Today’s tip is about thinking differently about what you spend money on, so that you can have more fun in your life. And that can be achieved by figuring out what you can outsource. How ’bout that!
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So, here’s a truth of modern life
Very few people actually have time to do all the things that need to be done. We need to work more hours, and maybe in more jobs, to pay for everything. We’ve got more distractions than ever before. And while there are 168 hours in a week and that is nice big helping of time, ultimately, we only have the bandwidth for so many things.
Something’s gotta give, and the thing I’m proposing that we jettison is the idea that we all have to do all the things we need to do. Does that mean I’m suggesting that you say, screw it, I’m just never doing laundry again? No. But I am suggesting that you think about what you can outsource.
I think it can save your sanity, your relationship (because then you can stop fighting about who’s going to do it), and maybe even the economy.
Let’s start with the sanity piece first
A study that surveyed over 6,000 people in the US, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands found that people who spent money each month — about $100 to $200 worth — on outsourcing tasks, reported an in increase in life satisfaction. Life satisfaction is a pretty important thing to have, don’t you think? I mean, we only get one life. May as well be satisfied with it.
Science backs up the idea that outsourcing can really help your relationships, too. A survey by the Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia found that 25 percent of divorced couples said that their fights about who did what was a contributing factor to their break up.
Another study looked at 3,000 people who are in committed relationships and found that the folks who spent more money on outsourcing services had greater relationship satisfaction, and that part of the reason for that was that they got to spend more quality time with their partners.
And from an economic standpoint…
If we all patronized each other to do the things we don’t have bandwidth for, or desire to do, we’d share the workload AND the wealth. It’s not just that you’re paying for a service, you’re paying for your time back.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do ANY chores. I mean, unless your funds are pretty gosh darn unlimited it’s not even a possibility, and even if they are, there is a satisfaction that comes from taking care of your life. IF you aren’t totally stressed and overwhelmed by all the many, many things that goes into that.
How to decide what makes sense for you to outsource
To figure out what makes sense to outsource and what doesn’t think about the things that you really want to do, for whatever reason — you love it, you get something out of it. I rake my own leaves–and we have a LOT of leaves–because I enjoy it, it’s movement, it’s gratifying, the kids help. But we have someone mow the lawn, because this way we don’t have to own a lawnmower, which we don’t have any place to store, and we don’t have to fight over who’s going to do the actual mowing. I’m never ever going to have to remind ask or nag my husband to do it, and that is worth money.
I also have no desire to outsource cooking or even grocery shopping because I love it. Cooking helps me transition between working and family time, and grocery shopping helps me think about what I want to cook. It’s also time when I’m on my own out in the world, which as a work at home mom, I don’t get a ton of. I don’t always feel like cooking or like grocery shopping, but I’m always glad I did it.
I also pay someone to run errands for me. It’s amazing — I don’t have to do something I hate and that I really don’t have time for, and she tells me she loves it; she says it breaks up the monotony of her day and she loves having a little mad money in her pocket. It truly is a magical transaction — I give her $20 and she gives me 60-90 minutes of time to do stuff like work on this podcast.
I know it’s an incredible privilege to be able to pay someone to run errands for me. I recognize that and I appreciate it.
Support Your Neighbors and Community
You can also outsource things without exchanging money. You can take someone else’s kids to the playground if you love being outside, while they cook dinner kid-free, and then you all have dinner together, for example.
But if you can, I do support us all paying each other to do the things we don’t have the bandwidth or desire to do. The thing you hate or that is hard for you is fun and/or easy to someone else. Let’s all stick to the things we’re good at, and hire folks for the things we’re not good at, and spread out money around to each other so that we can all get paid to do the things we love and have fewer things on our plate that we just don’t really have the time, desire, or bandwidth to do.
I mean, as technology progresses, we can either outsource things to robots, or to workers overseas, or to people in your community. Which one you gonna choose? I choose neighbors, every time.