Outsourcing at Home

November 13, 2023

Browse by CategorY
Jump into my free
5-day video lesson program below
jump in here!
want to get a taste of the bright method for free?
Welcome! We're all about realistic time management designed for professional working women here in this little pocket of the internet. I'm glad you're here.

Listen on Apple or Spotify

When juggling work and home, lightening the load at home can be game-changing for giving you overall breathing space. 

Let’s talk about:

  • Valuing time over money; 
  • How to decide what to outsource; and
  • Examples of things you could outsource.

Resources mentioned:

Time Smart by Ashley Whillans

We Should All Be Millionaries by Rachel Rodgers

Busy season episode: Episode 19 of this podcast

To take my free 5-day program, the Reset and Refresh, click here: https://kellynolan.com/reset-refresh.

Full Transcript

Episode 29. Outsourcing Home Stuff

[Upbeat Intro Music]

Kelly Nolan: Welcome to The Bright Method Podcast where we’ll discuss practical time management strategies designed for the professional working woman. I’m Kelly Nolan, a former patent litigator who now works with women to set up The Bright Method in their lives. The Bright Method is a realistic time management system that helps you manage it all, personally and professionally. Let’s get you falling asleep proud of what you got done today and calm about what’s on tap tomorrow. All right, let’s dig in!


Hey, hey! So today we are going to talk about outsourcing things at home. This is a topic that is kind of surprisingly tricky to talk about. I think there are three reasons for it. One is that it obviously has an implication on finances, and I think that’s always a tricky area to talk about because people have different financial positions, and I want to be really sensitive to that.

The other reasons are also that I think when we talk about money, even regardless of your financial position, I mean, it’s obviously influenced by it, but people have different feelings about money. Even if you’re in a financially very stable, comfortable position, different people have different feelings about how money should be used and what spending money feels like, and you might be feeling it in your body right now like I am. And so, I just think that muddies it up a little bit more.

Then the third reason, to add even more to the mix, is some people have feelings around what we should be able to do on our own. It’s that feeling of, I mean, it gets all muddied up by we can have it all slash we need to do it all, and therefore, I should be able to do it all, and therefore, if I have to get help on something, I’m failing at XYZ position that it relates to. And so, you have these complicated landmines to weed through here as we talk about this, of the actual financial implications of this or thoughts around the finances, and then our thoughts about our “ability to should be able to do all of this.”

And so, please know that I’m going to try and do my best to be sensitive through all of this, but I’m sure I will put my foot in my mouth at some point, and I also just, despite all that, the fact that I could really screw myself up here talking about it. I also think it’s so critical to talk about because there, I think, is a bit of an issue in our society where even if you have the financial means to get help, a lot of women don’t, and there is a little bit of intentional or unintentional martyring of ourselves here, and I want to nudge people to understand what their options are, understand how to think it through, and then look creatively for solutions to help with that.

So to give some context to this, this is something that definitely started coming up in my mind more I would say when I started practicing law and making good income, more income than I’d ever had before. But I also had incredibly limited time. Obviously, that’s a recipe for just kind of thinking about this stuff of I’m making all this money but I have such little time, and when I do have time, I mean, I’m even working on the weekends as well, and so, when I have this very limited free time, I want to be spending it with friends and family, and I need to grocery shop instead and clean my disgusting house and all this type of stuff because it’s a tricky balance.

And so, that’s when I really started thinking about it and really realized my own thoughts around spending money and what I should be able to do when I was living alone in Boston working at a law firm and really wanted to hire cleaners but had all these thoughts around what that would mean and that that was too bougie of me and all sorts of stuff.

Over time, my thoughts around that have really shifted a lot, but that’s when I started thinking about it. And then it really started crystalizing later once I had kids, where my time became super limited even more, and I read a book by Elizabeth Whillans (I’ll link to it in the show notes) called Time Smart. By read, I mean I read the first two chapters. I need to keep reading it. So just to be really clear, I have actually not finished the book. But even the beginning portion of it was so illuminating to me where she just articulates it in a way that I don’t think will come as a surprise to people but is helpful to articulate this type of stuff to give us a framework to think about it.

