When to spend money instead of time

Today we are going to talk about a common issue among entrepreneurs and professionals – lack of time. Since we provide a time management app, you’d probably expect us to share with you some classical tips on how to organize your schedule better and increase your productivity, right?

Well, not really. This post is not about squeezing more tasks into your daily schedule, but about taking them out. How?

By delegating them to other people.

But let’s get back to your problem and its causes. This must be a familiar scenario to you: you have lately been working on an important project that is very rewarding, but also requires lots of time and effort. In the meanwhile, the place where you live has turned into a mess, your potted plants have died, and you never have time to shop or take your dog out for a longer walk. Doesn’t it feel frustrating when you don’t have time or interest for completing these mundane tasks, which are otherwise important for your well-being?

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Productivity vs. effectiveness

The reason why so many people feel overwhelmed with everyday duties, both professional and domestic, is following the old paradigm of productivity that makes you think you should get more things done, preferably in less time.

It’s time to leave this kind of thinking behind and start making a difference between two concepts – productivity and effectiveness.

Productivity focuses on quantity – the idea is to achieve more, to get more things done, and to limit the amount of time needed to complete a task. This concept is often used in business, and sometimes with negative consequences. Business owners want to produce more, but frequently neglect important aspects, such as the human and material costs of increasing productivity.

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Effectiveness, on the other hand, puts an emphasis on quality; effectiveness is also the fundamental paradigm of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey sees effectiveness as a function of two things: what is produced and the capacity to produce.

The problem with the old paradigm of productivity is that in your struggle to achieve more and get more golden eggs, you start to neglect the goose or your producing asset. Effectiveness allows you to create perfect balance between production of desired results and production capability. This change of attitude will help you not feel overpowered by everyday tasks anymore or become unable to complete them. Isn’t this what you are trying to achieve, after all?

Outsourcing in business

The solution for having more time for yourself is found in the place where you expect it less: at work.

In business, we delegate tasks or outsource various functions in order to become more effective. Business would not thrive without applying this solution – let’s imagine a company lands a large contract that increases the amount of purchasing for a limited period of time. Is it worth burdening employees with this occasional extra work and sacrifice quality in the back-office? No, the best solution is to outsource purchasing.

The benefits of outsourcing in business are already well-known – these are just a few of them:

  • Access to better skills
  • Reducing costs
  • Elasticity (you can grow and shrink as needed)
  • Maintaining focus on core activities
  • Decreasing the need for office space
  • Flexibility (use additional resources only when needed)

How can you apply outsourcing in your life?

You should consider a similar strategy for mundane tasks as well, especially when you don’t enjoy doing them.

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Here are just a few examples of common tasks you may want to entrust to somebody else:

  • House cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Shopping, buying presents
  • Walking the dog and taking it to the vet or groomer
  • Organizing family events
  • Doing repairs in your home
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Doing the laundry
  • Picking up your drycleaning
  • Online errands like paying bills
  • Managing emails

When should you outsource?

Outsourcing everyday tasks has given birth to an extremely lucrative gig industry – on the one side, we have people who are high achievers and earn enough to outsource, and on the other we have contractors or services ready to meet their needs, from delivering groceries to helping them sort their personal emails. Should you become a part of it?

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The idea is to outsource mundane tasks when your time becomes extremely valuable for you. For busy people, an hour saved may be worth more than the money they pay to a service provider. A mom running a successful small business will prefer to pay someone to cook meals so she can spend more priceless time with her children, and in a similar manner, a young professional living in a big city would rather pay an extra fee to have their groceries delivered at home instead of doing a two-hour trip and carrying bags.

So, you should outsource when the answer is “Yes” to both these questions, especially the first one:

  • Is the time saved more valuable than the money spent?
  • Do you dislike doing the task?

How to identify what you should outsource

The decision to outsource a task should be taken after identifying those chores or duties that you dislike and making a few calculations so you decide what’s worth more: the money or your time and effort.

We suggest this practical 5-step process to identify what you should outsource:

  1. Determine your hourly wage

It’s simple – the amount of money you earn in an hour should be high enough to exceed the amount of money you spend outsourcing for an hour, otherwise you will lose out by paying somebody else to do the job.

  1. What causes frustration in your life?

Many conflicts between partners rise from mundane tasks – instead of relaxing and spending time together after work, you have to clean the house, do the laundry, or cook. By the end of the evening, you both are too tired to communicate to each other and bond. So, what ruins your leisure time more than anything else? Consider outsourcing that task.

  1. Decide whether it’s worth outsourcing

Now that you have decided you no longer want to pay your bills and manage your emails instead of watching your favorite show, start looking for service providers and check their hourly rates. If one hour of your time is more valuable than the amount of money you’ll have to pay to outsource, then you should go with it!

  1. Find the best provider

Now it’s time to find a provider you can trust and who is billing a convenient hourly rate. Consider websites like DoMyStuff o
r TaskRabbit; if the task you want to outsource can be completed by a virtual assistant, try Upwork and Fiverr. The great things about these websites is that contractors get public feedback from their clients and you can easily determine who is reliable and provides high-quality services and who will just waste your time.

  1. Hire the provider

After interviewing several providers, it’s time to stick with the best candidate and make a decision. If you are not satisfied with your choice after they start working, you can put an end to the collaboration and look for someone else. Whether you need a service provider to work for you 1 hour a week or 30, there’ll always be someone out there ready to do the job and save you the headache.

Bonus tip: Apart from outsourcing your hands on work, you could also try your hands on various time tracking tools. For instance, if you are a digital marketer then Hootsuite for social media management and Omniconvert for improving conversions will save the day for you.

So, what’s that chore you’re dreading and how will you get rid of it? Let us know in the comments so that other readers may get inspired to.

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Getting First Things Done
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How to manage your time so that you make real progress towards what really matters.