The people who look like they have everything they want are actually the people who are most clear on what they are willing to give up. Do you ever feel sad that you have never visited the moon? Probably not. Because you just accept that you will not be doing that in your lifetime. We inadvertently start to think of other, less far-out things this way in an effort to make ourselves feel like we are living our best life. 

For example, you can put trips to Thailand in the same category as trips to the moon and then you stop feeling disappointed that you will never get to Thailand.

You can feel like you have time for everything when you clearly define what everything is.

1. Keep a list of big things you give up to encourage yourself to do it more.

Once you realize you have to give up almost everything to get what matters most then life becomes maybe manageable. The trick is to experiment constantly with giving something up, and trying to make everything else work. Then give up something else and try again. You’ll be amazed at what you will try to give up:  many things you thought were non-negotiable. Like, having friends, reading books, or even living in a major city.

I have pretty much given up all those things. And in fact, I’ve given up more (which ironically creates an illusion that I’ve given up very little.) I try to celebrate each time I give something up, because then I know I’m a little closer to meeting my goals.

2. Remember the big things you get come with the big things you give up.

I dated so many men who saw a wife as a support system for their career. The new trophy wife is someone who is brilliant and accomplished and gives up a big chunk of her career for the guy. (Watch: Amal Alamuddin is about to do this for George Clooney. She didn’t invite Anna Wintour to her wedding to further her legal career.)

My husband is someone who worked really really hard his whole life and is a millionaire, but it’s in land. So I got a farm and a house, but I still have to work for the cash we spend. I chose this, so I know it’s what I’m comfortable with. But I could only do it with a supportive spouse. And plenty of research supports that  people who are successful in their careers have a supportive spouse–like, in the home, actually doing stuff for the family.

The photo up top is why I can leave the house for a day and work. It’s a picture of the day I went to the library in town to have peace and quiet. (When you live on a farm, there is no coffee shop, no shared working space, no cushy hotel room for an escape.) While I was at the library, my husband took care of the kids, and their friends.

It was one of the last hot days of summer. The kids asked to swim in the pig mud and my husband said okay.

3. Blend work and life instead of balancing them.
Quick reality check: my husband is in close proximity, working on our farm all day, and he’s a very willing caregiver, but I still do the majority of childcare and household chores. And I am the statistical norm, according to Brigid Schulte, author of the book Overwhelmed, a compendium of recent data showing how men and women divide work at the office and at home.

For both men and women we already know the idea of work-life balance is a farceThere is no balance. Which means you need to make it all work together. The highest functioning people I know have a list that includes personal and work. For people who are high-level workaholics with a stay-at-home spouse, there’s only one or two tasks per month that are personal, but they are right there on the list (for the assistant) to do during the work day.

The people I know who work from home have a list that is A’s, B’s and C’s. Everything is ranked and some days it’s a task for home that’s on top and some days it’s a task for work. The to do list is for life, not for one part of life. It’s a nice way to feel integrated, as a person, but it’s also a good way to make time larger because you only have one list.

4. Think of time as either full focus or partial focus.
One of the smartest things I’ve done is think of tasks in terms of alone-time tasks and multitasking tasks. We are not good at doing stuff when we are not focused. But there’s a very finite amount of time you have when you can focus, compared to a large amount of time when you can have partial attention. So you naturally have more time to get mindless stuff done.

The obvious response to this is to delegate like crazy. Literally, like delegate stuff people would say you are crazy for delegating. Because that gets everything off your plate.

But you can’t delegate everything, so you have to start moving stuff that cannot be delegated into the “do it anywhere” bin. For example, people with kids hate using their alone time for exercise because they have so little , so they just try to squeeze it in.

Olympic hopeful Sasha Pachev started running with his kids so that he didn’t have to carve out alone time to do it. Now he runs in Crocs because it was so fast to get his five kids into running shoes if their running shoes were Crocs.

I was staying at the same hotel as a mom with a daughter practicing violin, next to a treadmill in the workout room so the mom could get in a run. At first I thought the mom was crazy, and then I thought she just an incredible problem solver, trying to make sure everyone gets what they need.

