Money·4 min read

8 Tasks You Can Outsource to Get More of Your Time (and Sanity) Back

Hands checking off a to-do list
Illustration: Daniele Simonelli
Apr 22, 2021

Adulting ain't easy. But you don't have to do it all yourself.

Yeah, right.

We get it. Even though women make up about half of the U.S. workforce, they’re still responsible for a larger share of household responsibilities. And the pandemic piled on even more to-dos, especially for moms. One report showed that mothers are 1.5 times more likely than fathers to have added an extra 20 hours a week of housework and child care tasks. Basically a part-time job. But *checks notes* there's still just 24 hours in a day. Time to outsource.

But how?

Start with your inner circle. Because the best help is often free. If you have a partner, talk to them about the best and fairest way to divvy things up. If you have kids, ask trusted family or friends to babysit. If you don't get any takers, see if there are free or reduced-cost child care or before- and after-school programs that could give you back a few hours. And have kids do their part with age-appropriate chores. Even toddlers can tidy up...and clear the way for a Roomba to handle the vacuuming.I think I need more help than that.

I think I need more help than that.

Next step: make room in your budget to afford the extra expense. Cancel unused subscriptions. Downgrade services (is all that data necessary if you're on wifi all day at home?). For the perfect savings/outsourcing combo, use services like Billshark or Truebill to negotiate down your bills for you.

And once I'm ready to pay?

List all the tasks you have to complete each week. Identify the biggest time sucks and what you could offload to someone else. Some ideas:

  • Cleaning and home maintenance: Get referrals from neighbors and friends with platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor. You can also check sites like Handy for vetted, screened professionals and TaskRabbit.

  • Laundry: The true neverending story. House cleaners can help, sometimes for an extra fee. TaskRabbit and Care.com let you search specifically for laundry assistance. You can also look for wash-and-fold services near you, where you drop off dirty clothes and pick them up clean.

  • Grocery shopping: Platforms like Instacart or Shipt can help you find someone to grab your groceries. Peapod, Amazon Fresh, and Walmart+ can also deliver right to your door. And certain services help with specific items – like Misfits Market for produce and ButcherBox for meat.

  • Cooking: Subscription services like Daily Harvest, Freshly, and kid-centric Nurture Life and Yumble will send you healthy, pre-made meals. And next time you opt for takeout (maybe tonight), forget the mom guilt and remember you're supporting your local economy. 

  • Child care: Care.com and UrbanSitter are great for babysitting, but they also offer tutoring via Zoom or in person.

  • Pet care: Rover, Fetch! or Wag! can help with your fur babies. 

  • Admin work: You can consider hiring a personal assistant to handle things like scheduling appointments, making travel plans, researching summer camps and activities, and more. Find family-focused assistants through My BTLR and GetFriday.

  • Budgeting: A personal assistant can also help with the money tasks mentioned above to make more room in your budget…to outsource more. Full circle. There are also apps for that.

Anything else?

Don’t discount the small stuff. Seemingly quick or easy routine tasks like staying stocked up on toilet paper can eat away at your day. Automation saves minutes here and there that can add up to quality time. So set your bills to autopay. Subscribe to a delivery service for the stuff you always need. Let your coffee brew itself. (Hot take: it tastes better that way).

theSkimm

Take care of yourself. Even if it means spending some money to outsource a few to-dos. Because getting time and sanity back can be the best return on investment.



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