Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I’m a hot mess, you guys. These feelings have been brewing for a while - but I didn't know quite how to articulate them...

I am out of the blogging loop – I have been skimpily blogging here and have hardly had time to read any blogs. It makes me so sad, because I adore the blogging community that I’ve been a part of for nearly two years and all you lovely gems who take the time to read and share your lives with others. Blogging is my outlet and a source of happiness for me, and being separated from it is breaking my heart.

Speaking of sources of happiness, I’m treading water in my Etsy shop – working on a mostly custom order basis without time to create new goodies or update my shop. I’m delighted to even have the opportunity to do that, but I’d love to have more time to put my ideas and dreams into action.

I’m unable to keep my head above water when it comes to cleaning our house and exercising. I’ve run ONCE since getting back from our trip out west. My house is constantly a complete mess and it makes me want to cry when I look around see just how destroyed it is. But I come home at the end of the day with hardly enough energy to get myself some food – let alone put away things or go for a run. My library books are overdue, my laundry isn’t put away, and my vegetables rotting in the fridge because I don’t have time to read, clean, or cook.

I’ve been gone 12 hours a day much of this week and last – which means I come home and have a few hours before I need to go to bed so I can wake up at 6am and start it all over again. I want to work hard and embrace this new role, but it’s so hard when I have little time to do the things I love – go on walks with Mike, sew, take design classes, run, and make my house tidy.

It’s difficult to find the solution to that classic conundrum of life-work balance. I don’t want a job that is my life. I want a life that is filled with things I enjoy doing. I want to have time to continue pursuing my graphic design certificate. I want to be able to read. I want to be able to meditate, find peace, create meals, and spend time being.

I hate to be whiny and negative, but I need to know how you do it, ladies. How do you have the time to get it all done, take care of yourself, have a clean house, and work hard at your job? When I think about having a baby while doing all of this and I pretty much dissolve into tears over the fact that I will apparently never be able to have children because I can’t even take care of myself. (No, I’m not melodramatic, thankyouverymuch.)

Seriously, I’m going to need some input: How do you do it all?

Give me a book to read, tell me your secret, commiserate, anything! Help.


  1. You answered your own question: work fewer hours, don't work so far away from home (you think your commute will get any better in the winter?) and be more efficient with the time you do have.

    In other words, finish out the year, then find a new job.

  2. I've been exactly where you are and completely burned out after about seven months. I truly don't understand how people can commute like that on a regular basis for years on end--it nearly killed me! I don't know what the answer is, but I hope that you find the right path for you and get back to a happy place.

  3. ashley... i know you said "girls" but i thought i would throw in my two cents. solutions i suggest or have used in the past are below:

    1) blog at work. don't feel guilty doing personal stuff on the clock, think of it as a reward for being incredibly efficient at your job
    2) read blogs at work
    3) now that you have an income, pay someone to clean your house
    4) now that you have an income, eat out a couple of times a week
    5) set two hours aside on the weekend to do laundry etc., or take it to dry cleaning
    6) make mike stay home and do the housework
    7) don't think of "work" as "work". think of it as your new life.
    8) workout at 5:30 every morning
    9) sleep 6 hours MAX a night during the week - catch up on the weekends

    I spent a lot of years of my life working 70-90 hour weeks. It does suck, just make sure that it isn't your final end-state and you are using the suck to move up to something better. If that's not the case. quit.

  4. Hi Love,

    Here is a little cliff note version of my M-F:

    I wake up at 530am and get home at around 10pm, sometimes after midnight (Thurs.). I seriously have to schedule EVERYTHING. I also multi-task constantly (I will have conversations with beau WHILE cooking or talk to a sister while folding laundry or pack my lunch while rinsing with mouthwash). Each day of my week is designated to a house chore.

    Monday - laundry
    Tuesday - bedroom
    Wednesday - bathroom
    Thursday - kitchen

    I will do about anywhere between 30-60 min of each.

    I wake up that early to work out or will have dance late in the evenings and when I cook, I cook in advanced. I will have dinner and lunch for at least the next 2 days.

