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Outsourcing. It’s been a big buzzword in many productivity books in the past few years. The concept makes a whole lot of sense: put the low-return work out to someone else and concentrate on the work that returns the highest payout.
It makes perfect sense if you have a lot of research or clerical work to accomplish; and if you are one of those people, look into having a virtual assistant help you out.
But what if the stuff is more mundane?
Most of us are not in the position to outsource the mundane work that is low-return. In my life that includes things like housework, cooking, walking the dog and the various things that make life run smoothly. Sure, I could hire a housekeeper, cook and dog-walker, but my income doesn’t stretch to that. So what is an ordinary person to do?
Outsourcing on the Cheap
It is possible to outsource mundane tasks. All it takes is a little ingenuity and a definition of what outsourcing is.
What Is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is simply getting necessary work done — but not by you. It doesn’t mean having to pay for work, or that the work has to be done by a human.
So by that definition, getting work done can include using machines, or trading work with someone who is more efficient at the task.
Here are examples from my life:
Outsourcing By Machine
I routinely turn over my cooking duties to my crockpot, breadmaker and rice cooker. I put in the ingredients and the machine takes over the rest.
My floor cleaning is also outsourced, in the form of a Roomba vacuum. I turn it on, and it cleans the area, returning to charge itself when it’s done.
My garden watering is outsourced by a set of timers attached to sprinklers.
In each of these cases I may have to be there at the start, but I can let the machine do the work for me. If I had outsourced this to a human, I would have to be there at some point anyway, so I figure it is about even.
Outsourcing By Trade
Not all of us have the same talents and interests. (Thank goodness, or it would be a really boring world! But I digress). We can put these differences to use.
My husband, as a result of years in the Navy, wants his clothes folded a certain way. As a result, he does the laundry in the house. I find it taxing to get the clothes folded (at all) and this was a natural outsourcing.
The opposite is true of the dusting. My husband, for whatever reason, doesn’t see furballs rolling across the floor or cobwebs, but is allergic to both. So I take care of those.
Since I am allergic to grass, he cuts the grass. I handle paperwork better, so I deal with permission slips.
We play to our strengths, and the tasks get done quickly and with less effort.
Outsourcing As Training
The third way I outsource is by having my daughter work. My mother, old-fashioned soul that she is, calls these “chores”. I prefer to call it outsourcing. By giving my daughter tasks to do, I get the work done, but it also provides her with skills she will need for the future.
Do you have any thoughts about outsourcing? Share below.
Photo by Justin Dolske