And she just pointed out that American society, no surprise, really values money even over time. We work hard, we work hard, we work long hours to make money. And in reality, the data shows — I think she’s an HBS professor. She’s done a lot of research behind this stuff. The data shows that people who value time over money — and I’m sure there are qualifications here. You don’t want to be financially irresponsible. But if you’re spending money to free up your time or at least valuing your time, even if you’re not spending money in relation to this, but valuing your time over money, you are happier.

What, really, I found interesting is that this is true across socioeconomic demographic groups, which I thought was really fascinating because it feels privileged and it is a privileged position. But it feels overly privileged sometimes to take advantage of the money you’ve worked really hard to make to free up your time, and it was a little bit freeing for me, in addition to other things I think about, to realize that this is across the board for everybody no matter what your income level is. I would assume as long as you’re being financially responsible, and we’re gonna talk about what that means because that’s kind of a loaded term as well.

Ways I Value Time Over Money – 5:58

And so, some examples that come to mind for me in my life that have kind of happened at different parts of my life and what I find is interesting is you almost have to have these breakthroughs in different parts of your life is the flight example is one that comes to my mind. So I think in college and before college I always picked the cheapest flight. There was always a layover. I always picked the cheapest flight. It just seemed like that was the obvious solution. Over time, I don’t remember where I hit a tipping point, but it really just became clear to me I really should be taking the direct flights. As long as it’s not crazy expensive, even if it’s a couple hundred dollars more, that direct flight is so valuable because, one, it’s taking up less of my time even if everything goes smoothly, and two, if you take two flights, there’s more of a shot of things going sideways and you’re stuck at an airport, not even where you live, on a layover and all sorts of stuff that really can have an impact on your time. And so, shifting to booking the direct flights from the cheaper flights was a big breakthrough for me of valuing my time over money in a way that I remember it. It was such a lightbulb moment of this is worth it to me.

Also a slightly smaller one but more frequent one is driving father for gas that’s cheaper. She brings it up in the book, and it’s actually something that my husband helped me with. I had kind of grown up driving to the cheaper gas stations. Nothing crazy, but I would go drive a little bit farther out of my way to get the cheaper gas. My husband, at one point, I remember him just saying, “How much money are you saving?” The more I thought about it, it really became clear to me that, often, the price difference was maybe one to five dollars maybe, and I was driving farther, so actually spending more gas to get the cheaper gas, which was costing me money, and just the roundtrip or the additional time it would take me to go get the gas was kind of silly when I really broke it down.

And so, that was just another example where I wouldn’t go to the ones right by the airport, but I really and try and get gas when it’s convenient for me so that I’m not wasting time driving farther to get cheaper gas. Thankfully, I haven’t done that in a number of years, but I’m just sharing these little examples of in our day-to-day life of ways that we can kind of shake ourselves out of that cheaper-is-always-better approach. Maybe you’re not in that, and maybe you’ve not been in that for years, but maybe you have recollections of having those lightbulb moments too, and these are all little ways that we’re valuing our time over money in a sense. That gas example actually really might not save you all that much money. It might not make sense on either front, but either way it definitely doesn’t make sense on the time front.

I’ll also share one more example of this that’s like I know we’re gonna talk about outsourcing. These aren’t really related to outsourcing. But they’re examples of valuing time over money. Another one is selling things on a Facebook Marketplace or something like that. Now, I’m not knocking this for every situation, but I’ve moved a lot over the last couple years from a rental in California to a house that we bought, and then a rental in Minnesota to the house that we bought, and each time there are just things that you’re getting rid of, and you either trash or donate or sell them.

I was very tempted to sell things for a while because you invest good money in some furniture and things like that, and it just feels hard to let it go without getting any of that money back. Sometimes that is the right solution. But often, more often than we would like, the amount of time that you will spend getting that thing clean enough to take the photo, getting the right light to take the photo, taking the photo, saving it, cropping it, putting it up on the apps (on Facebook Marketplace but maybe OfferUp and all these other places), writing the description, dealing with the people messaging you and haggling and all that kind of stuff. If you really think about the amount of time that you’re taking for, likely, a lot less money than you paid for it, then maybe donating it, having a Salvation Army-type place come pick it up is just easier. It’s easier for you and faster in a lot of ways.