    During the week, I am a slave to this "Type A" schedule I have planned but on the weekends I will schedule "whatever time"...this is to do whatever the heck I want.

    People think I'm crazy...maybe I am but as a lot of people are "stingy" with money...I'm "stingy" with my time and have to take advantage of every moment.

    *disclaimer: i need a full day of rest every 2-3 weeks living this way.

  5. I've been where you are, too. I had to let some things go. It sucks lots.

    Here's my tip - have one place in your house that is always clean and put away. Ours is the kitchen area because it stresses my husband out if its a mess. So, I don't leave things out there, and I feel a bit more peaceful there.

    I say don't blog at work, you might get fired! Its really tempting to do on your conference hour,though.

    Also, beginning of the school year is wild and busy, it will REALLY settle down by the end of first quarter... :o)

  6. I am totally there right now. The other morning I had a complete meltdown that was triggered by something as simple as my oatmeal overflowing in the microwave. Because I had to cook it in the microwave because of course the pot was dirty and I was going to have to do a full sink of dishes in order to wash that glass microwave tray thing but I was already in work clothes and the dishwasher needed to be emptied before I could wash the dishes and I always make a huge mess whenever I do dishes and of course I was going to mess up my clothes and I was going to be late for work and I had no breakfast and and and...

    Yeah, total meltdown. But I managed to do a sink full of dishes before going to work!

    Instead of taking over your comments, I'll just send you an email with the plan of attack my boyfriend and I came up with to combat this sinking, in over my head feeling I've been having lately. Hopefully it will help!

  7. I agree that letting some things go is important. I used to be NUTS about the cleanliness of our house. Now, our floor hasn't been washed in months but we've been hiking, canoeing and bike riding. I'm fine with that.

    I think working outside the home is empowering, embrace it. Leave work at work. Come home with a fresh mind. Take baby steps. Enjoy your husband and your life. Make a goal to sew or read once a week and work from there.

    I think it's perspective, that's all.

  8. It helps me to have a day a week that I skip the commute and work at home. I actually get more done since I can walk from the bedroom to my office chair, go straight from blackberry to laptop, never quite get around to choosing an "outfit" to wear, start laundry while making lunch... it all flows together nicely on those work-from-home days. Saving the two hours in traffic also lets me stay in flow a bit better (ref Flow by Csikszentmihalyi)

    Business Week's been crowing about a book called Why Work Sucks and how to fix it which suggests that the focus of the enterprise should be on results, not on how many hours people are in the office. duh. and a lot of workplaces know this, offer flex time, particularly for their most valuable employee.

    but if you're not working for someone like that, it's kind of irrelevant.

    There's also David Allen's Getting Things Done... he's the guru of personal and professional productivity, the 21st century franklin covey.

    I'll be interested to know if any of that helps. But honestly, girl, you don't need another book on your list. Browse them in the bookstore, if they're not what you need, walk away.

    And consider this great advice I got from a friend last night. She admonished my list of "should"s and suggested a mindfulness technique: just before you're about to transition to the next activity, sit still for a moment. Say "I'm going to work and it's going to be a great day." or "I'm about to get in the car for a gorgeous drive... I'm so lucky to live in the Bay Area (or wherever) and if there's traffic, well, it's just an excuse to look out the window." or whatever. And smile.

    Affirmations help your neurotransmitters get happy. Seriously, this advice is from a cognitive neuroscientist. So stop, say something nice, encourage yourself to move forward, and don't forget to smile.


  9. good advice from other posters...not sure about limiting yourself to 6 hours of sleep max...maybe not the healthiest thing to do, but even I admit I have considered cutting back on sleep because I, too, am SO. DARN. CRAZY. BUSY. I spend around 50 hours a week at work (including commute time) plus another 15-20 devoted to just class and studying. So things are kind of insane and I definitely also miss being able to do lots of things I enjoy. I have to schedule EVERY single thing in order to get anything done and feel sane. It's very Type A, which I am SOOO not, but it allows me to relish in my Type B-self on the weekends, which helps. I try to cook one huge dish a week on Monday nights. This week it was an enormous tamale pie that will last us through the week. May be kind of lame to eat the same thing every day, but it helps when you cook a heaping pot of an especially comforting dish. We supplement with other quick and easy food like eggs and toast. I miss the hard-core cooking I used to do, but I know I have to give something up while I devote this time in my life to pursuing a new career.

