What is more important now?

My house is mostly messy, mostly dusty.

It has been so for the past couple of years, since I decided that getting my professional life back on track was more important than having a thorough weekly cleanup.

At the time, I felt frustrated that the hours in my day were not enough to properly look for a job and keep the house a nice place to live, and I saw mediocre results on both fronts.

Things started to change when I decided to time myself to find out just how long it took to clean the bathrooms, take a trip to the grocery store, or write a motivation letter. I finally had concrete numbers I could work on to plan my week in a realistic manner.

I made a conscious decision to de-prioritize housekeeping so that I could focus on creating Bonjour Geneva and expanding my network, as a means to eventually find my way back to the job market. [and it paid off: I’m about to start two part-time jobs!]

It seems almost a no-brainer decision to me now, but reading my notes from those days, I realize I simply felt that, while I did not find a job it was my responsibility to at least have a tidy, dust-free house. Keeping the house clean and the fridge packed was basically the only thing under my control at the time, the only results I of my hard work I could see. So of course I had a hard time changing habits.

I worried that my daughter would sleep in the same sheets for more than a week, but I worried more that she was growing up with a mom whose life ambitions were being crushed by scrubbing limescale and hunting toddler gear bargains.

This is not in praise of unkempt houses. [The first thing I’m going to do when I get my first salary next month is hiring a cleaner, by the way.]

This is a reminder that you can choose how you spend your time, even if at first sight it looks like you cannot change things. Moreover, pursuing your goals always implies letting go of certain things, and choosing very carefully where to put your effort.

Edit: choosing to spend my time differently also made my husband question how he does his share of housework and if brought up the opportunity to review our non-negotiables. In the end, even if we don’t vacuum clean as often as we would like, our days run considerably smoother and we are more satisfied.

On May 9th, I will present an introduction about essentialism, a method to make conscious decisions about how you use your time and which activities and tasks to eliminate from your day. This is the first step in a new Bonjour Geneva initiative designed to help you take the reins of your life and start taking concrete steps toward the life you want for yourself.

Want to join us on May 9th? Tickets this way ;)