These parents came up with ways to move something that used to be in their alone-time list into their do-it-with-kids list. Every time I can shift something from my alone-time list I am so happy. Because the best way for me to make time for things that don’t get done is to make time to be alone.

5. Admit that you worry what other people think. It’s the first step to stopping.
There’s a disturbing peer pressure when it comes to productivity. Karen Ho writes in her book, Liquidated, that “on Wall Street, hard work is always overwork.” And I see that ethos creeping into my own entrepreneurial life. I track my hours with despondence, trying to figure out how to get anywhere near the 80-hour weeks I used to work before I moved to the farm.

I have to keep telling myself that I can be successful in my career without working insane hours. I think a lot of the pressure I put on myself is because I want to be taken seriously by the very people Karen Ho studies. James Surowiecki writes in the New Yorker, “Overwork has become a credential of prosperity.” Which explains why I feel like I look like a failure if I’m not working long hours even though he also writes that productivity of most knowledge workers is much harder to quantify than that of a workforce from the time of 9-5 time cards, which is really the foundation for our obsession with hours.

And another thing: I almost didn’t use these photos on the blog because I wasn’t there. I want you to think I spend a lot of time with my kids, but there’s a lot of stuff I miss. I know, you’ll say, “It’s okay. No one is there all the time for everything their kid does.” But you never see people posting photos of their kids with the caption: This is what they did while I was working.

The internet is full of people telling you how great their life is. Either they are doing great things at work. Or they are being the best parent in the world.  And some complete morons are saying they are great at both.

I am trying to figure out what it looks like to be the ideal nothing. And I’m trying to frame that in a way that makes me feel great about everything. After all, I’m the one who makes the choices. And I can pretty much choose anything, just not everything.

So I am great at time management, I think, because here’s another picture from that day I went to the library to work. I got home right in time to see everyone washing the pig mud off in the yard. Which was a lovely scene with none of the mess.

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50 replies
  1. Nur Costa
    Nur Costa says:

    That was beautiful Penelope.

    I am struggling with the opportunity cost of making decisions. I feel I am in a lot of pressure because I am 21 years old… and with hundred thousands of choices I can make to live my life. So I keep thinking “what if I am losing my time? what if I am making the wrong decisions?”

    I don’t know why I put so much pressure on myself. Maybe because I am an INFP? I honestly don’t understand Myers Briggs that much. It’s not very popular in Europe this study, and no one seems to care here about these personality types.

    Anyway, besides my little rant I wanted to tell you that you are increasingly writing more beautiful posts. You’re just getting more professional, emotional and honest in each post. No one could tell you’ve Aspergers if they’d start reading your most recent posts.

    My favorite paragraph was this one: “The internet is full of people telling you how great their life is. Either they are doing great things at work. Or they are being the best parent in the world. And some complete morons are saying they are great at both.”

    Take care Penelope

    • Karelys
      Karelys says:

      Start somewhere. Most of your interests will be linked somehow. Rarely people will be like my friend Ryan who wants to be a catholic priest or a mortician if that doesn’t work out. (He has cerebral palsy and is a sweet soul.)

      Start out with a timeline in mind always seeking to learn the most out of where you are and then plan for an exit to switch to a higher position or simply advance your goals as you go. Rarely do we have a concrete idea of what we want until were in the trenches.

      Not doing anything about sets you back more than doing something that later you realize needs an adjustment to get you where you want to be.

  2. Sheri
    Sheri says:

    Ah, thank you for this today, it helps me feel normal. I was raised to be a wife and a mother …nothing else. At 44 I am finally coming to grips with the fact that while I was raised to be those things what I am good at is the career I have carved for myself with very little education and a willingness to speak the truth. The cultural demands of my world eek in occasionally and make me feel like I am missing something but then Penelope shows up on my feed and reminds me how normal my life is. Thank you!

    • Riccardo
      Riccardo says:

      This is the first time ive read an entire article and yes the first time im commenting on something. That something happens to be a artricle or post (whatever you call it) that answered many of my weird and wonderful questions and I didnt even have to browse through the entire internet for answers or sit infront of You tube watching motivational vids for 5 hours ,,, your straight forward get your ass in the game has plain and simply …… helped me ….. baie dankie , all the way from sunny South Africa

  3. Novelist
    Novelist says:

    I love this post because I always hate how nobody talks about what they give up. I often discourage people from being entrepreneurs, because apart from a lucky few who are successful straight away, most people give up a lot.

