As I’ve gotten older, my life has gotten much more focused on optimizing my time usage. This is especially true around the house. So, I admit, I felt very, very old when I decided that for my birthday a couple years ago, all I wanted was a Roomba. But I thought it would be extremely helpful as an athlete. What I’ve realized more and more over the years is that time is the most important currency for most of us as athletes, but we don’t always act like it. Peter and I always talk—and write—about how if we’re thinking about making a gear purchase, we tend to think about in a few ways, and one is in time savings or spend.
Basically, will a piece of new gear—like a more aero or lightweight road bike, for instance—save enough time to justify the pricetag? …Or will it actually cost time because that money could be budgeted in another way that could lead to better on-bike gains, like paying to work with a dietitian or coach for a few months, or paying for a weekly babysitter so you can easily fit in a long ride on your older, slightly heavier bike? You might decide that instantly shaving time off of your PR up the local climb is worth the spend on the new bike, and that’s just fine. It’s all about what matters to you.
(Intrigued? We really dig into this in Becoming A Consummate Athlete in the ‘buying new gear’ section!)
But back to the Roomba. How does a vacuum fit in to time savings on the bike? We have carpets (condo board policy) and no garage, a lot of bikes, and a dachshund who sheds like crazy. That all adds up to the need to vacuum constantly—every couple days if we’re really staying on top of it. And that takes time: Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get the whole place relatively fur- and dirt-free.
So, what if we could save those 2-3 hours every week?
I did some research on Roombas and how they’ve improved over the years, and with our condo layout, it seemed like a good idea. We got the Roomba i3, and I have to say, it was 110% worth it in the first week alone—it’s amazing how well it works with dog hair. It sounds silly, but saving a couple hours on cleaning each week means more time for training or recovery/stretching (on a floor that doesn’t leave my hands fur-covered during yoga!).
The moral of the story is that for me, getting a Roomba was partially because as an athlete, saving time where I can is worth way more than a slightly lighter bike or the latest and greatest in running shoes when I don’t really need a new bike or new sneakers. I’d rather buy back my time. So next time you’re thinking about your athletic gear purchasing, or trying to figure out how to carve out more time for training, it might be worth thinking a bit outside the box.
We also have friends who’ve carved out extra time by:
- Subscribing to a meal delivery service for a few meals each week
- Having groceries delivered or ready for pickup vs grocery shopping
- Getting a babysitter every Thursday so they have standing MTB plans
- Hiring a housecleaner to save time on weekends for long runs/rides
There are also free ways to make some of this work, if you’re on a tight budget. I know some friends who trade childcare hours and watch each other’s kids in order to fit in big training days (one runs on Saturday while the other watches all the kiddos, then they swap the next day!). I also know some people who do old-school soup/casserole/meal swaps so that each only has to cook half the dinners. I love the community potential with this!
So, this weekend, think about how you might gain back a couple of hours. I think a lot of people would be surprised to realize that it’s not as pricey as you might think!
PS: Cannot recommend this Roomba enough! Get the Roomba i3 here