Over the course of our days and weeks, there is much that grabs for our time and attention, often not bothering to see if we're already booked clear full before doing so. Overwhelm, then, can easily take over, further depleting any remaining reserves for rolling our sleeves and doubling down. Work, marriage, relationships, housekeeping, parenting, fitness, nutrition, hobbies - it's not that we don't want to engage fully in these important parts of our lives, it's just that, when they're all put together, the size of the elephant compared to the size of the fork can make for little headway.
With August comes the inevitable second beginning of the year. A taking of stock, a purging, a recalibration, a freshened plan. And thank goodness, because more than six months before checking the moorings might make for disaster for me. Recent early morning hours have found me scrawling lines across pages that have come together like new rope, anchoring my vision and intention for myself, my family, and my work.
Here's the beautiful thing in all this: I've realized how important it is to recognize both the things I enjoy doing, and the things I don't.* When seen, written down in two columns on a page, it's revelatory. It's also freeing. Boom. Permission granted to spend my time doing the things I love, the work I love, and outsource as many things as possible that I don't.
Whew. I don't have to do it all.
While common outsourcing categories include laundry service, housekeeping, child care, handy-man service, groundskeeping & lawn care, and services offered by electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and painters - all good for sure, I've found that the same idea can apply to other things as well. If there's a way something can be done that costs you less time or no time, that's outsourcing. Here are a few ways I plan to simplify and outsource on the home front:
:: Pet food on auto-reorder. I started this service a few months ago and wonder why I hadn't done it before. New bags of dog and cat food arrive at my pre-determined interval with no effort or thought on my part.
:: Automatic bill pay. Although most of our bills are paid automatically, it's time to use our bank's bill pay service for the few outliers that I've been writing checks for.
:: Hot lunch at school. If it saves me time, mental space, and frustration (another lost lunch bag?) and helps support local produce and meat growers, it's an easy decision.
:: Batch-purchase groceries. When the nearest sizable grocery store is twenty miles away, it makes daily, semi-weekly, or even weekly trips costly in both gas and in time. I'm going to develop further the once-a month grocery shopping I began last fall in a city two hours away to include stops at Lucky's Market and Costco, two stores that better fit my budget, aesthetic, and values.
How about you? What have you outsourced in order to have more time available to do the work you love?
*A recent read that helped illuminate this for me was 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think