So that was just another example of things that have come up in my history where I’m like, “Hmm, maybe the approach I was taking before made total financial sense, but the value when I really incorporated  looking at my time, really wasn’t there anymore.” Again, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes those things are worth it, and I think that the sustainability efforts behind a lot of this stuff does make it worth it even with the time investment, but you just have to be a little bit careful of falling into the trap of, “I’m gonna get a lot of money for this,” and you’re gonna get a lot less money than you think, and it’s gonna take you a lot more time than you thought.

So I just find the whole concept of valuing time over money, within reason, to be a really interesting approach that I think can really shift life and it kind of comes up in these random little parts of life, so it’s always kind of interesting to catch yourself when you’re doing something to either recoup money or save money when you realize, “Man, I’m spending a lot of time on this.” I think Whillans, in her book, brings up even comparison shopping. If you spend a lot of time comparing where you’re going to get the thing for the cheapest amount of money, you’re spending a lot of your time to save ten dollars. And you just have to be aware of that exchange at a certain point.

Okay, so let’s talk about how do we take this kind of mental approach to time and money into the house because I think that there is a lot of room for women to — I just speak to women, so I’m not saying that this is just women, but most of the people I work with are women, so that’s why I frame it that way. There’s a lot of room for women to get more help at home, and it doesn’t always involve money, but I guess the point here is that even if it involves money it really might be worth the while.

So, in terms of selecting what to do, and then we’ll go into some examples, I just want you to take a step back so that I’m not just throwing random examples of things you could outsource at you. I think it’s helpful to be intentional about this, and what I mean by that is there are a couple of steps that I would think about it.

Outsourcing Step One: Awareness – 12:23

The first is just to be aware of where your time is going. I’m not gonna go into it. Obviously you know I think The Bright Method is a great way to have awareness about where your time is going. The big part of this is those invisible to-dos. Those invisible to-dos that we usually don’t have a full understanding of that are taking up our time. So that’s anything from things that you probably can’t outsource like showering and getting ready but that you could outsource like laundry and meals and all of that kind of stuff. Just getting awareness of how much time you are spending on this stuff is really important.

If you can use a system that’s not The Bright Method to get that awareness, totally fine. But the point is have the awareness, and don’t just have the awareness — I’ve seen some apps and things like that where they’re like, “We’ll help you see what the tasks are that you do at your house,” kind of in a checklist format, and while that has some utility, what I think is more powerful is really understanding the amount of time that this stuff takes.

So, for example (and we’ll come back to this later in the episode), you know obviously that someone in your house is cooking dinner or meals at some point. You know that. That’s not news to you. But sometimes it is a very illuminating exercise to break down all the steps that go into that and plot those out in your calendar and repeat them on a weekly basis because it might be more time than you fully appreciated, and it happens every day. I just see it every day. That’s where that tired, tired feeling comes in because you see it every day. So I really believe that make sure that you’re using a system that helps you see the invisible tasks, see how much time they’re taking, see how frequently they’re happening so that you really absorb the time commitment of some of this stuff and how interruptive (if that’s a word) it is on your life. So the first step is just being aware.

Outsourcing Step Two: Think Through Your Thoughts – 14:23

Then I want you to explore what your thoughts are around that, and I would look at the things that are frequent. If you do something once a month, I’m not sure it’s worth the time to even think about, “Do I enjoy this or not?” I mean, if we can eliminate it, great. But for purposes of this, you outsourcing something you do one time a month that takes 30 minutes, that’s just not gonna get you much bang for your buck. Where, if you are spending one hour to five hours a week on something, if we can outsource that, that’s really obviously more beneficial to you.

So I’d love for you to kind of look at the things that are taking up a lot of your time frequently and that you just don’t enjoy all that much. You don’t have to hate it. I just want to clarify that. You don’t have to hate it, but let’s say you’re like, “Man, this thing takes me four hours a week, and I just don’t really enjoy doing it, and there are other things I would like to do with those four hours a week like XYZ, like go on a walk, workout, get more sleep, get to shower every day,” whatever it might be for you, if someone gave you four bonus hours, would you spend it doing that thing, or would you spend it doing some other things? It doesn’t mean that we can perfectly outsource those four things, but I think it’s really important to understand that you don’t have to hate these things but also don’t just look at them in a vacuum. What would you do with that time? Because reclaiming that time has a ripple effect on other things in your life, and that’s really what I want you to start really thinking about here.