    Cleaning is also tough. We actually just made a deal that if I keep the kitchen clean (he hates dishes), my husband will do all the laundry (I hate laundry). I have also seriously considered hiring outside help, even though it would cost $$, it would lift a huge weight off my shoulders to be able to come home to a clean house.

    I've found that I can sneak in pleasurable activities here and there throughout my day: ex, listening to books in the car, keeping a NY Times crossword on my desk and filling a couple boxes while I wait for huge files to load, etc. Those tiny pockets of time add up and also help keep me sane.

    I think the most important thing is just finding a routine, especially if flexibility with your job is out of the question. Schedule everything, use Google Calendar, and read the blog Zen Habits if you don't already ( I can't tell you how helpful that blog has been for me!


  11. First of all, rest assured that you are NOT the only one who struggles with this from time to time and runs into these questions. I'm kind of in the middle of a personal thing myself, trying to balance it all. Trying to figure out what roles and how much time, etc., all of these 'parts' of my life need to have dedicated to them.

    Take a step back and make lists? I don't know... I do a lot of my best thinking with a whiteboard and some dry-erase markers. Or with a drawing pad and some Crayolas.

    Just scrawling things out - outlines, lists, free-thinking, random words that just simply make you HAPPY - this all kind of helps.

    I just picked up a book though, so since I haven't read it yet, I can't recommend it, but it seems to try to teach us how to do all this. It's called "Less" and is simply about learning to DO less to accomplish MORE.

    The author is Marc Lesser (ironic, no?), so if you pick it up, let me know and we can kind of go at it all Book Club Style together :)

  12. i wish i could give you some precious little nugget of information that would solve everything, but unfortunately i have been feeling about the same as you lately. (i.e. "how the F do people with children even manage to stay sane?!)

    there seems to be a lot of good ideas by other commenters so far.

    the only thing i could suggest is what i've had to do myself, which is not to get too hung up on doing the things i hate but *need* to be done (like cleaning, etc) and *take* time for doing the things i actually enjoy (blogging, reading, creating, etc). this does mean that i will often walk away from scrubbing the bathtub for perhaps a bit too much longer than i should but, as long as i don't have any company coming, it means that i can have a few extra moments in my life to do the things that make me happy (and if company does show up, i'll just close the shower curtain :)

  13. I am in a similar situation to you. I try and look on the bright side that I have a home, a hubby I love and a job to pay the bills. Here are some things we've started that have helped out.

    1) Cook a few big meals on the weekend and break them up into lunches/dinners for the rest of the week so you don't have to cook when you get home. We don't get home from work until 8PM most nights and having to be out of the house by 7:00am to get to work on time doesn't leave much time for cooking.
    2) We have a routine in the morning -- Whoever gets out of bed first and takes the first shower walks the dog and makes sure we don't forget our lunches for work (maybe since you don't have a dog that person can make sure the dishes are done). Whoever gets out of bed second makes the bed and cleans up any clothes on the floor/makes sure the towels are hung up after showers.
    3) We each spend 10 minutes a day when we get home doing quick chores. Picking up random papers around the house, making sure the sinks are clean, putting away laundry, etc.

    Good luck! Let us know what you do!

  14. Honestly, I think this is something everyone goes through at some point in their lives, myself included. I used to get up at 5 a.m., take a 90 minute train ride to work, work, take another train home at 5 p.m., go to the gym, get home around 7:30 p.m., eat, sleep, repeat. I think experiencing something like what you're going through really teaches you what you want and what you don't want. For instance, I want eight hours of sleep a night because otherwise I'm bitchy and unhappy. I want to be able to go out during the evening without constantly watching the clock so I can mentally determine how much sleep I'm NOT going to get. I want a commute that is less than an hour one way (which proves difficult in Chicagoland).

    So I waited things out. I interviewed closer to home and finally found a job I love 9 miles from my house.

