Do you have too much to do?
Probably – if you’re like most people. Life seems to have a way of piling on stuff.
Whether its paperwork, gadgets or pounds around the middle, we pass the time attracting things that hang around and build up and get in our way.
The answer, some would say, is to work harder, get more organised and get things done.
It’s a long way from how people thought our working lives would pan out a century ago…
In 1930 John Maynard Keynes, one the most eminent economists of the last century, believed that in a hundred years we would all only need to work 15 hour weeks to have a good living standard.
Which goes to tell you that you shouldn’t listen to economists – financial crisis anyone?
The point is that we all work – some of us are in low wage jobs that mean we have to put the hours in to pay the bills. Others because we are in high wage jobs, but we are desperate for the new house or car which means we need to put in the time at the office.
Or, maybe you’re building a business and have a thousand things to attend to – from producing and delivering a service to the rest of the jobs that go into keeping a business afloat.
One way to free up time is to employ other people to do things for you. But what should you outsource and why?
Chris Tucker says you should make three lists. Make some columns on a piece of paper and get started.
In the first column think about the things you need to get done but don’t like – even hate – doing.
Do you get too much email? Does it take too long to carry out research? Are you sick and tired of doing background research before you try and reach a new prospect?
Or do you hate gardening or cleaning the house?
In the second column list the things you can’t do (or that you could do – but others could do better).
There is a tricky one.
Perhaps you can do copywriting, website design, photo editing, and vehicle repair.
But which ones can you do really well? To a professional standard?
This list is really the list of things that you can get a professional to do better than you.
Finally – there is the list of things you shouldn’t do.
One simple way of working this out is to look at your income and working hours. Let’s say you work 2,000 hours a year and you make $50,000. That means you make $25 an hour.
If you spend four hours cleaning your house that’s cost you $100. You might not be paid that by anyone – but that’s still the value of your time.
If you can get someone to do it at half the cost – you’ve effectively bought back time – which you can now use more effectively somewhere else.
The secret is to spend your time on the most valuable thing you could be doing.
The point of these three lists is to pull out everything you can outsource – and then you can go and find virtual assistants or local employees and get them to do these things.
Will this save you time?
Some. You will replace work time with management time – so you’ll need to get good at management.
Adding people is not an easy fix. So really, before you outsource, you should do everything you can possibly do to automate.
But before you automate – you should really see what happens if you just stop doing it.
In a nutshell – if something you could do is both strategically important to you and will have a big impact – then you should do it.
The things that are core to your business and life come first.
Everything else can be dumped, automated or outsourced.