That means that if it can be automated, streamlined or eliminated, I do it. If it is not a “business building activity” I try to avoid it. If it is something that has to be repeated (consistency and follow through are my arch nemesis) then I find a way to make technology my slave!
People ask me all the time "How do you do it? You have so many kids, an immune deficiency that makes you tired and sore, your blog, successful businesses... how do you do it all?"
The first thing that I tell them? "I don't clean." Then I usually laugh, and they might think I'm kidding, but I'm not! If you recall from the last edition (Taming the To-Do List) I give myself permission to let go of things that I'm not good at. I spent a lot of time, money, effort and tears on trying to be a good little housewife. I thought I "should" be good at keeping house. I also "should" enjoy it. Some of the books even said that it was more "godly" to keep house well and enjoy it. I hope this doesn't shock too many people, but I think it's more godly to do what I'm good at. I have strengths for a reason. I could spend my entire life trying to be a good little housekeeper and never accomplish it. What a waste!
I teach my children that we all contribute to the family. Some contribute money, some time, some expertise, some labor... My oldest 2 are responsible for maintaining 75% of the "family" areas. The rotate A weeks and B weeks.
A week: Kitchen. Includes dishes, table, counters, floors, sink
B week: Trash, guest bath, formal living room, family room
They also wash their own school clothes (or wear the same thing several times - either way, it's up to them!)
Do they do a perfect job? No - their goal is clearly to get done, not do it well. They are kids! I didn't have trouble with this standard. My husband is having to adjust quite a bit. His mom is an excellent housekeeper - so I'm a disappointment in that area. I'm OK with that. It has taken me a loooooong time to be able to say that. It's OK that I'm not a good housekeeper, I have many other redeeming qualities.
When I do start feeling a little bad about the house not being perfect (like when someone's coming to visit, or they show up unannounced!) I remind myself that people all over the world live in homes with dirt floors, there are children who work salvaging recyclables from trash pits, and that cleaning your house while raising children is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.
The thing I don't usually tell them... I don't watch TV. We turned off our cable account and only have Netflix. The area that we live in doesn't have great reception of regular channels, so we just watch Netflix when we want to. All that time I used to spend watching HGTV? Now I work, read or attend training webinars. I don't get caught up in a series (and the accompanying drama and speculation). I don't watch the Today show for 7 hours (I know it's not that long, but it seems like it!)
Another great benefit? I don't watch commercials! That helps on so many fronts. I don't feel extra pressure to be something I'm not, have things I don't need and do things I can't afford.
There are times that I sit down and watch TV or a movie. You know when? When my kids and husband invite me to.
Smarter. Not. Harder.