Refuse to Cook Dinner. Make Your Life More Full.

No more marinating chicken breast. No more dicing tomatoes. More takeout. More healthy, guilt-free takeout.

Some people are passionate about cooking. Many of us plain aren’t. In fact, according to The Harris Poll, only 3 out of 10 Americans profess a love for the never-ending task that is meal prep. Yet, most still scowl at the idea of eating takeout every night. There’s a stigma of lazy, unhealthy behavior associated with it. But what could happen if you replaced the hour you spend on food blogs, two you spend at the grocery store, and six plus you spend cooking each week with that thing that’s been knocking on the back of your brain for months? You may just cook up something far more impressive.

The 168 Hours Per Week Dilemma

In his book, The Happiness Equation, Neil Pasricha reminds us exactly how much free time adult humans have per week. After the sleep your body so selfishly demands and the 9–5 grind that keeps the lights on, you’re left with around 60 hours per week of you time. Sprinkle in your commute, trips to the gym, coffee with friends, essential errands — and you’re quickly running low on time to build something you’ve been dreaming about, pull an old dusty easel out, lose that excess weight, study a new language or give a crazy business idea a fighting chance.

8 hours cranking out work at the 9–5, a few trips to the gym, several social dinners with friends, cooking all other meals, running all the errands necessary to keep my life intact and my new side projects meant, very simply, something had to go. We all have a short list of things that we spend time on each week, most of which are non-negotiable. Chipotle, Saladworks and the rest of today’s wave of fast-casual, health conscious eats can quickly convince you to negotiate cooking dinner — for a price.

The Delicious Light at the End of the Tunnel

Good food is motivational. Restaurant owners chop, sear and fry it for a living, and it shows. As serious as you are about following the recipe, you definitely used about a quarter cup too much milk and now your soufflé is soggy and your time is gone. Eating takeout means you get delicious food every night. No dishes, minimal visits to the grocery store and for those of us that live in a large city — a seemingly endless array of choice.

The healthy takeout revolution has created an eat-conomy where takeout dependence doesn’t equate to eating like shit. On demand delivery services like UberEATS and Postmates mean you don’t even have to leave your house to get a delicious dinner — and, particularly in population centers, you’ll have enough health-conscious choices to avoid the grease without eating the same thing every week.

Use Your Newfound Passion to Pick Your Takeout Poison

If you’re going to spend your now reclaimed eight plus hours per week watching TV or clicking aimlessly around on the internet, you’re better off continuing to peruse cooking blogs, purchase 10 ingredients that you only use half of, and slave away in pursuit of a dish that mildly impresses your roommate or significant other. In all seriousness, use takeout as a motivator to chase something new, or just something you’ve always been too busy for.

If you’re serious about committing that time to something you can build on, you'll likely eventually turn those extra hours into extra income. Money shouldn’t start as the motivator, but your passion for taking beautiful photos, writing about your love life or building that backyard carpentry project will eventually be worth something if you stick with it long enough. Be it freelancing, new skills that justify a raise at the office or DIY product sales on sites like Etsy, there are avenues to make money off nearly every nook and cranny passion today — so who cares if guac costs extra.

Make Cooking Special Again

Don’t stop cooking dinner permanently. It truly can be fulfilling and rewarding, particularly when you do it with those you love. Maybe this isn’t about cooking dinner for you, but removing something else on your short list. Either way, today is the time to start investing in yourself, discovering what you love and learning how to share it with the world. Not later and not tomorrow.

Cut cooking dinner from your schedule for a month and use it as an endearing opportunity to invest time in that one thing. You might spend a bit more money and recall a few less recipes, but you’re almost just as likely to start developing a lifelong passion that pays for dinner (and trips to the grocery store) many times over.