So the first step is to get awareness, like we talked about, and really make sure you understand the amount of time and the frequency that you’re doing something. Two, just think through your thoughts on those things, particularly the repetitive, time-consuming things. What do you enjoy? What do you not? And then again, how much time are you spending and how frequently?

Outsourcing Step Three: Get Creative About Freeing Up Time – 16:17

And then I want you to look into options of how can we outsource this whole thing that’s taking up your time or even part of it to lighten the load. It’s worth a caveat here that I am a firm believer in also sharing the load with a partner or other people living in your house or family members or even getting creative with friends and things like that. I’m just gonna table that side of things for today because I really want to focus on outsourcing and really when money comes into the picture, even though I know that, as I said, it’s a tricky issue. But I really want to dig into it here today because I think we need to.

What helped me a lot when I was kind of going through this myself is a book by Rachel Rodgers. She is a business coach. She’s also a former attorney, and she has a book called We Should All Be Millionaires. And in her book she had, I mean, a lot of amazing points. And some of them I’m just gonna share today because they really were lightbulb moments for me. She digs into how women growing up are taught that to be financially responsible it is to save money. Don’t buy the latte. Pinch your pennies. Don’t buy your frivolous things. Where men are taught that being financially stable and responsible is investing and growing money. Just going out there and growing more money versus pinching pennies and staying small, in her words. I think those are her words. And I think that was a really big lightbulb moment for me because it is very much how I have always historically operated with money. Even when I have the means, I still feel like, to be financially responsible and moral and all of that and to be doing the right thing, I need to be not spending my money frivolously.

And while there is some value in that — I’m not saying that it has served me well in a lot of ways — there is a tipping point where it’s causing me to stay in this kind of martyrdom place longer than I really need to, and no one’s actually winning from me being there, and I’m just getting more and more bitter, and everyone around me can feel it. So there are benefits to stepping outside of that pinching-pennies approach. Rodgers’ book really helped open my eyes to maybe this has kind of been a societal conditioning thing, and while there is some value and a lot of value in really managing your money in a responsible way, financial responsibility doesn’t always look like pinching pennies.

What she shared about — and I’ve heard from some other places, so I might be coddling this together from a couple of sources in my head. She really talked about getting really clear on not just your monthly budget but your dream stuff too. She’s who got me into really thinking about if you hate cooking and you want to hire someone to come into your house and cook for you one day a week to have multiple meals, look into how much that costs because we are kind of — I don’t know where it comes from, but I think of that as, “Well, only billionaires could have that,” and obviously if you have someone living in your house as a private chef, that’s not what I’m talking about. I didn’t even fully know that there were businesses out there where people come into your house, cook in your kitchen, put them all in Tupperware, and you’re all set for a couple dinners right there.

And her point is these things are usually more attainable than we kind of believe that they are, and even if they do cost more money, to really think about the value that they’re giving you and how could you make more money to accommodate that versus just saying, “That’s not for me,” and kind of shutting down and moving on. I’m not trying to be naive and say that — I know that not everybody can go for that. But it is a very good exercise regardless of what you end up reaching for, to really get clear on, instead of thinking automatically, “That’s not for me. I can’t afford that. That would be a financially dumb move. Who spends money like that,” which are all the thoughts that I used to have, is really going through what is your income, what are your expenses, and what else would you like to do with that money if you could, and how much would that cost, and look into it so that you understand, “Okay, if I made X dollars more a year, we could afford that. Let me think about how to do that.”

I would say that for at least a portion of the audience listening to this, it already is in their means to do maybe not necessarily that. That might not even be what you want help with. But if you wanted to outsource laundry or things like that that we’re gonna talk about coming up, it likely is in your financial means to do that, and I just want to point that out because this is something that I deeply struggle with. My husband often has to talk me through this stuff, so I don’t come at this from an area of I have this solved, but it is a very important element of freeing up your time that I do think we have to address, and that’s what I’m trying to do here today in a clunky way, I’m sure.

So to recap what we’ve talked about on this tricky topic is the context of valuing time over money and that across socioeconomic demographic groups, it does lead to more happiness to value your time over money, obviously, in a financially responsible way. We’ve talked about some examples from flights to gas to selling things that show that you can kind of have those breakthrough moments in different parts of your life over the course of your life.

