Whether you’re a small business owner, solo entrepreneur, or just a hard working person trying to get more done in less time, you can maximize your productivity by outsourcing. A lot of people hear the word “outsourcing” and they think of big businesses sending jobs overseas or hiring people in other countries to work in call centers – but that’s not the only kind of outsourcing. Outsourcing can include anything that you hire another person to do so you won’t have to do it yourself.
I run a company that helps companies get more sales leads and improve their marketing. In a way, my company offers “outsourcing” to companies who don’t have the right skills or don’t have the right capacity to do these activities for themselves. In my business, we use outsourcing to help our company grow and help manage a lot of business tasks that other people can do better or cheaper or more efficiently than we can handle them ourselves.
You don’t need to be a business owner or executive to outsource some of your responsibilities. If you think about it, we outsource many things in our personal lives such a tax preparation, public transportation, and often, cooking meals for our families (delivery, frozen foods, and going out for meals). As a business owner, there are probably a lot of things you are trying to do all on your own that you could effectively outsource like customer service or tech support. Outsourcing helps us all save time, money, and focus on what we do best.
Here are a few ideas for how you can use outsourcing to maximize productivity and efficiency in your daily life:
1. Hiring a virtual assistant: A few years ago, Tim Ferris wrote a hugely influential book called the Four Hour Workweek that explained how he changed his life and ran a successful online business by hiring low-cost virtual assistants in foreign countries to help him do everything from respond to e-mail to schedule meetings to manage the finances of his company. If you want to start a business, hiring a virtual assistant can be an ideal way to maximize your time. There are only so many hours in a day, and if you can hire virtual assistants to take some of the routine administrative tasks off your to-do list, this will free you up to create, plan, and execute your business strategies. You can hire a virtual assistant using online talent platforms like Elance and Odesk.
2. Delegating tasks to others: One of the most important lessons that people need to learn when running a company, or after they get promoted to management at a job, is learning how to delegate. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true – as you attain more responsibility in your career, you need to learn to get better at surrendering control. You can’t do everything yourself, and you can’t micromanage every single step of every single work process. What are you doing in your daily life that could be delegated to someone else? Delegating doesn’t have to mean “hiring help.” It can also be a simple matter of asking other people to do tasks that they can do more efficiently than you. For example, find out which household chores can be handled most efficiently by you and your spouse, and then delegate accordingly. Do you hate washing dishes, but are handy at cleaning toilets? Does your spouse love to vacuum and hate to mow the lawn? Whatever it is, find a way to maximize your time by doing the things you do best.
3. Value your time by hiring help: There’s an old saying in business, “You have to spend money to make money.” In the same way, in your personal productivity, you sometimes need to spend money to save time (as long as the time you gain is more valuable than the money you spent). Think about the value of your time. Let’s say you make $50,000 per year. That means an hour of your time (roughly) is worth $25. (Assuming 50 weeks of work per year and 40 hours of work per week.) To free up more of your time, it might be worth hiring babysitters to watch your kids while you work, or hiring people to clean your gutters, paint your house, clean your house, or cook your meals. Think about the value of your time. Isn’t it worth $100 to pay someone else to install your new dishwasher, rather than spend 5 hours trying (and struggling) to do it yourself? Many people undervalue their time, and end up wasting time on unproductive tasks that they don’t even enjoy doing. By saving time by outsourcing your household chores and tasks, you can free up time to start a business, work harder at your job, or earn more money on the side – or just enjoy more of your free time. Why spend 2 hours (time value = $50) raking leaves when you can hire some neighborhood kids to do it for $10?
Getting more productive isn’t a matter of superhuman strength or relentless determination – sometimes it’s just a matter of taking your focus off of less productive tasks and focusing more on the things you do best. Outsourcing – in all of its forms – is one of the best ways to boost your productivity and make the most of every hour of your day.