Most of us spend almost 30% of our waking time on personal chores and household work. The rest of our time we largely spend working at our paid jobs and commuting. Many of us are overwhelmed every day, and the higher up the corporate ladder we climb the less time we seem to have. The paid work gets done (because it has to) but we’re often left feeling stressed and guilty that we don’t have the time to manage the home front the way we’d like to, or spend quality time with our families and friends. What’s a time starved professional to do? One word: outsource.
Once upon a time we were living in a do-it-yourself world. We spent weeks organizing our kid’s birthday party and we took pride in renovating the basement ourselves. Today, not so much. Do-it-for-me has taken the reins as we reconsider the value of our time and focus on seeking better balance and maximizing our enjoyment of life.
According to Phil Ruthven, chairman of IBISWorld (an Australian-based business information analyst firm), about one third of all household chores are now being outsourced. “We think about $300 billion will be spent this year by households.” That’s a lot of personal outsourcing! In recent years, an Australian company called Airtasker.com has gained in popularity. Their service allows users to outsource everyday tasks such as folding laundry, furniture assembly, grocery delivery, child care, cleaning and even hiring a companion to join you for a friendly dinner.
The notion of outsourcing everyday chores and services is becoming mainstream around the world. For a modest hourly fee, customers with GetFriday.com (a company based in Bangalore) are assigned their very own personal concierge / virtual assistant. As a customer you can call your VA at anytime and request almost anything, from help to draft legal documents to more everyday chores such as paying bills.
For those in high snack brackets, there is luxury oriented, UK-based Quintessentially.com who help elite members with both business and pleasure. They’ll book your last minute babysitter and arrange a private charter to Dubai. All done at a moment’s notice, 24/7.
Safe to assume that most of us don’t need that last minute charter to Dubai. But certainly we appreciate and have become accustomed to affordable luxury. Take for example Hello Alfred, a New York concierge service offering clients their own House Manager who visits them weekly to make sure the fridge is stocked with their favorite must-haves, the paper towels and other basics are replenished and the trash is taken out. Services that save people time and give them a touch of everyday luxury.
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, truth be told, it sometimes feels like it takes a village to live well. When keeping up with your own life gets difficult and stressful it may be time to take stock and consider options that can restore balance and peace of mind. There’s asking for help, and there’s contracting help. Both viable options on the path to living your best life.