We’ve also talked about how financial responsibility doesn’t necessarily mean pinching pennies. And so, if you’re open to spending a certain amount of money on freeing up your time around the house, there are ways we want to think about that. And that is, first, getting awareness of where your time is going; second, thinking through your thoughts around those kind of bigger hitters of what’s interrupting your time and being frequent and taking a lot of your time; and then, three, getting creative about how we could free up some of that time and just actually doing the research of what does some of this stuff cost because so often we rule out things without even understanding how much it does cost, and something might be outside of the range. There are plenty of things that I would love to do that are outside of what would be financially responsible for me, but if you want to make decisions on, “I really don’t want to be doing this thing anymore,” are there options of ways you could unload it?

I also want to add, before we get into the examples of outsourcing, is that there can be seasons for this. So you can say, “Not forever am I gonna hire someone to clean my house or outsource my laundry or do these types of things, but until my children are all in school and they’re above six years old,” or something like that, “We are gonna do this because time is just too crazy right now,” or on a shorter-season level, if you know you’re going through a busy season at work, “We’re gonna do this for this busy season of work,” and I have an episode on that. So also just understand that, sure, maybe it’s not financially responsible to do this forever, but during a season of life, it really would benefit you, and you’re going to do it for a particular season of life, and you could use your calendar to block out what that means for you.

So let’s dig into some of the examples of this. As I go through them, always just keep your mind towards what am I using this time for instead, because I think in a vacuum, it becomes money versus time so clearly, where we don’t fully think about, “And what would I do with that time,” and that’s, I think, the really important piece of this is maybe you just want more breathing space, but what does that look like? Is it more sleep? Is it a shower? Is it getting to read books? Whatever it might be, really thinking about what is time. It’s not just this amorphous thing. There are things you would actually do with it and keep that in mind as we talk about this stuff.

First Outsourcing Example: Outsource Cleaning Your House – 24:15

So the first one is the one I think is the most common: cleaning your house. I think there are a lot of people who do this. I don’t think I’m blowing your mind by talking about this, but I just want to throw it out there for the single people. When I was single, I had this thought of, “I’m alone. There’s not that much of a mess. I should be able to clean up after myself. This is crazy to hire cleaners.” I know a lot of single, working, professional women do hire cleaners. Follow them. Don’t do what I was doing. It’s just crazy to me how much time I used to spend cleaning my apartment when I had such limited time, and I just want to nudge anyone who is past me into spending the money if you can.

It took me probably four hours a weekend, not every weekend. I didn’t deep clean my apartment every weekend, but when I did, it took me at least four hours to do it, probably doing a subpar job compared to what professionals could do in, like, two hours. And so, it’s just kind of silly looking back that I didn’t do that, and I just want to nudge anyone in that position that it is just the best money that we spend I think. And so, I just want to throw that out there for you.

I eventually did it when I moved in with my now husband, and it really felt like an investment in our relationship at that point, which was also valid and great, but looking back, I wish I hadn’t waited. I don’t know why I thought, “I don’t do this until I have a partner.” I was worthy on my own, and I wish I had just done that then.

Just to be really clear here, too, I really enjoy hiring people in these ways, particularly when I am hiring an individual that I like, that I know I’m supporting them financially. I think if you’re doing that in giving them a great wage and doing it very fair to them, I feel good about that. And I feel like we can feel awkward about that element of this. As long as you are doing all this stuff in a very fair way — I’ve always paid my cleaners fair. I paid our house cleaner in California throughout COVID, even though when she wasn’t coming for six months or more. I think you can do this in a very fair way, but you’re really supporting someone’s economic stability, yourself, as long as you’re doing it in a kind and fair way. And so, I’ve said that a thousand times now. I hope you get what I mean. But I think that it is an important element of the economy and giving people flexible jobs in that way and things like that, that there is a lot of value there, and I really like that component of it if you can swing it.

