By Jiji Lee

Outsourcing for Regular People: How Delegating Your Daily Tasks Can Change Your Life


Think you have to do it all? Think again.

What is one task that you’re always dragging your heels on?

Maybe it’s cleaning the bathroom tiles. Or updating your resume. Or organizing your W-2s. Or designing a powerpoint presentation. Or maybe it’s chopping vegetables.

Don’t worry about how silly or mundane or even how simple it may seem. This exercise is for you and your eyes only. 

Now, what if you could ask someone else to do that task for you? 

Think about it. How much easier would your life be if you could divvy up those frustrating tasks and hire someone else to do them? Imagine the possibilities that could open up. You would have time and energy to focus on the things that truly mattered to you and work on the things you were genuinely excited about.

In our hustle and bustle culture, we feel this need to prove that we can manage every facet of our lives--we have to pick up the kids, cook dinner, give a presentation, all while meal prepping for the week and organizing our closets. But there comes a certain point when you have to concede that you can’t do everything yourself.

In fact, you *shouldn’t* do everything yourself. Your personal and professional life would thank you if you let someone else pick up some of the slack--especially if that someone else is a professional who can do a better job than you. 

Our Ink+Volt founder Kate Matsudaire sums it perfectly: 

Delegating is a key tool for professional success, but it’s often ignored as a tool for personal success. What I mean is the power delegating has to make you a happier person by eliminating a task you don’t like or which isn’t a good use of your time, and freeing you up to pursue activities that utilize your best skills or just bring you the most pleasure.”

We know it’s important to have more balance in our lives and be realistic about what we can take on. But the question remains: how do we hire someone to do our tasks when we don’t have the same financial resources as, say, a tech CEO or a Hollywood celebrity?

Fortunately, there are affordable ways to outsource tasks and errands--whether it’s finding someone on TaskRabbit or trading services with people in your community. Below, we’ve rounded up ideas for tasks and errands that can be outsourced to a professional or community member, allowing you to focus on the things that are important to you, without breaking the bank. 

The benefits of outsourcing your tasks

If you feel guilty about paying someone else to do tasks that you should be doing on your own, try reframing it as an investment in yourself or your business. Instead of being vigilant over every area of your life, you can be responsible for the bigger picture and key priorities. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you determine which tasks you should delegate and outsource.

  • What are you frustrated by? As mentioned earlier, maybe there’s a task or errand that’s a constant source of stress and anxiety for you. For instance, if you always drag your heels on doing your taxes, it’s worth the extra money to hire a professional to do it for you. Not only will they do it in half the time, but they’ll do a better job than you. 
  • Does it require supervision? If your presence or approval isn’t required to complete the task, consider outsourcing it. Things like fact-checking or cleaning your home won’t require too much oversight and can be easily delegated to an outside party. 

Next, create a to-do list and include all the tasks that you would usually do over the course of a week or month. Do any of these tasks fit the above criteria? Are there any tasks/errands that you can delegate to family members or colleagues or hire a professional to achieve? 

Here are other tasks that can be easily outsourced or exchanged:

Accounting

If you’re a freelancer, doing your quarterly and annual taxes can be a huge source of stress. You have to keep track of invoices, record expenses, and calculate your estimated taxes--and this is all on top of doing your regular freelancing work! If your taxes drive you crazy, then hire a tax preparer or accountant. It might seem like an unnecessary expense but think of it as an investment in your business and your time. Plus, the energy you would have normally expended on doing your taxes, you can now direct towards your freelancing business. 

Marketing/Design

Unless you’re an expert in graphic design or Photoshop, hire a professional to design your marketing materials for you. 

We can waste so much time trying to pick the perfect background color or figuring out if images and text are aligned. Yet it’s so easy to find affordable professionals who can do the work for you and save you so much time and energy in the process. 

This includes hiring someone to create and develop your professional website, shooting a professional headshot, designing invitations for special events, business cards, and newsletters.

If expenses are a concern, maybe you can barter services with someone who’s just starting out or looking for services themselves. For example, if you're a writer/editor maybe you can offer to write copy for a graphic designer’s website, in exchange for them designing your business cards. Or ask friends and family members for referrals. People who are just starting out in their business might be more open to offering their services at a lower rate to build up their client list.

House maintenance

If cleaning your home isn’t your forte and the mere thought of organizing your file cabinet is driving you up the wall, hire someone who can get the job done. A budget conscious way to do this is to use these services on a quarterly basis. If you don’t like cooking or meal prep, but you also can’t afford to do take out every night, maybe meal kits like Fresh Direct or Blue Apron are an affordable alternative. 

Research/transcription/fact-checking

If you’re a freelance writer, you can spend a lot of time doing transcription or conducting research and fact-checking. If you find yourself allocating too much time to these tasks, put out a call on social media or LinkedIn to find a reliable and affordable person to take on these tasks.

Group classes/personal trainer

If you’re having trouble finding the motivation to work out or muster the courage to finally write that dream novel, consider signing up for a group class. 

It’s hard to feel motivated when you’re working towards a big personal goal or taking a stab at something new. But not all of us can afford career coaches or personal trainers. A great alternative is to sign up for a group class, at which you’ll get encouragement from others, while learning how to build discipline and focus. 

These days, there are tons of group fitness classes or trainers with affordable rates. You can also find a variety of online writing classes to help you reach your writing goals. The built in schedules and assignments of these classes will make your goal seem less daunting and help you get to work. Plus, once you get the hang of things, you will find it easier to have the discipline and motivation to pursue these goals on your own in the future. 

If you’re looking to save money, try getting a group of friends together to do group fitness activities. Or seek other writer friends to form accountability groups and email your writing goals to each other. 

So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed with a million things to do, do an audit of your to-do list and budget and see what areas you can delegate to someone else. Not only will delegating tasks save you time and energy, but it will help you gain some peace of mind.