Updated: Mar 26
I love lists. And I love saving time, and figuring out how to be more productive. So when I heard the term "outsourcing", I was curious to know how it could help me, not only as a business owner, but as a busy person with a family, a home, a job, and a million and ten things going on all the time. Outsourcing is a common term in the business world, and refers to getting help from outside the business so that the business can function more smoothly. As I enter my second year in business, I have recently given a lot of thought to just what could be outsourced in my own life. I discovered that I was already doing a few of these and have now started doing several more.
These few ideas are only a sampling of things you can do to simplify your life by outsourcing some of the many tasks that you have on your plate. And I realized as I thought about this concept, that while your outsourced task is being done, you can get a double benefit by doing something else at the same time. This is not exactly the same as multi tasking, because you are not doing two things at the same time yourself, but during the same time the task is getting done in another way. So you really will be able to get more done when you see how outsourcing can work double duty for you.
Go ahead and try some of these ideas, and maybe get some new ideas and thoughts about outsourcing. You really can ease some of the stress of a busy life by getting help outside of your own walls. This list may even give you new and creative ideas for how to use the concept of outsourcing... and I would love to hear any of your thoughts on the subject, in the comments below.
1. Subscribing is not just for magazines any more. Amazon has a subscription service called “Subscribe and Save” that you set up to order grocery items and household supplies. It’s easy to edit your list at any time or even skip a month if you don’t need an item.
You can subscribe to natural and safe household supplies through The Grove at www.grove.co , and there is a “Set and Save” option to subscribe to order foods and supplements through www.vitacost.com .
From boxed meals to shaving supplies, home decor, makeup, clothing, or pet toys, there are many options.
One thing to watch is that once you’ve started the subscription you don’t want to forget to cancel it when you no longer need it.
2. Combine activities. For example, a small group of close friends or relatives could celebrate the holidays together, and at the same time get their holiday baking done, everyone brings a recipe and the ingredients to make one kind of cookie.
When the baking and fun are all done, divide the cookies, enjoy socializing and celebrating. Then all you have to do is share the clean-up. You had a great time with friends, and got your holiday baking done.
3. Doing a DIY project to save money, but finding yourself short on time and stress is rising? If you can swing it, go ahead and hire someone to complete part of the project. You can still do the DIY, but a little help will serve two purposes: Your time frame should be shortened, along with your own effort to get the job done. AND it will encourage you to keep going. The task will no longer be hanging over your head and you will have spent less than you would have if you had hired the whole job out. Just make sure the person you hire doesn’t have a problem being limited to doing only the part you want them to do.
4. Order your groceries and pick up at no (or minimal) extra charge. I've used the Walmart grocery app, and the time it saves is amazing. Here’s how it works: You order in the Walmart Grocery App, choose a 1-hour time slot to pick up, they will notify you when your order is ready, and you notify them when you’re on your way.
If you'd like to try this and get $10 off your first grocery order, contact me and ask for your unique referral code.
5. Here’s a simple one: Make it your personal rule to take care of all 2-minute or less tasks immediately. This could save tons of time by NOT procrastinating. If you do 15 zero to two-minute tasks each day as they come up, you will have saved yourself a 30-minute pile of work by each evening. Let’s see….30 minutes a day times seven days a week - that’s 210 minutes per week, which is 2-½ hours of time you’ve gifting yourself with by the end of just one week.
6. Block your time. Yep, it’s called time-blocking. Here’s how to do it.
First you need to assign an estimated time frame to each task.
Then, you decide where that task/amount of time will fit into your schedule.
You can now focus on the work for the allotted time, and when you’re done you’re done.
By doing this, you are managing your tasks and not allowing them to manage or overtake your life.
7. Hire someone to clean your house. You will get double duty on this one if you are at home and working on another project or task at the same time. Help is available in many other areas, too, such as personal assistants, virtual assistants, organizers, and dog walkers. Did you know There is even such a thing as a people walker?...imagine that.
8. Capsule your wardrobe. Yes, this is really a thing. It means you choose a designated number of items that go together in your wardrobe and get rid of everything else. There are multiple ways of carrying this out, and even capsule wardrobe plans online if you just search.
What happens when you do this is that instead of having a closet full of clothes and “nothing to wear”, you have a few items in your closet and innumerable outfits to mix and match.
For some great examples and plans that you can buy to get started, go to www.classyyettrendy.com
9. Get the app. There is an app for nearly everything, and if you research carefully you can find just the one that will work for you in many areas. There are apps to track mileage, make lists, set reminders, plan your meals, track the books you’ve read, and tell you if someone read the email you sent, just to name a very few. Don’t spend too much of your valuable time exploring, but it may be worth your while to check out a new one now and then.
10. This one can be tricky, but definitely doable. You can delegate certain tasks to another person.
You may be able to add a chore to your kids’ responsibilities, or ask your spouse for help. Children can be very helpful with an incentive, a reward, or an allowance increase.
If you have your own business, you may periodically need to reevaluate the responsibilities and job descriptions of your employee(s), and then delegate some new responsibilities for them, so that business can run as smoothly as possible.
11. Let it go. once you’ve evaluated what’s really necessary, you may find that you can just let a few things go. Do you really need to do the ironing each week, or could you just hang that shirt after drying, and iron when you are going to wear it? (if it still needs ironed, that is).
Think about things that you tend to procrastinate and still survive without doing. Are they really necessary, or do you just have the idea that they must be done, maybe a little guilt carrying over from somewhere?
It’s a good idea to map out your week/month by accounting for all 168 hours in every week and then decide how you will spend this time. This will keep your tasks from ruling your life and put yourself back in charge of your time. We are all given the same amount of hours each week, so you are smart to use them in the wisest, most efficient way possible.
Do let me know your ideas for outsourcing to get more done in less time. I would love to read your comments.