Doing it all.

Rachel Eakley's a busy girl. As a trained chef, psychology grad student, blogger, dog owner, and girlfriend to David Karp, the founder & CEO of Tumblr, she's got a lot to juggle. 

She shared how she manages her days here:

Semi-solicited Observations on Time Management

A few people have asked about my time management. Since I’m getting ready to start a new semester, I’m at my most organized. I thought I’d share a few things.


I have to make a schedule to fit everything in. It is important for this schedule to be realistic, which took me a long time to learn, otherwise I get really discouraged around Wednesday when I start to have a lot of left over stuff pile up from earlier in the week. Living by a well set schedule does not have to be boring. On my schedule I have standing dates with my two closest every week. We usually have dinner and watch TV but we see plays, go to the movies, go bowling. But it’s on the schedule and I make sure to set that time aside each week. 

I schedule my chores. Monday I go to the grocery. Every Monday. No matter what. It’s annoying but not only do I always have groceries, I don’t spend my actual free time feeling guilty that the laundry or other errands need to be done. There is a designated time for all of that. I also keep a day, this semester it’s Friday, mostly open to catch up with anything I fell behind on. Obviously things come up, but the idea is to stick to the plan as much as possible. 


I can’t always do everything I want in a day. But I know what my perfect day would look like and I try to get close to that. School work and fitness are at the top. So since I have a lot more class time, homework, and a couple grizzly commutes this semester, I’ve had to cut down on the hours I make available for my lab. I write all my homework and exams into my schedule at the beginning of the semester. If my week isn’t that busy or if I’m caught up with school and work then I might schedule more “fun” stuff that week. 

Make time.

I get up early at 6 or 7 and get a lot done before I leave for school. I go to bed around 10 or 11. I could sleep in but that time in the morning is so productive. If you’re a night owl, maybe this would be reversed for you, the point is to take advantage of the time you’re the most productive. 

Find Time.

I actually wrote this as I waited as four L trains went by that I couldn’t fit on and then as we were held at 3rd ave because someone was sick on a train ahead of us and then while waiting for another train when the first one I was on was taken out of service! Making what seems like an inconvenience into an opportunity is a good way to maximize time. I’m going to be late anyway at this point I might as well use it. And it also helps you not get as angry as some of your trainmates about a situation that is out of your control. The same works for waiting at the DMV and waiting for, lets say, your boyfriend to finally show up to dinner! 

Use all time as fully as possible.

I’m getting better at this and it’s really been helpful. Multitasking usually makes you do a mediocre job at both things (thanks, Ron Swanson and also science!) but if done right it can be really great. I catch up with my mom and dad on my walk to the subway. I listen to pre-lecture pod casts on the way up work. I watch TV while I run at the gym (this is currently my favorite thing ever!). I went grocery shopping with my friend this week so we could cook dinner together. But I also did my weekly shopping then. It was Monday. No matter what! Necessary thing + social life is a great way to make that necessary thing something to look forward to. 

All this planning adds up so that, hopefully, I have no responsibilities on the weekend. I haven’t mentioned Karp in all of this time planning. David is super busy and travels a lot so we don’t get to see each other that much on weekdays. I’m trying to pack more stuff into the weekday and leave weekends alone. He’s pretty spontaneous (nearly my polar opposite scheduling-wise) so if I’ve managed to keep my weekend free it lets us get out of the city or at the very least, enjoy it more. 

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