    My point is, consider this a learning experience. Get everything you can out of it, learn about yourself and learn about what you're doing. While you're doing all that, figure out the next step and move forward, hopefull to something that better suits your ideal lifestyle.

    P.S. I agree with Scott. If you can, blog and read blogs at work.

  15. Oh honey. I'm so sorry to hear that you're feeling this way, but can obviously relate like crazy.

    Here's the thing: no one does it all. I certainly don't. I tend to over-focus on one thing at a time, throw my whole EVERYTHING into it, and neglect everything else. Balance? it's my biggest dream and the thing that seems to allude me the most. I think that all you can do, all any of us can do, is the best we can at any given time. If you're working a job that's taking up such an inordinate amount of time like that (like how camp was for me), you HAVE to let other things go. Sit down tonight, take a deep breath, re-prioritize, and be honest with yourself about your limitations and what you CAN accomplish.

    Everything else can wait.

    Big hugs.

  16. Oh, Honey! I totally know how you feel. Recently I've been thinking a lot about work and workiness and how crazy it can sometimes be. For me, I know in my heart that I'll always (knock on wood!) have a full-time job that might not be my "creative passion." And, sometimes, work just gets crazy. Usually, these times pass, as I think this will for you.

    In the meantime, all you can do is your best. No one is asking any more of you than that, except possibly yourself. Some tips? Eat out, or cook a huge casserole on the weekend that you can nom on all week. Spend Saturday morning just cleaning, but force yourself to stop before noon so that you can enjoy the afternoon/evening. Ask for help or company from loved ones when running errands so you can get that good human contact. Wake up super early and work out - or don't! Really, for me, working out is always the first thing to go, and I'm okay with that, for a while. But try to be active on weekends!

    For me, Sunday is 100% my day for me, to do things that will make me feel good, no matter how busy I am. Sometimes this means doing laundry because I like the way laundry smells or washing the kitchen floor because I truly feel relieved when it's clean or getting work done so that the following week will be easier. And, other times it means sleeping in, watching a movie, going to the farmer's market, taking a nap, and then having a dinner date with a loved one.

    This is work, and work is a priority, but you have to know: YOU must be your own FIRST priority. So take care of yourself, relax and try to have fun!

  17. The simple answer to how do you do it all is: I DON'T.

  18. I also work at a school (I teach middle school) and the beginning of the year is the worst! It is time consuming and stressful for all staff. Things definitely calm down though, so I kind of take it with a grain of salt that life will be difficult for a few weeks and then it goes back to normal :)

  19. I work 13 hours a day but I only do it 3 to 4 days a week. On the days that I work I try to do just one thing before and after work. It makes me feel like I have accomplished something even it is just putting away the laundry or reading 5 blogs.

    On my days off I only do things I truly want to do. Its hard but can be done. Stick in there!

  20. well, I don't think I have many great suggestions for you to help you out, but I can certainly commiserate! And if I could, I'd give you a big hug and probably bake you cookies. :)

    Balance is something I am still searching for-- especially now that I've begun homeschooling too. Between that, all the other kid stuff, a baby, giving piano lessons, trying to keep the house clean, blogging, finding time for projects (fun or otherwise), and being a good wife to my husband when he comes home after a long day of work... well, let's just say that I am frequently overwhelmed and stressed because I feel like I am failing at SOMETHING (right now, it's definitely housekeeping. DEFINITELY.)

    But, then I tell myself that I am doing my best and working hard. And my kids are fed and bathed and happy. And my husband still loves me. (hehe) I'm learning that it's about priorities. Obviously, you need to be doing your job, but beyond that, what is most important to you? Do THAT when you come home at the end of the day and try not to worry about the rest of it. You'll be happier and less stressed. And, in the long run, it will all even out in one way or another. This is simply a season of life you're in right now-- embrace it and make the most of it. It won't ALWAYS be this way.

