If you’re not familiar with the term outsource, it means that you pay someone to perform a task that you used to perform yourself. Businesses outsource parts of their work all the time, but it wasn’t until last year that Weston and I realized we could outsource parts of our lives. It all started when we read 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam. Laura made us recognize two things: there were some areas we were wasting too much time and some areas we weren’t spending enough time. In order to stop wasting time, we had to be more intentional about how we spent our time. In order to make more time for things that are important to us and be able to do things that we thought we didn’t have time for, we decided to outsource a few things. Here are the 3 areas I outsource:
My idea of cooking is ordering pizza. I don’t like cooking and it takes up way too much time that could be spent doing something I actually like. When we first got married, Weston expected me to do all the cooking because of the ridiculous stereotype that women are the only ones that should be in the kitchen. That’s great for 1950s housewives that stay at home, but not feasible for a working wife in today’s society.
At this particular time, I was working 40 hours a week at a desk job and then coming home to edit thousands of photos from the weddings and sessions I had the previous weekend. Cooking was no where near a top priority for me. Weston didn’t care much for cooking either and we would argue over whose turn it was to cook. After working all day, neither of us wanted to nor felt like cooking – especially during tax season (which is also wedding season).
We tried the Hello Fresh route, which turned out to be too expensive and too time-consuming. Most of the time we would end up getting dinner at Jack’s or Subway because they are the closest restaurants to our house. 168 Hours gave us the brilliant idea to pay someone else to cook for us because cooking is not one of our core competencies. I’m not talking about a live-in chef that cooks all our meals on a whim. We have a friend that is a stay-at-home mom who happens to LOVE cooking. We asked her if she would be interested in cooking our meals for us each week and she happily agreed.
For the last 7 months, she has done our grocery shopping and cooked our meals for us every week. If you’re wondering, she gets our meal schedule at the beginning of each month and plans our meals out for the entire month. We don’t know what the meals are until the beginning of each week because we want to be surprised. She brings a week’s worth of meals at a time and we put them in the freezer until it’s time to pop them in the oven. Within about 30 minutes, we have a healthy meal and zero prep work on our end. I can’t tell you how much time this has saved us every single week!
Weston and I don’t worry about cooking or having to go to the grocery store anymore. We don’t spend hours cooking every week and we are eating healthier meals. The best part? We are staying within our budget and we are saving our hard-earned dollars that we used to waste on fast food.
Before you judge us too harshly, we only outsource the deep cleaning. We are still responsible for picking up after ourselves and doing our own laundry; however, we do pay someone to deep clean our house once a month. To be perfectly honest, the deep cleaning always took a back burner before we started outsourcing it. We were usually too busy or too exhausted to even think about deep cleaning our house. We are both perfectionists (Weston more so than me when it comes to the house), but we could never seem to make deep cleaning a priority. At least not until it got to the point where we couldn’t stand it anymore and we would have to spend an entire weekend cleaning. Again, 168 Hours convinced us that we needed to outsource our deep cleaning.
I wish I could adequately describe the relaxing feeling we get once every month when we come home from work to a house that feels clean. We no longer feel overwhelmed by all the surfaces begging to be cleaned because they are getting cleaned regularly now. Even though cleaning wasn’t in the budget a year ago, we are saving so much money on groceries and eating out that it more than covers the cost of a clean house.
I almost said that this point is for the business owners, but really, it’s for everyone. We just started tax season and I already hear complaints from people that are working on their own tax returns. Why not pay a professional to do this task for you so that you can focus on what you actually love? The best thing I did for my business was to hand my taxes over to my accountant (AKA my husband). Taxes stress me out because they are so complicated and I’m scared I’m going to mess something up. As a small business owner, I want things done correctly the first time and that includes my taxes. Plus, letting a licensed professional handle this part of my business frees up my time to focus on my clients and their photos.
It was difficult at first to relinquish control in all three areas because I am a perfectionist and I like for things to be done a certain way. However, I finally came to the conclusion that since these are not my core competencies, I needed to outsource to people whose core competencies are these tasks. It was also embarrassing to admit to people, even our friends and families, that we outsourced our cooking and cleaning. We felt the weight of the judgment before it even happened and most of the time they didn’t even judge us. It’s impossible to do everything and if outsourcing tasks that you hate in order to make time for things you love is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
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