Saturday, April 9, 2011

376. You Got All Week!

I am a huge book whore. Which is why when my local bankrupt Borders posted a “Going Out of Business” sign last week, I zipped right over with a crisp hundred dollar bill in my hand. I walked out loaded up with dozens of great treasures: travel books, kids’ books, business books, novels. I am all set for at least the next day or so.

One book that reached out and grabbed me is called, “You Got All Week!” and is about successful time management (but apparently not about successful grammar). As a busy mom, I was eager to hook that revolutionary book up to my thirsty brain and let all the words drip in, like an IV. I vaguely remembered hearing about this book before (it has been on the New York Times Best Seller List for 16 weeks) and it took every fiber of my self-control to not start reading it on the car-ride home.

Once home, I cracked that spine and got to work. It turns out, according to the author (who has her PhD in “Time Physics” from Harvard—who knew there were such classes?), the key to success is printing out a weekly schedule with all the hours in blocks and then filling in the blocks for your maximum benefit. I immediately went to the “You Got All Week!” website and downloaded her sample chart, which is the identical chart she has in Chapter 1. It looks like a blank Sudoku puzzle.

The author has kindly already filled in the hours of 11 PM—5 AM for sleep. (A tad presumptuous in my opinion … what if you are a night nurse?) She says this leaves you the “generous” amount of 126 hours to do whatever you want. I immediately started filling in my chart with meals and snacks, and suddenly realized I could save a lot of time if I just gave up eating.

Next up were my work hours at the high-end kitchen store. I was troubled with how I should fill these blocks in. Should I write “Work” or would it truly be more accurate to write “Shop while being paid to pretend to work”? I decided to go with just “K.S.” (Kitchen Store) for simplicity sake.

I agonized over which blocks should represent exercise. Since this was a fantasy chart, should I write “Work-out” from 5 AM—8 AM or 1 PM—4 PM? Did I really want to work-out three hours per day?

In the end, I decided yes, I do want to work out three hours per day (maybe five on the weekends, just like Hollywood starlets). The whole point of me buying this book was to improve my life. Sorry, kids, not sure who’s going to take you to the school bus in the morning or pick you up in the afternoon! We’ll work out those pesky details later, maybe in Chapter 5!

This was going to be a breeze. I had plenty of time left over even after sleeping, eating, work, and working out. Now it was time to really prioritize what it was I wanted to do with my time.

I started feeling a bit impatient about how I was going to squeeze in the time for necessary household chores like grocery shopping, cooking, washing dishes, basic cleaning, and laundry. Laundry was like a competitive sport in our household, and in a typical week I would spend a grueling 10 hours devoted to my training, lest I fall behind and face a mountain of wrinkled dirty clothes that attract bugs and mice.

I started skimming “You Got All Week!” to discover the author’s advice on when to accomplish the more mundane aspects of my life. Where was the coveted information?  Chapter 2? No, those were here success stories. Chapter 3? Nope, this was a compare and contrast of how people lived a hundred years ago and actually got more done. How about Chapter 4? Not even close. This was where the author’s tone morphed from mere Know-It-All to over-the-top Preachy. She goes on and on and on about what a waste of time TV is (really? and what would I do without Top Chef to inspire me and give me the idea to make strawberry smoothies with kiwi and vodka, hmm?).

I zipped ahead to read the rest of the “Time Wasters” chapter, and lo and behold, she finally addresses household duties. Yay! I can’t wait to see the secret to my new life!

There is was in black and white in the next sentence. Three little words (they were not “Kill me now,” although they may as well have been): Hire a maid.

WOW—why didn’t I think of that? “Hire a maid.” Brilliant! The new maid can come to my house every day (maybe while I am working out?) and cook and clean and do all the laundry and put everything away. Fabulous! This book is right—I will have plenty of time left over to do all the “fun” things that really matter to me!

This was the part where I hurled the book across the room and scared the cat. I was so angry that little Miss I’m-a-Harvard-doctor-and-I-know-everything was telling me, little Miss I-am-broke-and-don’t-have-money-for-a-maid that I should hire a maid.

The author went on to explain about what she calls “Core Capabilities and Talents.” According to her, we all have things we are good at and like to do (in my case, reading magazines and shopping), and we should exploit those talents and not “waste time” (her words) on things that we find unfulfilling and tedious. Amen to that, sister! So, in her perfect world that she has mapped out for me on my personalized “You Got All Week!” chart, there is more than enough time for me to read and go shopping, and even eat chocolate cupcakes. What there is no time for is laundry. (I have been trying to tell The Husband this for years.)

In truth, I can’t cope with this kind of stupid “advice.” I want to hire a maid, I really do, but I am not rich enough to afford one. I did the only thing I could: zipped right back out to Borders before they close for good and bought another book: “How To Get Rich.”

I scheduled my new maid to start next week.

(“Mentally On Vacation”)


  1. I think I giggled throughout this entire post! Yeah, I'd have more time and less paycheck if I had a maid. There really isn't time for laundry anyway. I just buy new socks and underwear for everybody.

  2. Taylor, I really like the part about the new socks and underwear. Maybe the author covers that in Chapter 10? I'll let you know when I finish...

  3. maybe you can just give up on socks and underwear? i think she was on to something in chapter three - a hundred years ago people didn't wear underwear, they just had loincloths. and since they were leather and dry cleaning hadn't been invented yet, there was no laundry to wash.

    problem solved! now i'm off to get a second job as a maid so i can afford to hire a maid so that i don't have to cook dinners anymore.

  4. Yes, Megan, I agree with everything you said... I am just wondering if I do decide to return this kooky book to Borders (even thought the receipt has "final sale" stamped in bright red letters-- I'm sure the maanger would make an exception in my case), how do I get back the two hours I spent reading the book?! I want my time back!

  5. and also, Megan, thanks a million for the shout-out on your blog! why are you not my agent?!?
    MOV :)

  6. Let me guess, the author doesn't have children either.

    Would love to stay and chat, need to change another diaper...

  7. Hi Mearow,
    The amazing thing is: the author is a mother of two! Which is why I thought she would give me a slice of normal pie... but no. She must either live in the biggest piggy pen imaginable, or have a full-time maid.
    I spent 45 minutes doing dishes this morning, and I announced to The Husband that this was a complete waste of my time. He agreed and said I should've been taking out the trash and cleaning the bathroom instead. Supportive.

  8. Wow, okay, she is a mom. Okay, well, there blows my theory out of the water. Maybe her kids are perfect, then. Potty-trained at 1. Never dumped the entire of closet of board games out on the floor. Never dropped a candy wrapper. Never dirtied a dish, a shirt or a boot. Grasping at straws, here, grasping at straws...

    Off to change another diaper. And wash the mud off the boots. And put the dandelion bouquet in water before they all shrivel up...


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