Productivity Tactic #6: Outsource

Alright (creative) people. So now you’ve got that list of your resolutions, broken down into bite-size steps, and organized in a nice spreadsheet (or other system) based on priority and the deadlines you’ve set for yourself, right? And now you’ve also realized how you can take full advantage of the time you have by not justifying busy work and procrastination.

But the problem remains that even if you maintain maximum productivity at all times (and let’s be honest, none of us can do that), you’ll probably still have more to do than time to do it.

So I’ve got another super top secret tip for you: Outsource!

Look at your list of steps towards each resolution, and ask yourself if any of those can be automated or done by someone else?

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself to make sure it gets done, or done well. The key to being a good manager (of your time or anything else) is the ability to delegate.

Even when it comes to your personal list of goals and to do’s, there is nothing wrong with seeking additional resources to help you achieve them. In fact, handing over that task to someone (or something) else may even get it done faster and better than you could have on your own.

So don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, the key to having more time is doing less.

Personally, I recommend doing this in either (or both) of two ways:

1. Empower others to make decisions for you and for your goals, which eliminates you as a bottleneck and helps the task get done faster. You may even find this allows problems and tasks to resolve themselves (or disappear altogether).

Here’s an example: One of my resolutions is to consolidate my finances and investments under one easily-managed roof – emphasis on easily-managed. So part of this is finding an investment advisor that I can trust and empower to help decide what my portfolio should look like. After several meetings with Chase Investment Services, and making the initial decisions with their help to get setup, I feel confident I can sit back and trust them with a lot of the ongoing monitoring and managing of my account.

2. Maintain control of your decision-making, but hire a virtual assistant or other service to help you execute (human or machine).

If you hire a human helper, there are a great many companies that specialize in offering virtual assistance for your every personal and business-related need. I recommend checking out Your Man In India, Elance, or Brickwork India for efficient and affordable help from the other side of the world. Sure you can hire an assistant right here in your own time zone, but the benefit of an assistant from India is that they work while you’re sleeping! So you can give them a task, then go to bed, and in the morning they’ll have it waiting for you in your inbox. You can’t beat that!

Of course you don’t have to turn to human assistance to get the job done. Depending on the task you need help with, there are a great many tools and software designed especially for taking the burden off your shoulders and doing the work for you. Some of my favorites for, say, managing your finances are QuickBooks Online (which I now use for my business finances) and the super-simple Mint.com (which evolved from Quicken Online, and I use for my personal finances). Both of these will automatically update and aggregate your financial and bank information, saving you the manual trouble.

Now I can understand the hesitation to ask for help, and I know it’s hard to let someone else do something for you. But remember you can still maintain as much of the control and final decision making as you want. And if you delegate well, it can save you mountains of time and stress.

So get out there and start outsourcing!

You’ll thank me later.

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Questions? Comments? Absurd Ideas? Comment below and tell us about one thing you can outsource to improve your own workflow and sanity.

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4 thoughts on “Productivity Tactic #6: Outsource

  1. Pingback: Resolution Tactic #7: Imitate « The Chaos Whisperer

  2. Pingback: Resolutions in Review « The Chaos Whisperer

  3. Pingback: Productivity Tactic #7: Imitate | The Productive Artist

  4. Pingback: Resolutions in Review | The Productive Artist

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