I rarely meet people who tell me they're not busy. It seems like these days, when you ask someone, "How are you?" or "What's up?" you get a "I'm super busy, but busy's good!" with a forced chuckle. The world is speeding up and it's going so fast we can't get off.
Some people force themselves to unplug or go off the grid for a while. A temporary measure, no doubt it gives one the freedom that can only be had from taking a digital sabbatical. But, perhaps the problem isn't that we're doing too much. Perhaps the problem is that we're doing too much of the wrong thing.
You can simplify your life by paying someone else to do some work.
Don't think that this idea is only for the wealthy or lazy. Here's a short list of things I don't do that are well worth the small amount of money I give up for them:
- Thanksgiving dinner - My wife, daughter, and I ate Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant this year. It was delicious, all the food was hot and ready at the same time, and we didn't have to clean anything up.
- House cleaning - Speaking of cleaning anything up, we now use a monthly house cleaning service. Not only do my wife and I hate to clean, but by not having to scrub the shower or kitchen, we have more time to spend with our daughter as she crawls around our clean floors. Of course, we pick up in between cleanings, but coming home the day your house was cleaned is a great feeling.
- Easy research - I use Red Butler to take care of simple online tasks. They do a ton of other stuff, but I simply ask them to look up something online or find me a local service and it's usually done the same day. I don't spend time hunting; they do.
There are other things you could pay for. Some people use lawn care services. Others, like Trista Harris, have found ways to pay for creativity (while supporting independent artists). Few people I know change their own oil or do their own dental work (two different categories, but still). The trick is to figure out when it's worth paying for something. Yes, you can save money by doing everything yourself, but you won't simplify your life that way.
Here's how I do it (questions to ask yourself):
- Can someone else do it better? If I can get a better quality product or service when someone else does it for money - and quality matters - then I'll hire someone. I've paid someone to paint my house and shoot my book trailer. Each was money well spent.
- Will this save me more money in time value? In other words, if this would take two hours of my time, how much money could I earn in those two hours? If I can earn more than I'll be paying someone to do something, then I'm not out any cash. Time to call someone.
- What can I get rid of to pay for this? My wife and I don't have cable. That's how we can afford a house cleaning service (it's not because I'm an oil tycoon). Chances are, you're paying for other stuff you shouldn't (cable is a prime example, probably). Go out to eat less, eliminate bottled water, spend a day not consuming anything - you've got more than enough opportunities to find the money you need to pay someone so you can be less busy. Of course, my new book has 50 things you can get rid of (hint, hint).
What about you? What do you pay for? What's worth paying for? How do you decide?
Photo credit: flik