    Here’s what I gave up trying to start a business (which ended well, knock wood):
    1. Friends. Social life was the first to go.
    2. Entertainment
    3. Mental health: I wasn’t quite depressed, but I was getting there, and racked with insecurities.
    4. Put off having kids: another scary one, especially when you’re surrounded by women having kids quite young
    5. Holidays

    What most people don’t understand about demanding+risky careers is that for a number of years, not only do you have no money, but you also have no time. (Another reason why I love the honesty of Penelope’s blog – nobody else will admit this!)

    • Beverley
      Beverley says:

      Yep…. and then we get up and do it again. This was a really thought provoking post and reminds me to work out my priorities and remember again and again that something has to give!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I really like that you wrote a list of things you gave up. I wish everyone would post their list. I think it’s a great reality check for everyone in the middle of making plans to meet big goals.


  4. Lucy Chen
    Lucy Chen says:

    I didn’t know it before I read your article, but I have been moving things to the do-it-with-kids list, or do-it-when-kids-are-home list, so I can free more time for my one task that must be done alone – painting.

    It is so true about giving up on things. We feel so stressed when we expect to have this or that and can’t manage to get it.

  5. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    I gave up a big something last year (my career) to focus on being home with our kids, now 3 1/2 and 1. It’s a decision I’ve been struggling to adjust to for over a year now. I was the ambitious one in our household, and the majority breadwinner, but my husband didn’t see himself as a stay-at-home-dad (and truthfully neither did I). I don’t really miss the money, but my god I miss the work and the intellectual stimulation and the being in charge of complex projects that actually came together (I’m a total INTJ).

    Its encouraging to hear that you have cobbled together a life for yourself that fits into what you and your family need, Penelope.

    It gives me hope that I might be able to do the same some day.

  6. Maria
    Maria says:

    I’m a little ahead of many of you, my baby is raised and I almost qualify for the “Zoomer” magazine (Yikes! Although the singer Bryan Adams just made the cover and made it sound cool) with a looming 50 coming in 1.5 years. I should have my act together. But like ocean waves rising and falling with the economy, I have failed, picked myself up and tried again, failed, tried again, failed, tried again. I guess, failure is relative. It was more a matter of my paycheck bouncing, my websites getting hacked, being a victim of crime, losing income and jobs for staying home with a sick child as a single parent, etc…

    I did have one success… I forwarded your article to my 26 year old married, educated, yuppy daughter who is struggling with juggling all the balls of home, chores, work, wanting to play and have quality life. She is wondering how she can manage having kids staying at home vs the reality of cost of living and paying bills and the looming childcare costs ($60,000 before the child reaches kindergarten). So they are putting off having kids until they resolve their issues.

    But her biggest fear above all else, is ending up like me. Bohemian, entrepreneurial, Rving B-R-O-K-E mom.

    Because that’s where I’m at today. After a couple of surgeries, I minimized my living expenses, made sacrifices and when nothing works and no income is coming in, I can still eek out a survival plan. It’s humiliating. I chose the pursuit of passionate projects over profit and lately it hasn’t worked out like I had wanted.

    Today I had to borrow gas money.

    The epiphany was how I self sabotage by being the BEST #1 saleswoman when I sell for others, but for my own ventures, I spiral into an anxiety driven depression and isolate myself into my research, writing, graphic arts my nails, anything but the pursuit of generating income.

    Without the trappings of success. Without an office in a cool address, without coworkers to compete with, without the secretary, support staff, all the trappings of success, sitting here at McDonalds or at the library or mall to get the plug-in and wifi or sitting in a rent controlled apartment bedroom with an unmade bed, it’s hard to feel the confidence and authenticity of a company CEO.

