The Importance of Outsourcing for Your Sanity

Posted March 1, 2014 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five
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Fifteen months ago, I left Career Girl Network as CEO and launched into a new career in the corporate sector. I didn’t immediately consider the sheer difference in schedule and free time I would see between the two lives. Sure, when I was the CEO of a tech start-up, I worked 24/7, but I also had full freedom and control of my time. I could work from my kitchen as easily as I could from the office. I could run an errand at 10:00am as easily as I could at 6:00pm. Today, my schedule revolves much more around what some might call more traditional hours, and more than that, a whole lot of travel. And if I’m being totally honest, I like this a LOT better than I did being an entrepreneur, so it’s a win/win for everyone involved.

The one piece of this transition that was difficult for me was the number of errands I simply don’t have time to run anymore. I don’t leisurely walk to work by the UPS store to drop off a gift for my niece, I can’t take two hours out of my day to wait in line at the Apple store, and I definitely don’t have time to run to the grocery store whenever I feel like it.

So if there’s one lesson I’ve learned personally in this professional transition, it’s this: you MUST outsource if you want to stay sane. 

Now, I know that the recommendations I’m about to give aren’t for everyone. Outsourcing tasks in your life require money. It will always be cheaper to do these things yourself. But my husband and I are a double income corporate family, and at this point in our lives, our time is much more valuable than the dollars these outsourcing solutions cost. So take them or leave them, but these are the things that make me sane now after over a year of getting used to my new job and new schedule.

  1. Dry cleaning and laundering services
    When I worked in nonprofit organizations and as an entrepreneur, the cost of dry cleaning never seemed worth it to me. On top of that, any time I would dry clean something, I would forget to pick it up for weeks on end, and then in Chicago, you have to carry it a few blocks which is annoying in itself. Now, though, I want to spend the weekends hanging out with my husband and family, not strapped to an iron. I still wash a fair amount of clothes, but dry cleaning a lot of things has helped immensely.And to alleviate that drop off/pick up annoyance, enter Dryv (www.dryv.com), a convenient service you where you schedule pickup and delivery and handle all payment through a convenient iPhone app. We often have pickups and dropoffs come at 9-10pm at night on weeknights, which is incredibly convenient, and their costs are comparable to any other dry cleaner as well.
  2. Cleaning services
    My husband and I have been together for 6 years, married for 4, and throughout that time, he’s been trying to convince me to get a cleaning lady. I am not ashamed to call myself a neat freak, and I actually really like cleaning my own home, so I resisted. But last fall, when we bought a larger condo in Chicago, I acquiesced. And while I’ve not loved my first cleaning lady, and am currently looking for a new one, I definitely won’t go back to doing the whole shebang myself. I still clean and keep our house quite clean, but not having to do the “deep cleaning” of mopping and de-cat-hairing furniture is a dream!Ask around to friends in your neighborhood and find out who is reputable and reliable for them.
  3. Never go to a grocery store or a Target again if you don’t want to.
    About a year ago, my husband and I started using Instacart (www.instacart.com) religiously. Instacart is an incredible grocery delivery service where you can shop at various grocery stores (in Chicago, places like Costco, Jewel, Marianos, Whole Foods, and more), and then a real person goes to the grocery store and buys your groceries. For us, it is so much better than a corporate grocery delivery service with its own warehouse because you can ask that real person to get three green bananas and three yellow, you can specify that it’s OK for them to replace brand names if they’re unavailable. And ultimately, most of the people employed by Instacart are college students, stay at home moms, and other very cool people who do a great job shopping for you.In addition to Instacart, there is now Google Express (www.google.com/express), a service that will not only grocery shop for you, but also go to Ulta, Kohl’s, and many other stores. If you’ve ever had to carry home blocks and blocks big boxes of cat litter, bulk toilet paper, or had a bag with milk or pasta sauce break, you will love these kinds of services. Both are less than a $5 delivery fee and worth every penny!
  4. Don’t haul your own packages to UPS/USPS/FedEx.
    This is a new one for me. Two weeks ago, well in advance of my niece’s 9th birthday, I went to the American Girl store and carefully bought her gifts. Then, two weeks later, her birthday rolled around and I realized I never sent her present. Worst. Aunt. Ever. Right?Enter services like Shyp (www.shyp.com) or for Chicago Locals, ShipBob (www.shipbob.com).  With these services, you take a photo of the items you need to ship, send it over on their app, and they will come to your location, pick it up and ship it for you – all paid on the app. Now with these services, I know I’ll never miss a birthday mailing again!

There are countless other ways you can outsource to keep you sane. These are just a few that have worked for me this last year. If you have ideas that work for you, share them with me here or on Facebook!


About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."