We all have something in our life that we absolutely hate to do: the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the toilets, writing thank you-notes. Everyone has their own personal must-do bugaboo. For me it’s deep cleaning. I will organize until the cows come home, but if I need to mop the floor, I go into full-blown denial. I’m proposing that this year, we all consider outsourcing our dreaded tasks.
Basically the whole point of outsourcing is to make more time in your life for the stuff you DO like to do. (Need more clarity to find what you love? The point of outsourcing is to make more time in your life for the stuff you actually like to do. Take this quiz to hone in on your values and find out what really gets you going and what you could use less of.) The point of outsourcing is also to directly bring more pleasure into your life. Case in point, a friend of mine used to ‘outsource’ her coffee everyday, (hello, Starbucks), even when she was trying to save money, because the happiness and emotional lift it gave her each morning far outbalanced the $2.07 she could have been banking in her savings account.
If you think creatively, there are so many ways to outsource, and they don’t all cost an arm and a leg. For me, the cost of having a team come into clean my house top to bottom once a month has been worth it, even a decade ago when I was waitressing. The sense of having a regular ‘fresh-start,’ (with minimal involvement from moi), always gets my mind into a clearer space to start a new month. If you don’t want to spend the dough, an alternative would be to do a ‘clean swap’ with a friend — once a month meet at your place to do a thorough cleaning together, and once a month meet at her place to do the same thing. The job gets completed in half the time and you get to spend time with a friend. (And then reward yourselves with a well-earned cocktail afterwards!). Plus, you get the added emotional benefits of feeling you’re doing a good deed for someone else.
Or, if you have a friend with just the skill set to solve a daunting problem in your life, (designing your website, organizing your garage), consider doing a trade off: her bad-ass ninja skills for yours. If you’re a cook, offer to make her a week’s worth of frozen meals she can rely on. Or teach her to drive stick. Or…. anything. Take stock of all the skills YOU have to offer (dozens! hundreds!) and think of ways you could put those to work for you this year.
If working out the details of a swap already makes you exhausted and you’d rather just drop some hard-earned cash to outsource your chosen task, consider these options to make your life a little easier:
Switch your dry-cleaning to a place that offers pick up and delivery. Eliminate shopping trips by using Tog + Porter’s personal styling services to hand-select a box of clothes specifically for YOU and deliver it right to your doorstep.
Automate delivery of your cleaning products to reduce time consuming, maddening trips to big box stores. Personally, I love using The Honest Company’s essentials bundle, their household supplies like baby wipes, laundry soap and body wash are all non-toxic and arrive directly to my doorstep every six weeks. (The selection of products can be customized to your specific needs as well as the frequency of delivery.) Or, if you don’t want to switch from products you already love, consider joining Amazon Prime to take advantage of free shipping, and sign up for regular shipments of anything you regularly find yourself needing to restock.
Yes, getting your nails done professionally costs a hell of a lot more than doing them yourself, BUT if that cold hard cash also buys you a few moments of much-needed peace, a feeling of well-being, and an opportunity to feel cared for, then $20 can suddenly feel like a bargain.
For holidays and birthdays, instead of painstakingly hand-written notes, consider making a one-size-fits-all “Thank You” video instead: shoot a 30 second ‘Thank you! I love it! I love you! Great to see you!’ video on your iPhone. (Bonus points if cute kids are involved.) You can then email off in one fell swoop to every gift-giver on your list. It’s still personal, it’s creative, and it saves you from hand cramps and a slow boredom-induced death in a post office line.
For online tasks that you would, natch, assign to your super-fancy personal assistant if you had one, try FancyHands or check out Ranker’s list of the top CrowdSourcing websites out there. And for basically any other errand/task/chore under the sun, take advantage of Task Rabbit, a one-off personal assistance site that you can make good use of (IF you live in Los Angeles, Boston, San Fran, NYC, San Antonio, Austin, Chicago, Seattle, Portland or Orange County, CA.) And if you’re still looking for more outsourcing suggestions, check out this great article from LearnVest, too.
Just making the decision to ask for help can make a daunting task seem manageable. Just making the decision to Ask for Help can make a daunting or hated task seem manageable and before you know it, it’s complete and you’re looking at life with a feeling of accomplishment. Which then leads to more confidence… Which then leads to better opportunities… and so on, happily ever after, blahblahblah.
So basically my point is that outsourcing one task this year will land you your dream job/prince charming/whatever your heart desires, so you might want to try it.
Now if only I could find a way to outsource exercise…
This month, we’re serving up bite-sized advice from experts in different fields to help us all make life a little brighter, more creative and more efficient for 2013. Think of this month as a chance to connect with yourself on a deeper level, get closer to what makes you happy, and take control of the balance in ‘work-life balance’ for yourself this year.