    Ok, well, that sounded preachy... and I didn't mean it that way. but those are the things that I have realized and that help me to keep my sanity and joy.
    you're a wonderful person, Ashley, so full of joy and life, and I know you'll find a balance that works for you.
    I'll be praying for you :)

  21. Last week while attempting to plan a years worth of grade 4 math, I found myself thinking only of blog posts and bloggers and wondering what the hell everyone was doing because I have been out of the loop too! (Seriously, we could be twins right now- except I'm too scared to get my nose pierced. And I live in Canada. And I'm really short. Okay, maybe we aren't twins but we have this whole 'how is everyone doing it?!' question in common.

    I think the trick is to remember that no one really does it all. I have a handful of blogs that I MUST read when they update and I email bloggers to try and keep up with their lives when I know I don't have time to read through my scary google reader.

    Also, vodka helps.

    (But seriously? The suggestions people left here are awesome. I want a maid now. And I want to read Doni's book. And kiss Nicole. But I always want to kiss that lovely girl!)

  22. i feel like i don't do it all. like im constantly trying to play catch up it's not a fun feeling.

    if you find a cure, TELL ME

  23. I wish I could offer you some sound advice but...I got nothing.

    I'm struggling with my own (albeit minor) things but I completely understand your frustrations.

    I'm just going to offer you LOTS&LOTS of support and encouragement and allow yourself some "me time."

  24. Nobody really does it all. You should check out today's post on my blog--25 women sent in pictures of their houses in their actual state...not all cleaned up for compnay. Made me feel a whole lot more normal!
    The link is if you're interested!

  25. This was me for the past YEAR of my life. I know how you feel.

    Since going part-time with my job and trying to freelance on the side, I haven't been happier. I'm poorer, yes, and will have to deal with that probably sooner than later. But just having this quick opportunity to breathe has given me a new outlook on life. You have to do what makes you the best version of YOU, even if it's "failing" at some things to make you soar at others. It's a matter of quitting, a word that sounds awful, but is actually glorious.

    Oh yes, and read Zen Habits.

    We are rooting for you!

  26. Oops, just re-reading what I wrote. "I haven't been happier" should be "I've never been happier." I guess those two phrases don't really mean the same thing!

  27. Hi Ashley,

    The truth is, you can't do it all. Not without burning out. My job requires long hours too, and let me tell you: you just have to cut corners. I try to do a little upkeeping every day (spend 5 minutes picking up before you leave for work in the morning) then I do a thorough cleaning less often than I should. I buy whatever saves me cooking time (I love pre-cut pre-washed veggies from Trader Joe's!) even if it comes at a premium price. I eat take-out more often than I should.

    But I make sure to schedule what is important to me first, than fit in the rest around it. Workout at 6am, yoga on tuesday and friday night, music practice on wednesday night. These things are important to me and I refuse to cut time on those. If I can't clean this week because I didn't have time, whatever. You just have to choose what is most important to you.

    I'd love to have a clean home and not piles of dirty laundry everywhere, I'd love to shop for bargains and save money, I'd love to have everything perfect. But I chose that my career is more meaningful to the world than my being a good housewife, and my husband understands that. He helps with the chores whenever he can, but we are both super busy and we know sometimes it just won't get done for a while. Just pick 2 or 3 things that you want to do, and let the rest fit in where it can.

    One website that i LOVE and it helped me so much to get motivated, stay focus, and to accomplish more: It is my bible! I go back to it every time I feel like I'm doing too much and can't do it all. You just have to SIMPLIFY your life :)

  28. If you can find a way to make it work then do it but don't let work take over. It might take a while to get into a rhythm that works since you are in a new job.

    I had 4 part time jobs about 3 years ago. I was a mad woman running around and frankly two of the jobs were completely taking advantage of me. I eventually had to cut two of them out, the two that were taking advantage of me, and then the third kinda ended on it's own 2 years later. So as it is now I have 1 part time job and I still struggle to get things done. Mostly because I have not recovered from the time I was all crazy. As a result I have struggled with depression and anxiety. My anxiety goes back and forth from not being able to leave the house even for work to not being able to not go to work even when I am sick as a dog.

    Make sure you find a balance or find a new job, don't keep doing it because you feel obligated or that you are failing because you couldn't cope, they will find someone else who will fit in and you will find something else that fits you better if that's what needs to be done.