    So I ran away inwardly and pursued the arts. And when that couldn’t support me, feeling like a total failure, giving up too late in the game yet holding on by my fingernails, I went on job interviews after miserable job interviews answering the same stupid questions knowing full well that employment is subjective. It’s a popularity contest and the best is not hired if the manager is insecure that you might replace her someday. Sometimes, it’s just a game companies play only to fill the position from within or with someone they know already and like, or my personal favorite, the local sociopath charmed and lied their way into the job. I am TERRIBLE at job interview. I choose to be authentic which is often an interview killer.

    This morning I sat next to a female retired lawyer who did the same thing for 40 years and was really good at it. So my eclectic “projects” seemed schizophrenic to her. Yet, creating a magazine, a radio station and a photography website showcased my writing skills, my photography skills, my web design skills, my graphic arts skills.

    And here, at McDonalds, having borrowed gas money, after having ingested my $1.59 McDouble and free coffee (3rd today), I just finished negotiating with a children’s birthday party company offering to share 15% of my hourly wage of $50/hr for photo sessions as their exclusive photographer.

    This was after being invited to write articles for a survival magazine who pay for articles. Then figuring I would go ahead and sign up for to bid on some writing jobs.

    And I’ve been negotiating (after a nightmare where I was happy being a housewife a few nights ago…) to be a “Domestic Engineer” for a successful single dad living with kids and a big house in exchange for food and board (might as well put my property management experience to good use). A housewife without the sex LOL… But since we have common business backgrounds, I was also negotiating possibly working on his business ventures for income (from the room and board I had just negotiated) . I could have worked on the writing, but the photo shoot option I would not be able to do as it would be too far.

    The deal breaker? He wanted me to drive out there for an interview and my RV needed repairs and gas money before I can drive the 100 miles round trip $100 in gas with no guarantees. So I put it off, honestly explaining my plight and wishing him well if he found someone else (he had 2900 people looking at his ad in just a few days).

    Options, too many options, turning left when turning right would have been the better option. The photo shoots may or may not work out. They may or may not be profitable. The Domestic Engineer position may have better potential for other business ventures and income as a personal business assistant, web designer, etc..

    No risk, no reward…

    I’ve learned to delegate what I fear or hate doing and just do the minimum (thus outsourcing sales or partnering with another company).

    However, after experiencing moments of pure bliss during a photo shoot or after having written something that I love (not caring what others thought of it) I might as well do what makes me happy and hope for the best.

    So I pray, I meditate, and I take it one day at a time.

    What else have I got to lose?


    • Kat
      Kat says:

      Maria thank you for this post. It is blog worthy on its own.

      I used to believe it’s a bliss to think that “what else do I have to lose?” because it seemed to show how ready I was to take risks in life. Now, modern life simply consists of mostly lose-lose situations and people are finally busting the have-it-all fantasy…even vying for win-lose becomes futile.

      So living honestly, even if it costs you a job offer, isn’t that much of a sacrifice after all.

      • Maria
        Maria says:

        Awww, you’re a sweetie, than you for the encouragement.

        Did you know Micheal Moore (Bowling for Columbine) was unemployed and on welfare when he directed Harry and Me?

        Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Spy Kids) admit in his book “How to Make a Movie Under $7k” which was about the making of the original Matador that he volunteered to be a pharmaceutical guinea pig for a month at a time to earn the money for the film and actually wrote it while doing the study?

        Here are more people who were once homeless, couch surfing or living out of their vehicles while they pursued their aspirations

  7. darja wagner
    darja wagner says:

    Dear Penelope. You are the only person that i can read early in the morning, with my throat sore, and actually having to rush to bring my two boys in the kindergarten. Please don’t stop writing. I think lately even my husband started to like you ( so we have more topics to disagree over breakfast).

  8. holly
    holly says:

    Delegate. YES. I see many couples in therapy and when they have the resources I suggest they hire a cleaning service and stop arguing about the division of labor and fairness because that’s like beating your head against the wall and wondering why you have a headache. And on the “delegate stuff people would think your crazy to delegate” point, I have one couple that pay to have the dog poo picked up. Yes, very privileged but they say it’s changed their world. Who knew?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is so fun to hear about, Holly. I like that you see the insides of how marriages work. I always think it would be so interesting to see what people do, but I wasn’t sure what, exactly, I want to know about peoples’ marriages. Now I know. You can learn so much about a marriage by what the couple chooses to delegate and why.


