A Work-life Balance Idea: Personal Outsourcing
When you hear men talking about work-life balance, you often hear them talk about “spending more time with the family.” But when you hear women discussing balance, you often hear about how they “can’t find enough time to get everything done.” For many women professionals, balance is about prioritizing their many roles and responsibilities (including work, civic, family and personal pursuits) and using time-saving strategies to try to fit everything in.
One of our favorite time-savers is personal outsourcing: paying to have someone else do a personal task that you would have ordinarily done yourself. In fact, the options for personal outsourcing are growing and becoming more cost effective. Here’s a few of our favorites that you might want to consider:
- Have your groceries delivered. Large grocery chains have offered home delivery for some time, but as customers have become more tech-savvy, adoption is exploding. DeeAnna, a She-Leads co-owner and my grand-daughter, subscribes to a grocery delivery service in Corpus Christi, TX where she lives. A mother and busy business professional, Dee has found this service incredibly helpful! She places her order online by adding grocery items to her cart and paying with a few clicks. The app is amazingly simple to use and is designed to save her time. Then a personal grocery shopper/driver fills her order and delivers it to her door, often within the hour. The shopper unloads the groceries and even offers to deliver them to the kitchen counter. All this for a $99 annual fee (that’s a little over $8 per month!) and she tips the personal shopper/driver (there is no additional delivery fee if the order is $35 or more). Imagine: no searching for a parking place, pushing a cart through the huge store, searching for items, lining up for check-out, lifting and tugging grocery bags into your car, and unloading them at home! This is a huge time-saver and convenience for Dee at an unbelievably low cost. Really, why would a busy woman professional NOT do this?
- Set up automatic ordering for recurring purchases. I’ll bet many of you are already doing this – if not, you’ll want to consider it. Large online retailers’ (like Amazon’s) web and app features include options for setting up recurring purchases. For example, Dee has two toddlers (precious littles, but I may be a bit biased), and she needed diapers for several years. She set up a recurring monthly order on Amazon and each month, a case of diapers was charged to her credit card and arrived at her door. There was no “we’re out of diapers!!!” crisis at Dee’s house, and she had one less thing to remember to do. Dee even got a discount for placing the recurring order, like discounts for buying in bulk – so this time-saver SAVES money.
- Order online and pick-up in-store; or get curbside pick-up. It seems all the big brick-and-mortar stores are moving quickly to offer on-line or mobile ordering with curb-side pick-up – from Walmart to McDonalds. They save the labor involved with a person taking your order and taking your payment – you save time. And the apps are becoming so easy to use! A few clicks and you’ve placed your order and paid.
- Hire a housekeeper. There is nothing quite like coming home to a clean house after a long day of work. Depending on where you live, how often you want your house cleaned, and how much you want the cleaners to do in your house, the pricing can vary on these services drastically. During some seasons of life it might make sense to have a housekeeper do all the cleaning in your house including cleaning out the refrigerator and putting away clean clothes. During other seasons you might only need someone to come in, clean bathrooms, and mop the floors. The great thing about these personal outsourcing services is that they all can be completely customized to your needs and budget.
- Hire a virtual assistant. With today’s technology, working with a remotely-located virtual assistant can be a very effective way to offload some of your low-value, time-consuming tasks. This may be a particularly attractive option for a self-employed business woman who has both personal and business tasks that can be easily delegated. Virtual assistants can often handle your calendar and email, internet research, updating and cleaning up contact lists, making travel arrangements, and more. The cost of a virtual assistant varies widely, and some overseas assistants are a real bargain at as little as $2 per hour. Since your time is worth far more than that, hiring a virtual assistance can allow you to spend more of your time on the things that matter to you most. The following articles contain ideas and lists of activities you might assign to a virtual assistant:
These are five examples of personal outsourcing, but we have barely scratched the surface. There are many personal outsourcing possibilities that can save you time, often at little-to-no additional cost. And for many women professionals, saving time is key to finding the work-life balance so many of us seek. Here’s a few comprehensive lists of personal outsourcing ideas:
What tasks or activities have you outsourced and how has personal outsourcing worked for you? Let’s chat in our Facebook Community, She Leads – Women’s Leadership Development. We can’t wait to meet you there!