Outsourcing to Make Life Easier

I am a big fan of outsourcing. Cleaning and landscaping are two of my favorites. There’s something wonderfully freeing about coming home to a clean, fresh-smelling house or a neatly trimmed lawn in the summer. When we sold our house last spring, I outsourced like crazy: painting, cleaning, junk removing, inspecting, moving, and of course, the selling/buying/realtor aspect. Let’s just say I wrote a lot of checks, but they were all worth it.

It’s such a relief when someone else who is good at what they do takes on a task I hate, and completes it efficiently and well in way less time that I would have. I will happily pay a fair price for that kind of help. Not only is it nice to have the task done, but I am able to spend that time and energy on what’s most important to me: family, work, friends, etc.

I may feel the occasional, tiny twinge of guilt when a professional is doing something around my house that I “should” be able to do, like steam-clean the carpet (we do own a steam vac) or paint a room (I do own paint brushes and sorta know how to use them). But after reading my new “bible,” 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam, I have sent that guilt packing. Don’t you know, the only way to maximize your time and enjoy life more is to outsource the sucky stuff (i.e., the stuff you don’t like and/or aren’t good at)?

What got me thinking about all this most recently was a Newsweek.com article by Lisa Miller (“Mommy Is Busy Right Now”), about how a working mom’s life is full of a million details to handle — and planning a vacation might just push her over the edge. Writer Lisa Miller mentions that she’d like to hire a travel agent, but the fees put her off. Now I actually kind of like planning a trip — for me, creating the perfect vacation is part of the fun of travel. But if you find vacation prep to be tedious or time-consuming, why not pay a travel agent for her time to do it for you? Isn’t it worth it?

My challenge to you, Working Moms Against Guilt, is to identify one task or job you loathe and find a way to outsource it. Even if that means getting a neighbor kid to shovel your driveway for $20 or getting your eBay-addicted friend to sell your stuff (taking a cut of the profit, of course). See how it makes you feel, and then report back via comment about your experience. I bet you’re gonna love it!

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