      • Heather
        Heather says:

        I love the comments for your posts almost as much as your posts sometimes. We choose to delegate our taxes. We pay them, we just don’t choose to do the paperwork ourselves. We also don’t cut our own lawn. We do clean the house, but that’s because we have a teenage daughter and she helps.

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      I was JUST thinking about this while getting ready this morning. I was grumpy because of a lot of reasons but of course it seemed to me that it was all my husband’s fault.

      Compromise sucks.

      Growing up I heard of compromise in marriage as the epitome of love and things working out well.

      Well, we crashed and burned pretty quickly because compromise leaves no one happy. It leaves the couple half happy half not miserable. So we decided to try to relegate compromise to as few choices as possible and only use it when we just have no option.

      Most of the time there’s a “captain” directing the ship. Of course, if it’s a project that is not my forte my husband leads. If it’s too important to me and I got the skills for it then I lead. And when neither of us are good for it and don’t want to do it ….. well if I wasn’t pregnant we’d drink first and then do a few jumping jacks and go do it (because we have no money to pay someone).

      In fact, we were so mad one weekend because our house was torn up (we didn’t even have a child then) but neither of us wanted to clean. We were tired and bored and wanted to have fun.

      So we went to the store and bought stuff to make margaritas and we got so drunk that moping the floors wasn’t even as painful as we made it out to be.

      We decided to was a good idea to take a short nap it wasn’t short and it wasn’t a good idea. But no one threatened divorce that day.

    • mh
      mh says:

      I’m not ashamed to say that separate toothpaste tubes saved my marriage. If you think that’s shallow, tough bananas. It’s true.

  9. Karen
    Karen says:

    This post calmed me down today. I’m going to read it again later. I need to return to it like a prayer or the chorus of a favorite song.

  10. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    I have a question about Number 1.

    I’ve done the big list thing for quite some time, and while I see how it’s motivating, I also have found it to be daunting.

    I sometimes either get overwhelmed by it or find myself doing things on the list for the sake of crossing them off, but not enjoying them.

    Any thoughts?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Most things on our to-do list are not enjoyable. We do enjoyable things so fast that they never actually make it on to our list.

      And really, to get to the big, exciting, rewarding things in life, the path is very prickly. If it weren’t a prickly path everyone would get to the end and the end would not feel so juicy as it does now.

      A good book about this predicament is The Dip, by Seth Godin.


  11. Ayanna
    Ayanna says:

    This posting was right on time for me. It just reaffirmed what I already have experienced and that is: the more you give up for your goals, the bigger the pay off. The thing is, you have to be willing to commit or else face a setback in obtaining your goals.

  12. Cheri
    Cheri says:

    Things I’ve given up to try and ‘have it all’ as a working mom:

    1. Time with my husband
    2. Time with myself
    3. Creative pursuits
    4. Work I am passionate about

    Needless to say it’s not working…

  13. karelys
    karelys says:

    Things I’ve given up for right now:

    1. Work I am passionate about (I feel like I’ve lost track of what this could even be at this point).
    2. Tight friendships.
    3. Being in ridiculously good shape.
    4. Extra money.

    In exchange I get:
    1. a solid and romantic marriage.
    2. Time with my husband and my kid (and my immediate family).
    3. Mental and emotional health (okay, physical too because I am not as stressed).
    4. Less material stuff to keep track of and own me.
    5. Freedom (which I am still recalibrating what this means but the truth is, I feel free so that’s bigger than anything at this moment).

  14. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Things I’ve given up as a working mom and wife:
    1. Personal fitness (I don’t recommend this)
    2. Social life
    3. Regular volunteer work
    4. Hobbies
    5. Feeling capable and independent (It’s more about being “good enough” and taking help when it’s offered these days.)
    6. Work I’m passionate about (being a birth doula)

    Things my husband and I are able to delegate because of these sacrifices:
    1. Garden work
    2. House cleaning
    3. After-school pick-up for our kids (I know, I know)
    4. Food prep (i.e., we eat out a lot)

  15. Sebastian Aiden Daniels
    Sebastian Aiden Daniels says:

    There are opportunity costs to everything we do. You are right that George Clooney’s new wife will probably have to give up some stuff and at the same time I am sure that George Clooney will probably have to make some changes in his life too.

