It’s 2 p.m. I haven’t eaten lunch. I just got back in town from a conference, so I have nothing easy and quick to prepare for lunch. I sure as hell am not getting in my car and wasting time driving somewhere to eat, because I’m swamped with work. And I’m starving. This is ridiculous!
Add to the list that the laundry isn’t done, the house isn’t clean, the new employee’s computer isn’t ordered, the Mother’s Day card isn’t in the mail, etc., etc., etc.
One of the biggest challenges as an entrepreneur, an intrapreneur, a parent, or heck, a human being, is to keep functioning in all the roles of your life as things grow and seem to speed up.
The behavior I tend to revert to is to just power through the work and then spend time with my son. The house can wait, the laundry can wait, and lunch can wait. But we all know, despite how we plan, that this is causing the failure of the foundation of both a business and a household, as well as one’s personal strength and health. And by failure, I mean crash and burn.
So I’ve thought long and hard and am adopting a new approach. In today’s world of nearly instant responses through social media, technology and people with niche services to help us, it really just takes a shift in your perspective to access what you need, quickly, so you can focus on your most important priorities (mine are building my business and being present with my son) without everything crashing down around you.
Here are some examples:
- I’m starving. Text your friend who is always raving about the Chinese delivery place. Don’t just get the name. Ask her, “What do you order, and from where? I’m starving.” Everyone likes to share info. You’ll be surprised how quickly you get an answer ? and a meal. Now, is this a long-term solution? No, not for me anyway. I’m not paying for or eating Chinese delivery every day. But for a first day back in town, no groceries, swamped with work – it worked.
- A helpful note: Rather than a mass social media post, I texted a friend who is in my workout group. I know she is mindful of choosing a somewhat healthy option, which saved me time in filtering general responses to a social media question. That can work too but isn’t quite as streamlined.
- I need to order a new, basic computer for a new employee. But I don’t know what the heck “basic” means and start to overwhelm myself with options I don’t really understand. So I ask myself – who can help me? Oh, my niece just graduated with an IT-related degree. I shoot her a message explaining exactly what I need the computer to do. In 10 minutes she emails me a link to a better option, for less money. That’s her “thing” – she understands the specs and knows the best places to order from. Would I ask for her help on a complex, industry-specific IT issue? No. Can she steer me (preferably with a link I can follow to click and order) for a basic computer? Absolutely.
Get the idea? We have people at our fingertips with knowledge and suggestions they are happy to share. So my immediate question now when I hit a “simple” problem is, who knows this and can make a quick suggestion? I’m always respectful of people’s time, as I know they are as busy as I am, so I use the rule of thumb that if I wouldn’t mind someone asking me for a lunch delivery recommendation or for something quick and easy for me to share, then I’m OK asking them.
So then I looked longer term at how others can help my life not be such a mess. This was HARD for me. I wasn’t raised in a family that used a lot of services. Paying someone to clean my house or help with errands is completely adverse to my upbringing and sense of financial responsibility. Then I did the math. What I can complete and what that will profit to my business, versus what I’d pay someone to handle a need, most of the time comes out completely in favor of paying for help.
Here are some examples:
- I can pay two women $100, after tip, to clean my house. I don’t mind cleaning. I kinda like it when I have time. But I don’t have a lot of spare time, so it falls by the wayside, which causes stress. In the four hours it would take me to clean the house, I can generate far more than $100 in my business.
- I can pay a brilliant college student in my neighborhood who set up a Mom’s Support business $15 an hour to drop off/pick up dry cleaning, post office runs, meal prep, etc. For $30 she crossed an unbelievable number of items off my to-do list that were becoming pretty urgent, but that I didn’t have the time to handle. And I finally got some gifts mailed out that had been sitting on my table waiting for me to “have time” to go to the post office, which feels really good.
- Outsource my personal bill paying. Again, this seemed so lazy to me. Like, really? You need help paying your bills? Well, yeah! I pay a bookkeeper to pay my company bills, so why not also have her handle my personal bills? It takes her about 30 minutes now that she has everything set up, and it costs me about $30 a month. Maybe. The time I gained back having to jump online to make a payment or run to the bank to handle something last minute I MORE than gained back, even paying her for her time. That’s what she is great at – and not what I am.
When I heard about services like this, they felt completely frivolous. So I never tried them. Then I got desperate, and then I did the math. It makes sense, it relieves my stress and I feel more on top of things. I’m more productive and I’m not standing in line at the post office.
Think about it. What are the biggest things you are stressed about, don’t have time to handle, etc.? Is someone else great at that? Do the math – I betcha it works.
You can often find things IN your business to outsource as well. The hands down biggest thing our clients tell us they are delighted to have outsourced is new employee hiring. Check out our Smart Hire Solution if you want to have us help you find a “great fit” new team member and more than save money by gaining back the time you and your team spend navigating the hiring process.