I often get asked how I balance being a mother, endurance racer and entrepreneur. I’ve talked a little bit about the techniques I use to keep life sane in previous articles, but I thought a more interesting question might be: what DON’T I do?
Here’s a list of what’s gotten the ax…
- I don’t grow my own vegetables. After last year’s fiasco, I decided that no garden is better than a neglected garden.
- I don’t even buy vegetables from the farmer’s market. I wish I could, but they’re all held at inconvenient times and locations.
- I don’t shave my legs. Yep, it’s true. I’d like to think of this as a nod to the feminist movement, but the reality is that it’s actually a practical consideration – too much hassle.
- I don’t put my daughter in cloth diapers.
- I don’t read through my snail mail more than once a month, despite the peril of once almost missing jury duty.
- I don’t spend more than half an hour making dinner, and I certainly don’t plan meals in advance. Although, come to think of it, a little pre-planning would probably actually save time.
- I don’t complete house projects in an efficient manner. True story: it took me an entire year to hang family photos on our wall, and it was actually my mom-in-law who finally got the photos in frames.
- I don’t read the newspaper. I try to skim the headlines of our local paper, and I listen to NPR on occasion, but I wouldn’t exactly call myself a super informed citizen.
- I don’t fold and put away laundry. OK, sometimes I do. But more often than not, clean laundry sits in the basket for two weeks, before I’ve either worn it again or finally get around to putting it away.
- I don’t answer e-mails within 24 or 48 hours. Sometimes it can take me a week or even a month to get back to people.
- I don’t do a great deal of volunteer work. For 3 years, I’ve been meaning to help at the local trail maintenance days, and I have yet to actually show my face.
My hope is that in years to come I’ll think fondly about the things I decided not to do, knowing that it freed me up to focus on what I feel is most important: undivided time spent with my husband and daughter, magical days in the mountains, and the fulfillment of building businesses that not only sustain my family, but provide meaningful services to others.
Steve Jobs articulates this idea best:
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying “no” to 1,000 things.”
What do you say no to?