    You try to get near 80 hour work weeks? You are crazy haha. Many people in Europe would look in horror at you. To each their own I suppose.

    I agree that acknowledging you care about what others think is the first step to moving past it. You can’t change what you don’t accept is there.

  16. Maria
    Maria says:

    Here’s an interesting article about how it’s a LUXURY for the other spouse to have a stay at home parent taking care of the kids and household responsibilities.

    The “Wall” I hit as a single mom was catching the caretaker doing crack while taking care of my child. This was 15 years ago. I was at a cross road. Career vs parenting, even though I was a single parent.

    What I gave up?

    I was a real estate broker, a mortgage broker, I had just completed my tax certification and since the economy was beginning to slow down, I had taken a part time job as a private investigator (for workman’s comp fraud investigation at $9/hr). I was in Florida at the time. They had released 15k prisoners in 1 county and the crime rate was skyrocketting. The nanny was a grandma with classes, a mumu, a cat, liked to do arts and crafts, and came with references.

    And she was a drug addict. The only part I didn’t know and could never have imagined.

    I went into shock. Feeling stupid and guilty I gave everything up. I gave up my career, my businesses, my ambition and chose to be a full time parent. I moved to a small town in New Mexico where I was not licensed. I still took a part time job, but never hired anyone again to babysit.

    I even started transitioning to home schooling, first in the summer, then full time when she was in high school, while I taught myself web design and took freelance assignments.

    I had a man ask me “If you had a career in real estate, how come you’re not wealthy?”

    DUH! ; )

  17. Claudia Alhadeff
    Claudia Alhadeff says:

    I am currently an entrepreneurship student and I have already sacrificed two of the things that I loved the most: volunteer work which I am extremely passionate about and horse riding, a sport that I have been involved in for as long as I can remember.

    Reading this post and all of the comments has made me realize that I am going to need to give up a lot more in order to reach my goal of being a successful entrepreneur and hopefully a good mom and wife. These sacrifices are only the beginning.

    Usually I would feel extremely disheartened by this but I have now realized that with big sacrifices will hopefully come big achievements.

    Thank you for helping me to reach this realization, here’s to hoping it all pays off.

  18. Slaka
    Slaka says:

    The cultural demands of my world eek in occasionally and make me feel like I am missing something but then Penelope shows up on my feed and reminds me how normal my life is.

  19. Joe
    Joe says:

    What a great post.

    But ten bucks says you originally hyperlinked the phrase “some complete morons are saying they are great at both” to a post about Sheryl Sandberg…then thought better of it. :-)

  20. me
    me says:

    “Once you realize you have to give up almost everything to get what matters most then life becomes maybe manageable. The trick is to experiment constantly with giving something up, and trying to make everything else work. Then give up something else and try again. ”

    This is absolute genius.

    I need to have it tattooed to my forearm, so I can look down & read it EVERY DAMN DAY.

  21. Julia
    Julia says:

    Great post. The most striking and useful thing to me is the admission (in the post and in the comments) of giving up friendships. We’re told so often that well-being throughout life hinges on having friends, and there’s a strong sense of failure and shame that goes with being an adult and not having friends. I have also given up on having friends, but I find it extremely difficult to admit. Once again, I’m amazed and comforted to read something here that is so true and real, yet is rarely admitted anywhere else.

  22. Denise
    Denise says:

    Regarding the first point of giving up certain “things” in your life, I have had a bit of experience with this situation, especially when I came down to having a child.

    This step is one of the most important steps you can analyze and continually refine after you have your first child (and maybe even more children). There are a lot of certain “things” or activities in your life that you will have to give up in order to provide you, your family and your child a good environment, and one of these (admittedly, I learned this from being a bookkeeper) is budgeting. There are negotiable things in the budget, and other things that are non-negotiables (utilities, monthly expenses, housing etc). We sat down and made a big list (or budget, but its a big list to us) and took things out or left things in our budget to accomodate our lifestyles, especially now that new Expenses were put into the mix (diapers, formula, babysitting, etc).