Second Outsourcing Example: Outsource Laundry – 26:55

I’ve mentioned laundry. It’s something that I, weirdly, don’t mind doing now. But I will say that is very dependent on work. So when I was working outside of my apartment in Boston and I was never home, I also had a kind of communal laundry where I shared it with the apartment above me. And so, not only was I never home, but I couldn’t really let the laundry linger. You had to be on top of it, and that’s a scenario where, looking back, it wasn’t the end of the world. It was totally doable, but that’s a scenario where maybe I could have outsourced some laundry and gotten more value for it. Versus now, I just don’t really mind. I work from home, so I can move the laundry throughout the day, and then I fold it listening to a podcast or an audiobook at night. No big deal for me. So it’s not a, “Yes, it happens every week, yes, it happens pretty frequently, but it’s not something that bugs me so I don’t do it.” That said, I know a lot of people who do, and it really makes them happy.

So, again, that’s something to look into around you. There are services that pick up and drop off at your house. You could do it for not necessarily all your laundry but some parts of your laundry. You could really kind of get creative on what it would look like for you. Are you experiencing the value? Is it more hassle than it’s worth? You can just play around with it. But if it’s a pain point for you, check it out! You might as well experiment with it and see what the options are.

When I’m ever doing things like that — this is random — I love looking at local Facebook groups. I’m rarely on Facebook, but I’m in a local Facebook mom group in our area, and it has great resources for that kind of stuff. So just sharing for what it’s worth in terms of getting intel. You can always text out to neighbors and people in your area to get intel there as well.

Third Outsourcing Example: Outsource Meals – 28:35

We’ve already touched on this, but meals are a huge pain point for a lot of people. Even for people who enjoy cooking, it just takes up so much time, and so, you can find your middle ground here. The first thing that I would say — and this kind of follows my own trajectory with meal planning. For context, I have never been a good cook. I’ve never been a good cook. I’m not really all that interested in it is what it comes down to. I’d rather spend my time doing other things, where I know some people really love it. It’s meditative for them, and that’s awesome. It’s just not who I am, and so, for the context of that, just know that meal planning has always been the main, main pain point of my running-home experience, even just when I was by myself through until now.

And so, I just wanted to kind of share the options of things that I have gone through in my life. So the first thing I started doing — I know this sounds small, but it was a big game changer for me, I still remember it, is buying chopped vegetables. I know that sounds silly, but I kept buying all this produce, and then I would end up throwing it out, and part of what it came down to is the amount of chopping. I don’t know why I would get — overwhelmed is the wrong word. I was just like, “I don’t want to do it,” and so, I wouldn’t do it, and I would go get takeout or something, and then I would throw away all this produce. So buying chopped vegetables saved me a lot of time, and it actually had me play through on the meals I was going to make. So I raise that as an option for you.

At some point, Instacart and Shipt entered the picture, and I’m their number one user right now. And so, I throw that out there for you. That is really great, and I still buy the chopped vegetables through Instacart or Shipt when they’re an option. Just a caveat: they might not pick the produce you would pick. It’s not 100%, but I would say 90% of the time I’m super happy with it, and the amount of hours it has saved me driving, shopping, driving back, all of that, especially when I have my kids in tow, is well worth it to me, in my opinion, including some of the produce I wouldn’t necessarily have picked.

The next level or supplement to some of this stuff would be like a delivery kit that you cook. So we used Gobble for years. It’s kind of like a Blue Apron but the shtick is that it’s faster, and so, that really worked for us. When we had one kid, that was really what worked well. My husband, when he was home, would cook while I did bedtime, then I’d come down to a whole meal. Eventually, we started incorporating our oldest into that, and that worked really well for us for a really long time.

Another option is more like delivered meals that are fresh, and so, that’s more like Factor. They’re pre-made meals, and Factor, I think, is relatively fresh, and then you can also do local options. If you want to Google around in your area, you might be able to find some local options that do meal delivery. We did that for a while where we had a cooler on our porch, and they would come drop off food, I think it was once or twice a week. A van would show up and drop off food in the delivery. I also know there are places where you can go pick up and then get the food in that way.

Fourth Outsourcing Example: Outsource Cooking (If Possible) – 31:48

And then the other tier of this is what I had alluded to with Rachel Rodgers’ book. Rodgers’ book is really what pushed me into looking into this, and it has really been an incredible addition to my life, so I wanted to share it with you in case someone listening, this would be a good addition to their life. I completely understand it’s not applicable to everybody, but I also think, again, a lot of women out there have the financial means to get support but still don’t because of all the thoughts that we have around money and what we should be able to do and what people will think, and all of that kind of stuff. And so, I’m gonna make myself talk about something that I always am really nervous to talk about for that purpose of it.

