Ever since Christopher Thomas told us to, “work smarter, not harder,” Americans have looked for ways to be more efficient and effective at work. Motivated by the desire to leave the office stress-free every Friday night at 5 p.m. sharp, we try to remember to focus on the important tasks first, avoid the projects that yield little return and remind our inboxes just who’s boss.
We spend all week dreaming of a relaxing weekend and yet, for most of us, the reality never lives up to the fantasy. Instead of using our 48 precious hours doing the things we love — spending time with the people we care about or simply relaxing, most of us spend the weekend tackling a to-do list filled with chores and errands. According to the American Time Use Survey from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend an average of almost three hours a day on activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management, plus another 20 minutes daily on personal phone calls and email. We spend just 45 minutes a day, on average, socializing. For some reason, the concepts of efficiency and effectiveness don’t carry over to our personal lives. But they can and should.
Tim Ferriss, angel investor and author of “The 4 Hour Workweek” is a huge proponent of what he calls outsourcing life. Ferriss regularly hires others to do research, plan parties, make travel arrangements, shop and even sort through his emails to delete the junk. He says people are hesitant to delegate their personal tasks but that when they do, a small investment in a temporary or virtual assistant can yield incredible returns.
At TaskRabbit, we watch people realize those returns every day. Harried professionals, tired moms, stressed out caregivers, even busy students are posting tasks online and letting our runners take care of them. These people are mastering the art of living smarter.
We realize that life is busy. We can help.