  23. adelaide
    adelaide says:

    My husband sent this to me. He sends me an article once a month or so. I appreciate it.

    My List of Things I Give Up

    1. Working in a fancy office with a fancy title
    2. Working on network television and with a top agency
    3. Living in the US. We moved to Brazil where I can use more of my money to delegate my work to other people.
    4. Wednesdays with my Kids. That’s the only day I have to work the whole day to meet my video deadline and marketing coaching class deadline.
    5. Sleeping from 2 am to 5 am. It’s the best time I can focus.
    6. Staying up late. I have to go to sleep around 8 pm. An hour after my kids go to sleep.
    7. Resting during nap time. I have to work my fastest during nap time. (My kids are 1 + 3)
    8. 2 hours outside of nap time during the day that I have to work and not take care of my kids.
    9. Control. I can’t control the way everything gets done around the house. I just have to let people clean, organize, and cook how they want or do.
    9. Cleaning and Cooking
    10. Watching Movies at Night
    11. Reading funny blog posts from my Facebook feed
    12. Being super social. We try to do one social thing a week.

    My List of the Silliest Things I have Delegated
    1. Making flashcards for words in Portuguese + English. Yes, I hired someone to sit down and write flashcards for me.
    2. Organizing my front closet. It wasn’t getting done.
    3. Chopping vegetables for my omelets. It’s actually pretty genius. I have them put it in ziploc bags, so I can dump the vegetables in the pan in the morning.

  24. James Lewis
    James Lewis says:

    This is a really great article about increasing our productivity and making time for all the thousand things that we want to accomplish in our lives. The part “You can feel like you have time for everything when you clearly define what everything is.” cannot be more true. Being able to identify your mission or goals in life, while being able to distinguish which are the ones you can live without, is indeed a great start into crossing out things from your checklist. It entails a lot of courage and big decisions on our side, but it is sure to be a big help into improving our lives in the long run.

  25. James Smith
    James Smith says:

    Very interesting read that is not only apt for ladder climbers or scrambling-for-time soccer moms, but also the casual student trying to live an ideal lifestyle. Being a student, whilst my day might not be filled with as much work, I’m currently finding it difficult to balance my passion for Soccer as well as keeping up to date with my friends from school and finding those 6/7 hours to sleep before my 6am rise in the mornings. I found your concept of transferring your “Alone-Time” duties to your “Do-It-With-the-kids” duties personally quite apt to my situation, although “Kids” should most definitely be replaced with “friends”. No more lonely gym sessions for myself, but rather multi-tasking it with a small social aspect by gymming with a friend.
    Enjoy your day.

  26. Mary
    Mary says:

    What right do you have to judge anothers choices or act like you know what they even are?…Amal/George… Why not just talk about your choices and leave others to theirs. Don’t be so judgemental.

  27. Arielle Bowen
    Arielle Bowen says:

    Awesome article love how you put it out there so honestly and talk about the real stuff. We all want to seem like super woman or man but I think its important to talk about what we must give up if that’s our goal.

  28. Lukovski Zdravko
    Lukovski Zdravko says:

    Brilliant post! Not only this one but your entire website as well!

    My interpretation of the first two steps on giving up on big things for opening the door to new big things in our life, is simply the “law of sacrifice”. Our time is limited and everything we do has its “opportunity expense”, so it would be impossible to go after new big things if we’re not willing to give up on some of our current big things in our life.

    Regarding the fifth step, I am really not the kind of person that has the “fear of criticism”, but I can definitely think of instances when I secretly DO worry from opinions of “certain” people! I think this is the first time I am being honest with myself and I admit to myself that I need to change this.

    Really inspiring article, I resonate with every word in it!

  29. James
    James says:

    Great Post (as always)!

    I particularly love point nr.2. Without my wife my career would have never picked up. She was always there for me through thick and thin.

    In my opinion the saying “behind a great man is a great woman” is correct, only difference is that, in my opinion, it work both ways.

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