Hi friends! Welcome to my little experiment.
Over the past few months I’ve become obsessed with systemizing and optimizing my life.
Sometime this summer I got fed up with constantly feeling behind on work. I think I’ve had two normal work weeks in all of 2022. And by normal, I’m not talking 40 hours Monday – Friday. I’m talking about being able to work the three days per week that we have a nanny for Zohra.
For some reason, despite having childcare, I wasn’t getting anything done. I felt incredibly frustrated.
Where in hell is my time going?!
That’s the question that triggered this whole experiment.
I know that what I’m about to say is obvious to every parent who ever lived, but it is truly amazing how your time is no longer yours after you have kids.
This is how I think about it: Before having Zohra, I had 24 hours every day that I decided how to spend. After having Zohra I have zero hours in day. If I want hours to work, exercise, socialize, etc I need to buy them back (or get help from friends and family).
The thing is…I DO have childcare. Since March, we’ve had a nanny coming 3 days per week.
But I still couldn’t seem to get any work done. Why? Where was my time going? I needed to know.
I had just launched a “CEO Time Tracker” to have my Yay for 100K™ clients track their time. The goal of the tracker was to help them assess if they are spending time taking the actions that will lead to results.
I decided I needed to do the same for myself, so I tracked my time for a few days.
At the end of the 3 days, I was somewhat surprised to see that I had only worked a few hours total (maybe?). My time was getting gobbled up by household management tasks, errands, and various appointments.
What would I LOVE to hire out and what would it cost?
Let’s play a little game!
I love doing little thought experiments to help myself think outside the box, so I asked myself this question:
In an ideal world, what are the things that I would love to hire out?
Here’s what I came up with:
- Personal concierge
- Meal delivery
- Help with daily chores
I then estimated exactly how much these things would cost and how many hours per week they would give me to work, rest, exercise, etc.
What is MY time worth?
In order to figure out if it is worth it for me to hire out these services, I needed to figure out what an hour of my time is actually worth.
What is it actually worth for me to buy an hour of my time back?
Here’s what I calculated:
#1 – The value of one hour of my time to the business:
Business Revenue / (Avg hours worked per week x 52)
#2 – The value of one hour of my time to my personal salary
Personal Salary / (Avg hours worked per week x 52)
(Note: Though I certainly don’t work 52 weeks per year, I multiplied my average work hours by 52 to do a conservative estimate of my hourly value).
Is it worth it for me to hire out these things based on MATH?
I’ll be honest– when I first saw how much it would cost me to hire out my dream list, I felt discouraged. The total came to almost $4000 per month.
But after calculating what an hour of my time is worth to both (a) my business revenue and (b) my personal salary I could see that it is actually a no-brainer.
By not hiring out these services, I am effectively ROBBING my business and myself from thousands of dollars per month.
What have I done since doing this math?
1. Hired a personal concierge
Oooh, she fancy! Here’s the thing: I hate logistics, chores, errands, etc. And what I hate even more than doing those things is MANAGING those things.
Enter: Ask Becky
Becky owns a personal concierge business in Vancouver and she has been a life saver. Becky makes sure that my laundry and meal services get paused when I travel. She manages my email and makes sure I pay my bills. She helped me plan Zohra’s first birthday party and is helping me with my itinerary for our trip to Paris and Algeria later this year. When I told her I wanted a travel stroller that has been discontinued in Canada, she had one shipped from the US and delivered to my door.
2. Hired a professional organizer to redo our pantry and storage closet
Holy sh*t my friends. This is perhaps the best money I have EVER spent and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I hired the team at Neat Method Vancouver to organize our pantry and they did a fantastic job. I used to avoid looking at my pantry and now I want to sleep in it because it’s so pretty.
People keep telling me that it’s something they would do if they had the money. I respect that. I also encourage folks who have control over their income to calculate the cost of NOT getting something like this done.
I will be hiring the Neat Method team to organize every single room and space of my entire apartment from now on.
3. Hired a neighbor to come over 3x per week to do basic chores
This is one of those “out of the box” ideas I had one day and acted on it immediately. Momo and I have tried for years to get better at keeping our dishes clean and our living space tidy. Both of us hate doing it but love having it done (me more than him on both counts).
I thought, “Why not see if there’s someone who lives in our complex who would be interested in making some extra cash?”
Turns out there was! For the past few weeks our neighbor has been coming over every other day to do the dishes, clean up the kitchen, tidy up the living room, and take out the garbage and recycling.
4. Signed Zohra up for full time daycare
This was a tough decision because we really love Zohra’s nanny. That said, we knew that it was time for more childcare to relieve stress on our marriage, give me more time to work, create a consistent work week routine, and give Zohra a chance to hang out with babies her age (she loves other kids and I think she is bored hanging out with only us all day).
5. Meal and laundry services
These are two things that I’ve been paying for in some capacity for over a year and they are well worth it. I get fresh, chef-prepared meals delivered 2x per week from Fed (love the name!) and we hire We Do Laundry to pick up our laundry once per week and bring it back washed and folded. (The next step is getting someone to put it away for me!)
Most of the things I outsource are considered “fancy”.
And while I love feeling fancy, I don’t love the connotation that these services are unaffordable or ostentatious for the average person. Almost everyone who has told me they would outsource their laundry “if I could afford it” is someone who could DEFINITELY afford it (it’s not that expensive), but they have a belief that it’s not something that is normal for someone like them to pay for.
Let me be honest: I think that the big reason people don’t pay for this work is because it’s the kind of stuff that is traditionally done by women. Women feel like they need to do it for their families as part of their value. People don’t pay for this work because it’s the kind of stuff that women have always done for free.
What I’m really trying to say is this:
Hiring out domestic work is one of the most feminist things I have ever done.
I wish more people would calculate what their time is work, get clear on what their time sucks are, and pay someone else to take care of those things for them.
Every single person I’ve hired happens to be a woman and it makes me glad that I am able to pay these women for this work that is traditionally unpaid.
Looking forward to uncovering the next things to outsource!