Just for context, and not that I probably should have to explain this, but I think it’s worth explaining why it’s worth it to me is, first of all, I live in the Midwest where things are cheaper. My whole life is cheaper here compared to when I lived in Boston and California, including this, so this service might not be a right fit for you, and hopefully I’ve offered some other solutions that are a good fit for ya. But I also just wanted to share it for the people that would be interested. What I did is I just Googled “Minneapolis Private Chef,” or “Personal Chef,” and just looked at who came up and what came up and what their offerings were and flexibility and things like that.

I will say, along the lines of what I was saying before, I found a woman-owned business. She comes in. It’s her business, and I just love supporting what she’s doing. She’s also a friend now. She might be listening – Hi! [Laughs] I have a lot of happiness supporting her in addition to the awesome benefits that I am also getting, from a food standpoint. I’ll also throw out there that I’m alone 70% of the nights because of my husband’s job. And so, juggling pickups and feeding the kids and helping them do stuff and bedtimes and bath times and all that kind of stuff and cooking their meals, because they won’t eat the good stuff or very much of it, all of that stuff is on me most of the nights. What was happening was I was eating frozen food every single night or eating crap and it wasn’t going to my health, and it just wasn’t a good situation, and I couldn’t figure out a way out of it, and this was a really amazing way out of it for me that has allowed me to eat healthy because it’s easy for me to do it. It’s fast and frees up a lot of my time for the other things, which usually go to helping my kids. At that time of day when I would be cooking, I can help them.

Again, I know people do this all the time. I just really struggled with it. It’s always been hard for me to cook meals and help the kids and do all of that on my own. I totally get that other people do it. I struggle with it, and I just have to accept that that was a really hard thing for me and be like, “Okay, how are we gonna solve this? Can we solve this? Is this affordable? Do we feel good about it? Is it working?” all this kind of stuff. I’m happy to say it’s been a really great experience for me. I don’t know if it’ll be a season. It’s hard to imagine going back. But it might be, and that’s okay too. So I just want to share that with you as an option, but if that isn’t an option for you, from everything to buying the chopped vegetables to Instacart to using Shipt to delivery kits to delivered fresh meals, all of that, I hope there is a solution for you if meal planning is a pain point for you.

I’ll also throw out there that some of my clients love cooking but it’s still a pain point. And so, you can think about finding some sort of creative balance between these things. So maybe you order a Gobble-type thing for two nights a week or even a fresh meal delivery kit for two nights a week, and then you do more of a traditional home cooked meal two or three other nights a week, and then you have takeout and going out or that kind of stuff.

So you can get creative on if you want to have home cooked meals, what does that look like for you? Does that have to be five nights a week? Could it be three nights a week? Could it be two nights a week? And really just get comfortable with what that looks like for you. Again, it can be for a season and then you can shift it down the road.

Fifth Outsourcing Example: Outsource Childcare – 36:01

A couple of other smaller ones are childcare. Obviously, I think a lot of people spend a lot of money on childcare, so it is what it is. I just want to throw out the option of getting more childcare help potentially on a weekend. This is obviously freeing up some of your time, but what I really want to emphasize here is less about freeing up your time but more helping you. A lot of my clients struggle with feeling like throughout the weekend they’re constantly pulled between spending time with family and their kids, if they have kids, and then also wanting to do and needing to do a lot of the productive things.

By hiring help, even though it’s taking you more hours away from your kids, what I have found in my own experience and with clients and even just friends who do this is that, then, let’s say you get a sitter for three or four hours on a Saturday morning, and you get to do your workout or you do your grocery shopping or you do whatever you want to do during that time that would kind of nag at you all weekend if you weren’t able to have this protected time to do it, you do those things during that corralled, protected period of time, and then the rest of your time is freed up to really be more absorbed with your kids and soak it in. And so, that’s just more freeing up your time, but it’s really improving the quality of your time and freeing up your focus on both the productive things when you have that opportunity and you’re able to do that focus because someone else is watching your kids, and then you’re most also present and able to focus and be present with the kids when you have them. So that’s an option. It is freeing up time. But I think the real magic comes from that ability to focus with kids, then, when you are with them.

