When Should You Outsource Your Chores?

Professionals are busy people. Whether you are a doctor, lawyer, stock broker, or even financial advisor, there will always be a constraint on the amount of time available per day.  What tasks do you delegate, and what should you handle yourself? This predicament applies to both our professional and household lives.

Should you or your secretary arrange flights for an upcoming business meeting? Should you stop at the grocery store after work to purchase produce and do you cook it? Should you hire a private chef or should your nanny cook the food? Who does the laundry, vacuum the house, or manage the yard?

You Must “Understand” Some Chores Yourself

Regular readers of this blog know that I have written about car and toilet maintenance.  You don’t need to be like MacGyver (hopefully you are old enough to know who he is), but competency in practical matters will only help you become a more well-rounded person.  It doesn’t matter if you earn $150,000 a year or $850,000 a year—you should know something.  My approach is that if you don’t know any practical matters Of daily living, you won’t even know if the people you hire are taking you for a ride. I’ve seen plumbers bill out 2 hours of work for a 15 minute job.  I’ve seen painters charge out 14 cans of paint for a job that would normally require six.

Understand Your Limitations

While you will benefit from being handy, you don’t want to jeopardize your career either by getting injured. Falling off of your roof while cleaning your gutters or cutting your hand while trimming some tree branches is not the greatest outcome for a cardiothoracic surgeon. Likewise, some chores may not be worth your time given your skill level. If you have never tiled a floor, you might not wish to waste an entire palette of fancy travertine tiles and go to town on a kitchen remodel. Just because you can crack someone’s chest open and revascularize their heart doesn’t mean that you are qualified to lay tiles.

Start Simple And Work Your Way Up

The best way to build your fund of common knowledge is to pick a topic and learn about it. Hit up the local resources at the public library in your free time or online. Choose an area that interests you and is low risk to yourself and low impact on your household. It can be as simple as cleaning the grout on your tiles or learning how to wash and wax your car properly. Picking a chore that doesn’t require substantial equipment is useful in case you decide that you no longer which to continue it after the first trial. As you build upon your skills, you can venture into more challenging tasks: (1) Learning to clean your toilet (2) Learning to replace the toilet seat (3) Learning to change the flush valves (4) Learning to replace the entire tank.

Decide How Much You Wish To Diversify

Remember, you still have a primary job. You trained for an entire decade of your life to become a doctor or professional–that’s what still pays the bills. If your side hustles or hobbies end up producing a higher income than your day job, then you’ve done something well.

What household chores do you consider to be worth your time? Where do you draw the line between DIY and outsourcing?

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