  29. Don't forget you have a partner in crime. Mike and you can work at some of the things, and it will take the load off both of you.

    How long would it realistically take to clean your place? Not deep-clean, but pick-it-up-and-make-sure-it's-not-gross clean? With two of you working, even just 15 minutes when you get home, you'll make a huge dent. When the 15 minutes is up, relax. Move on to something else.

    I know you said you don't have the energy to exercise, but I found that exercising actually gave me energy. I never thought that was true...but it was for me.

    As others have said, I would be careful of doing the personal stuff at work. Employers rarely hesitate to let people go because of it, these days.

    When I was working crazy hours, I picked the big things and stuck to those, and the little things had to wait. Decide what those are, and focus on them, and you'll be fine.

    Talk to Mike and find out how both of you can attack some of these things as a team.

    Good luck!!

  30. Oh, I feel ya, Ashley. The job thing had me letting home maintenance and exercising fall by the wayside this past month. You can't do it all but you can prioritize.

    IMO getting your act together (so to speak) doesn't happen overnight. A day at a time, a task at a time. Joni Hilton, who wrote a great cooking secrets book that helped me a lot, also has a housekeeping secrets book that I'm dying to read.

    P.S. I disagree with the "blog at work/read blogs at work" suggestions. If you're at school, a lot of social networking may be blocked, and your activity may be monitored.

  31. So, you know how you said you cry when you think about how you'll never be able to have a baby because you have no time? Yeah, I cry because I realize that I'll never have a baby because I'll never get married because I'll never even MEET anyone because I'm working ALL THE TIME.

    Sadly, I have no tips for you. Only raw empathy. :(

  32. I wonder why it is that we all have a vision in our heads of how amazingly clean our friends/neighbors/co-workers houses are? Only recently have I realized that they are not, and we all are only human and there is only so much time in the day. It's hard - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a clean house. Top to bottom. But between work and kids and life we (I'm really lucky, my husband is TONS of help) we just can't keep up. It's not just the house - we haven't been to the gym in months, e-mails and real mail stack up, the list goes on and on... I think it's just life and after awhile you learn to deal. But that's not to say it doesn't drive me nuts!

    As far as your job commitment and your commute - I wonder if you have ever read "4 hour work week"by Tim Ferris. It was life changing for us. My husband was working full time as an art director in an ad agency and we were running a freelance design business on the side - scared stiff to make the jump and have him quit his job and focus on the business. The back of the book says don't read this book unless you want to quit your job. It's true. Within a few weeks he quit - fast forward two years later. Our business is doing really well and WE manage our own schedule :) What I'm trying to say is that you are super talented and it seems like you might want to consider taking the jump? It can work - we are living proof!

  33. I'm a teacher, and I totally understand how you feel---the other thing about working with kids is that there's an emotional exhaustion that happens.

    I schedule everything. EVERYTHING. And, I make "me time" a priority. Job can't be everything. I literally set a time when I'm done with work for the day/night/week. You have to, or else you'll be just your job. It takes practice, but cooking, running, time with your husband, etc. is just as important as your work. Promise. Plus, take it from me---you burn out so quickly if you don't reserve some energy.

  34. Um. I hired a maid. She comes every other Tuesday.

  35. I can certainly commiserate with you. I ran a very successful blog about public relations and social media, and once I took on a full time job, I let it fall apart. I also stopped exercising and entered a full-on funk.

    Eventually, I realized I had to break through and do what made me happy. I closed down my other blog and decided to focus my professional efforts via Twitter. I launched another, more personal blog that I promised myself would be for me. I wouldn't have an editorial calendar and I'd just write when I wanted to.

    Then, I realized that I had to keep exercising or I'd go insane. I've fallen back in love with running, but maybe you need to find another outlet - kickboxing or Zumba or biking.

    As for work, I decided that I could no longer be a workaholic. It wasn't healthy and it was affecting my relationships. I got to work 15 minutes early before anyone else was in the office, and that minor change has made it so that I can leave on-time. I know that won't help in your situation, but maybe there's a small adjustment you can make at work that will make it more enjoyable.