Sixth Outsourcing Example: Giving Gifts That Free Up Time – 37:46

Other things that come to mind are gifts. I love giving gifts that free up time. I know that’s a little bit unrelated, but whenever someone has a new baby now, unless they really have a registry they’re pushing, I’ll send them a Grubhub card. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m protecting my own struggles with cooking that you now fully are aware of. But when I had a new baby, just being able to order food was so wonderful, and I do that for people who live somewhere else where I can’t cook them a meal. If it’s not clear, no one wants the meals that I’m cooking. So there you go! [Laughs]

Seventh Outsourcing Example: Outsource Creatively – 38:18

I’ve had clients do really creative things like hiring holiday lights, hiring people to come pick up dog waste in their yard. There are companies that do that, and so, if that’s a pain point for you, you can do that. I mean, really, if you have a pain point, there are so many cool services out there. People are so creative. Just Google around and see if someone in your area does it. You might as well check it out.

Other people hire household managers or more like coming each day, cleaners that help with the full home, organizing after the home explosion every morning. So you could kind of think about it in that way. I don’t have a lot of experience with that, and it’s something that I definitely need to shore up on for the clients that are interested in that.

I do have another client who hires a virtual assistant to help with all of the ordering birthday presents and ordering the Instacart orders and all of that kind of stuff. If you’re going down that route of a house manager, virtual assistant, or more of a daily cleaner-type person, what I would get clear on is really be clear on what you want them to do. I would spend a month or two and open up a phone Notes App and just start listing as tasks come to mind. You just kind of brain dump them there and just keep adding them over the course of a month or two, and then hire using those specific things that you want help with. Sometimes I think we jump into it being like, “Yeah, that sounds great! I need help,” and then we’re not really clear on what we wanted help with. And so, you can keep an eye towards that, what we were talking about in your calendar, of what are the things that are taking up a lot of time. What would be really beneficial to get off my plate. Get very clear on that and then use those very specific things in your job description, through the interview process in your contract to really be clear on that so that everybody has their eyes open to what is expected, and more so, so that someone is helping you with stuff that actually will help you. So sharing that one.

All right, I have talked at you a lot, and I’m sorry this is a very long episode. I hope it’s interesting. I hope it’s helpful. I hope you don’t hate me. Yeah, I just want to nudge people to really be aware of where their time is going, look for the things that take up a lot of time that are frequent that you don’t enjoy, and then get creative to find a way to lighten the load, either in full or in part, to help you free up time so you can use it for stuff that you love. Challenge yourself a little bit here. I know I have to. Financial responsibility does not mean always saving money at the expense of your own time and happiness. Sometimes you can really get clear on what are our monthly expenses, what’s our income, and then do we still have sufficient funds to spend some of this money not just on things or experiences but also on the day-to-day freeing up of time.

Hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought on ways to do that or aim to do that, aim to make some more money to do that. It might be a line of fire for you to advocate for yourself at work in ways that you need to. However you want to take it, I hope that this helps someone, hopefully you, reclaim some of your time and really not use it just for other productive things, but really help you enjoy your life and give you some breathing space back.

All right! If this episode was helpful for you, please feel free to share it with a friend. Just a little PS at the end that my current time management program (the next one) is currently open for enrollment if you want to check it out. It’s at www.kellynolan.com/bright, and more importantly, thanks for being here, and I’ll catch you in the next episode!

[Upbeat Outro Music]

Add a comment
+ show Comments
- Hide Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

check out my 8-week bright method time management program

Want to learn the full Bright Method, a system designed for working women that reduces stress and ups your peace of mind when it comes to managing it all (personal and professional)?

Learn more
Want to focus on email first?

Reclaim your time from your inbox

Spending too much time in your email inbox? You’re not alone. Check out my short’n’sweet, self-paced email management course to help you reclaim control over your inbox.

LOVE these strategies?



Hello, more breathing space.

Learn three realistic time management strategies desgined for professional working women that you can implement in just 20 minutes. Enter your info below & get the free guide in your inbox in a minute.