45-50 minutes shopping for a week's worth of food, and then 15 minutes driving home. We prefer to shop at Wegman's and the closest one is about a 15-minute drive. In August, we will have a Wegman's within one mile of our house! But that's a long way off. When you include unpacking all the groceries, this ends up being about an hour and a half of time over the weekend, which we'd rather spend relaxing. Another benefit is being able to get groceries in the middle of the week instead of having to wait. This will cut down on eating out, thus indirectly saving us money. But as I said above, I'm at a point in my life where I'd rather save time than save money.

Dyson Hair Dryer: 1 hour a week saved
I've been eying the Dyson hair dryer since it came out about a year ago. It's supposed to dry your hair much faster, eliminate frizz, and be much healthier for your hair. For someone who spends 15-20 minutes each morning drying her hair, this sounded amazing-- if these claims were true. With a $400
Smooth, frizz-free hair in no time!
price tag, I simply couldn't justify buying this hair dryer for the longest time. But finally, when a 20% holiday sale came about, I pulled the trigger. And I was not disappointed! This hair dryer is twice as fast as my previous one, but not as hot! And it leaves my hair feeling as smooth as it does after I go to a salon, and without all the frizz. I love, love, love it!

House Cleaning Service: 1 hour a week saved
To be honest, I actually don't even spend a full hour a week cleaning. I only clean our shower once a month, and I never touch the guest bathroom. I vacuum about once a month, and I hardly ever dust. I've never cleaned the inside of our microwave or our ovens. I've mopped the kitchen floor about 3 times this year. Yup, my blog is all about honesty! Generally speaking, I do clean the house, but usually "cleaning the house" is an event that can take several hours. Our house always "looks" okay, but I have always felt a little guilty for never investing the time in truly deep cleaning it.

After years and years of wanting a cleaning service, but never enough to allow strangers to touch my stuff, I finally bit the bullet. My friend Rochelle told me that she hired a really good cleaning service who totally deep cleaned her home. Greg told me that if I wanted to have them come on Friday, he'd be home from work to supervise. Perfect! Greg actually gets every other Friday off work because his company has an alternative work schedule of 9-hour days.

Not only did I not have to worry about researching a good service, but I also didn't have to worry about trying to be home when they came. I still didn't like the idea of them touching my stuff, but I moved enough things out of the way beforehand that I felt okay with it. Rochelle was right- the cleaners did an amazing job, and we've reached a level of "clean" I never thought possible!

Time Savings
Now that I don't have to go to the grocery store, clean the house, or spend 20 minutes drying my hair in the morning, what am I going to do with all of this extra time? Probably nothing other than simply feeling like my life is less hectic, less stressful, and more enjoyable.

Quick Running Update
Track workout at sunrise

I realize I haven't updated this blog with my training lately, but things are are going really well. I've been posting my workouts on Instagram almost every day. My weekly mileage has been in the low 50's for the past several weeks, and I'm gearing up to run the Houston Half Marathon in mid-January.

I've been doing a lot of workouts focused on speed, and I think my fitness is in a good spot right now based on my paces. I'll run a 5K on New Year's Day with the hopes of a modest PR, and then make my way to Houston two weeks later. My Achilles tendonitis is practically gone, and I've only felt it about 3 times this entire week! For just a few minutes at a time.

With all the actual racing I do, hopefully my life will feel like less of a race with these small time-saving strategies.


  1. I don't have house cleaning on a regular basis, but I have hired people for that before and never regretted spending money on it! It is totally worth it. For one thing, cleaning the house just doesn't bring me any joy and it takes a lot of time. I don't know how to properly clean things the best way like someone who does that for a living does (just like they don't know how to write instruction manuals, lol). So I'd spend time googling how to clean things too, buying cleaners I needed, etc.

    We also hire a lot of work around the house done. I just do not want my husband on the top of a ladder on the roof of our home, which is understandable right? I would rather pay the professionals for things like gutter cleaning, pressure washing, etc! Time really is money...

    1. Exactly. I have tried for years to get all the grime off of our stove and have never been able to. These people got it right off!

  2. I have a woman who cleans my house every other week. She's been coming here for years. When you live with 3 males and a dog, there is not a enough time in the week to keep up with them. Since she's been coming so long, it's like she's part of the family. Best money I spend.

    1. That's awesome that you have someone who you trust.

  3. I definitely understand your reasoning. Why eat up your few free hours with repetitive labor?
    Sometimes, though, I think paying for a service comes with a pricey trade-off. For example, I hate doing groceries, but I am a creative cook, and I love grabbing a special fruit or a particularly nice roast; or changing my menu as I go to substitute for ingredients that are out of stock or overpriced. If I paid a shopper, I'd miss out on that aspect. The two concessions we make are taxes - we finally got a CPA, as our finances are getting more complex - and a gardener. We do not actually choose to have a gardener, as it's part of our lease, but it's probably a good thing as I have a brown thumb!

    1. We definitely miss picking out the groceries ourselves. But I guess if we really wanted we could still go to the store.

  4. I can completely relate to the time thing. Since changing jobs my commute is now 20-30mins rather than 60 mins and my life is so much better. Even tho I earn less it’s made me a lot happier.
    Similarly my parents got a cleaner to come once a week as they would rather spend money not time on a clean house, which makes complete sense. If they can afford it why not? There’s nothing shameful about it!

  5. oh i really really want that dyson hair dryer. thanks for sharing. i also feel like i am often rushing from place to place and the first thing to suffer for it is my running, even though that is something that makes me feel BETTER. I am also in the would love to work 4 days a week / 0.8 FTE!

  6. Time is precious! I'd rather pay someone to do something for me too. That way we both end up happy. I have more time for me and the other person gets money. :-)