    Good luck! You'll break through the funk soon.

  36. Will your job require fewer hours of you once you get settled in? I thought you said your commute was around an hour, so that would mean you're still working 10-hr days? Anyway, people shouldn't be spending 12 hours per day on work. Even if it's something you love, that isn't the way to happiness. You have to have time for friends, family, hobbies, etc.

    If your work isn't going to slow down any time soon and you can't find ways to blog, read, or exercise during your workday (lunch break?) here's my advice:

    Reevaluate what you consider as "exercise." This was tough for me because I always thought I needed to run to exercise. Not true! You can work up a sweat for a couple of hours by cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, and running a few errands.

    Maximize your time with meal preparation. When you do cook, make enough for at least a day's worth of leftovers. There's also, where you can get a whole bunch of recipes that are meant to be frozen, so you can take a few hours one day a week and chop everything up and be set for dinner for the week.

    Find someone to carpool with so you can spend that time talking with someone (kinda social), reading a book, planning your day, or whatever can be done during that commute every other day or so.

    Do things to prevent the house from getting dirty whenever possible. Tidy up a little bit each day. In other words, don't let the clutter or the dirt build up. Take your shoes off in the house.

    I do not recommend functioning on less sleep or simply hiring out the work that needs to be done. You'll get more out of your days, but I think you'll feel less satisfied by it.

    At some point, when you're more established in your job, you could start negotiating for a shortened work day (especially if you can do anything work-related from home), but ultimately if you continue having to devote so much time to work, you're going to want to quit and find something else.

  37. I completely and totally don't do it all. I had to start working with a personal trainer to keep me exercising (I go once a week and then he e-mails me to make sure I'm working out), because for me if I'm not exercising everything else falls apart. But aside from exercise and work, I really don't have time for much else now. I think you need to allow yourself to take shortcuts when you need to. Commit to doing the best you can, not trying to keep up the way your life was before.

  38. Oh honey. I am so sorry. I don't do it. I don't understand how those who do do it can. I only work three full days a week- and I still feel like I am a little behind. It will get better as I adjust- and I am sure you will too. But maybe you can't expect to have the same lifestyle you did when you were not working 12 hour days. I don't know. maybe it is- I don't want to tell you it is impossible. Good luck. I hope that you can figure out what you need and what will bring you the most happiness.

  39. Love the amazing suggestions you have here from everyone! Mine are as follows:

    - Know that if you're working 12 hour days, you're in an 'emergency measures mode' and won't be able to keep up. You're not supposed to be able to keep up when you're working that much. This weekend, do the things on your list to get things in hand: clean the fridge, take the cooks back, clean the house, take the laundry to a wash/fold laundrymat while you're doing all this. When you are working this much, I agree with Scott- have a cleaner come once a week to keep things manageable.

    Beyond that these would be my recommendations:

    - Wake up a 1/2 hour earlier to do yoga or read or flip through blogs while drinking coffee or to cuddle with your husband so you have set together time. Schedule relationship time so you don't lose that connecting time.

    - Have a list of the things that need to be done around the house, display publicly and divide between you and Mike. Mister and I have a chalkboard & check items off with different coloured chalk- but don't take it all on, do one item a night and then give yourself free time.

    - Export your google reader as is so you can save it for when you have time, then gut it. Reduce down to only what you find inspiring & compelling. Refuse to feel guilty about not following the others.

    -Blog at work, but don't post from work if you're worried about confidentiality. E-mail yourself drafts or work in google documents so you aren't starting from scratch when you want to write.

    - Streamline anything you can. When I was working full time I portioned out my breakfast cereal in tupperware & pre-thawed & portioned (also in tupperware) the fruit I topped it with. Everything was set aside so that in the morning breakfast was two moves. Even that helped.

    - Meal plan the heck out of your week. Nothing makes me feel less happy than coming home, tired & hungry and having the "what do you want?" "I don't know, what do we have?" conversation. Meal plan, or plan to go out every night. Having food be easy can make you feel immeasurably better.

