I moved last week. The change was way overdue. I wasn’t very happy with my home and that meant spending too much money on eating out, spending too much time puttering about town, and spending too much energy fretting over the whole situation.
As the end of my lease started to approach, I began stalking Craigslist, which is no easy feat in a market that straddles two different directories on the site.
Finally, I found an apartment that looked like it just might be perfect. Newly remodeled, view of the river, close to downtown, not too far up the hill, dishwasher, washer/dryer, fireplace, porch. It had every single one of my “must haves” and then some.
I called, realized that I knew the landlord through the Astoria business owners group I belong to, and made an appointment to see it. My partner and I took a look, loved it, and we decided it was the one for me.
That was 1 week into my March from hell. Actually, it was an incredible month. Just jam-packed with incredibleness in a way that leaves me feeling overwhelmed, overloaded, and stressed out. Lots of social visits, lots of travel, a launch, and some deadlines.
And then I had to move.
Hiring movers was a last minute decision. I don’t have a lot of stuff and it seemed like it would be relatively easy. But the weight of actually having to do it started to become heavier and heavier.
Finally, my partner and I made the decision to give up the DIY route and find someone else to do the heavy lifting. That was two days before we needed to make the majority of the move.
Luckily, I found a team of movers through the Uhaul website and made the appointment. On moving day, it took them 1.5 hours to move all the furniture out of the old place and into the new place.
Most of the work leftover was the “fun part:” arranging, hanging art, finding homes for my things.
I was able to get back to work immediately—albeit running my internet through my cell phone. I was able to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home. And I was able to start loving my new home.
The truth is, I can’t live the life I want to live or do the work I want to do on my 24 hours alone.
At Pioneer Nation, Laura Roeder pointed out a neat little “trick” that we use to combat this problem:
If you have more work or life than you can fit in your own 24 hours, you can trade money for a few of someone else’s 24 hours.
That line got a lot of laughs. It’s simple and it’s true.
But the whole truth is that it’s actually so much better than that.
The real trick is that the things we need to be hiring for take less time for the people who specialize in those things and cost us much less in money than the equivalent level of stress it would cost for us to do it ourselves.
For example, many of you know that I pay someone to answer the bulk of my email. Let’s break that down:
1) Megan takes about 3 hours per week to process all of my general mail.
She does so without emotional baggage or distraction from more pressing obligations. If I were answering my own email, it would take much more than 3 hours per week and would regularly involve emotional upheaval. I’d be constantly battling the desire to be more available for clients or to be creating new resources for my community members.
2) Megan respects my boundaries more than I do.
Megan knows how many weeks ahead of time we’re scheduling. She knows what hours of the day I like to take calls. She knows which days of the week are off limits. She knows when to follow-up with me and when to not pass something on to me. While many of us are good about knowing what our boundaries are, it’s so easy to want to be of service that you ignore them. Megan keeps me from doing that.
3) Megan can make suggestions to optimize our workflow.
Because of Megan’s unique skill set (well, unique from mine—you too can find someone with this skill set), she is attuned to seeing opportunities for optimization. So if I’m making something more complicated than necessary, she’ll point it out and we’ll create a better system. That makes both of our lives easier and—again—means that I have to use less of her 24 hours to get ahead.
In the past few months, I’ve hired for public relations, transcription, event coordination, ghostwriting (starting drafts that I can finish), social media, and ad optimization. In the next few months, I’ll be adding a team of licensed facilitators. These are all things I’m perfectly capable of doing. But they’re just not things that fit in my own 24 hours. And they’re worth more financially to me than the stress of trying to cram them in.
Now, I can’t promise that the next person you hire will provide you the same benefits. But what do you have to lose? Only stress, hours off your work week, and that nagging desire to ignore your own needs.