    - Acknowledge that the time commitment of your Etsy store is an additional part time job. Keep strict records and figure out how much money per hour you're paying yourself to put all this stuff together, and examine if it's manageable & fun for you. Maybe a hiatus on making things for other people is in order- even if it's just on week a month 'off' so you can make something you want or sleep. Maybe you can move to a one week off, one week custom orders, one week store stocking schedule, or something like that?

    - Know what makes you tick. For me it's long chunks of time doing leisure activities, offline. So on the weekends I'll turn off my computer and read for a morning. If you like to get a lot done, make a list of little tasks, get them done before noon on Saturday and then doze while watching movies in the afternoon. Figure out what packs the biggest relaxation punch for you and commit.

    Feel better lady- and just keep trying new tactics. Don't give up! Make nots on what helps and what's neutral, and check out the tons and tons of lifehacking blogs online. They can have a lot of useful info <3

  40. that should read take back the books, not cooks lol

  41. it just takes getting into a routine....just like you're in amazement at how others can do it, you too will become an accomplished wonderwoman :) hang in there....commutes do suck though, i know

  42. Another perspective on the Zen Habits book ... "save your time and money. If you want a book on living, time management, and life skills that has some research and years of work to back it up, try Neil Fiore's _The Now Habit_. If you'd rather keep the amateur's perspective, but want something that's practical and filled with less intuitive but still surprisingly useful stuff, try Mark Forster's _Do It Tomorrow_. Sadly, Leo Babauta's _Power of Less_ is one that libraries were made for, where you can do what I did: read it quickly, shake your head at the vapid waste of ink and paper, and then return it, glad to have saved your money for more worthwhile things."

  43. I don't have it all figured out and our weeks sound very similar right now.

  44. oh man, i have no advice (esp since if i gave it i would feel like SUCH a hypocrite since i'm in the same boat) but i will let you are not alone honeypie!

  45. First off, I would like to say "Thank you" for writing this post. I know I am not the only one out there, and through reading your comments, I was able to gain many amazing ideas.

    As for what works for me:

    **Find ways to make the mess more acceptable**
    I hang my laundry to dry on a rack in a room beside my bedroom. Then I just peruse said rack for my clothes instead of my actual closet. As for socks and undies and such, they are just in a basket in the same room. The "mess" is easily blocked out by closing the door if it becomes too much at any point, and I only put my laundry away when I have time to do so.

    **Make meal time easier**
    I buy the healthiest TV dinners I can find, and similar quick-and-dirty meal ideas. My all-time favorite: pre-sliced cheese, pre-sliced pizza meat, pizza sauce in a squirtable container & a pita.

    **Find ways to simplify**

    **Make cleaning up easy**
    I have cleaning supplies in every bathroom, my linen closet and my pantry. I spray my showers down with a cleaner as I give myself a moment to drip dry. If the sink or counter looks dirty when I'm brushing my teeth, I wipe it down. If my dog throws up, the paper towel is right there. I'm not saying my house is clean (far from it), but when the mess becomes too much I can still fit in a quick clean without spending too much time.

    **Treat yourself**
    Always worrying about what isn't getting done only serves to make the situation worse. So what if the dishes sit there for an extra 10 minutes while you read a few blogs? If it makes you feel better inside, it's worth it. As for your Etsy shop, what about doing one less custom order a week and one more new item?

    I wish you all the best in finding the solution that works for you!! Just remember, you are definitely NOT alone!

  46. I know I'm a little late to the party, but I know exactly how you feel. A long commute just sucks. I used to drive an hour+ to work each day, and it sucked up every moment of my free time. It might be worth looking into a job closer to home.

    I have to say that I disagree with Scott. Blogging at work and reading blogs at work is often crossing a line. I know that, at my school, I can't even access most blogs, and there's a reason for that. If you are on a break, it's one thing, but be careful.

    My recommendation is to not bring work home. I don't know if you do, but if you don't, don't start. For me, it's a hard thing to do as a teacher, but my home time is for me, not for work.

  47. Wow.

    I'm Ashley, my husband is Mike.
    And I could have written this post.

    I don't want work to be life either, but unfortunately with my long commute, that's the way it is shaping up.

    I wish there was more time for the things we ENJOY.


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