Too Busy? Buy Some Time!

Too Busy? Buy Some Time!

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of people say they’re too busy. Too busy to keep up with new business, too busy to spend more time with their families, too busy to grab a drink… Something tells me most of these folks are not spending their time as wisely as they could (wasting it responding to unimportant emails, hanging out on Facebook too much, watching TV, etc.), but I’ll save that for another day.

Let’s assume, for purposes of this article, that no one is wasting time and everyone is being as productive as possible. Most people believe their time is limited and they cannot acquire more of it. I completely disagree. I assume you understand the benefits of hiring staff or childcare to free up your time (professionally and personally). However, I’d like to encourage you to take a look at some of the more innocent-looking culprits that could be stealing time away from you, and then consider how you can offload them. Here are some examples of how I buy time, and what I get in return.

Cost: $120
Frequency: 26x a year
Time Purchased: 3 hours

Dog Walker
Cost: $10
Frequency: 3x a week
Time Purchased: 30 minutes

I now share, along with some friends, a part-time “House Manager,” who does a little bit of everything including grocery shopping, dry cleaning, running errands, and meeting technicians at the house.

House Manager
Cost: $150
Frequency: 1x a week
Time Purchased: 10 hours

Shopping online can save a lot of time as well. We buy most of our everyday, non-perishable items on the trifecta of and They share the same cart for bulk orders, and offer free next-day shipping if you spend $45. (They also save all of your purchases, so reordering is a snap.) We spend about $100 a week and pay about 5% more than we would pay at a store – but we save time that we’d otherwise squander on travel, parking, standing in line, etc.
Cost: $5 premium (over local stores)
Frequency: 4x a month
Time Purchased: 1 hour

We take our dog Bodie to Planet Pet for doggie daycare. They recently started offering a pick up/drop off service for $6. It used to take us 15 minutes total drive/parking time plus another 5 minutes waiting for a caregiver to bring Bodie out. This was a no-brainer.

Doggie Daycare Pick Up/Drop Off
Cost: $6
Frequency: 3x a week
Time Purchased: 20 minutes

I could keep going, but you get the idea.

Most people assume that because I run two businesses, I must work 20 hours a day or neglect my family. While I certainly work hard, and could always spend more time with my family, I’m pretty satisfied with the balance in my life. This is because whenever I’m doing something other than working on something important for one of my businesses, dedicating time to my family, or pursuing personal interests, I ask myself how I can offload whatever that something is. If you did the math on the examples above, you’d find that for $13,676 annually, I’m outsourcing 780 hours of my time. That’s only $17.53 an hour.

Let’s say you outsourced the same amount of time and spent half of it (390 hours) with your family or traveling, and the remaining 390 focused on your most profitable activities. If your hourly rate at your most productive is $250, you would earn an extra $97,500 annually. And unlike hiring an additional staff member, there are no upfront costs (money or time) for any of the items mentioned.

If you started outsourcing everything I listed (though I realize not everything applies to everyone), you would only pay $263 in exchange for 15 hours in the first week. What could you accomplish with an extra 15 hours a week? What have you outsourced to free up more of your time?



  1. by Stu McLaren on June 12, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Love the practicality of this post Derek! And since my wife and I started hiring help for various personal jobs, the stress level in our house has decreased DRAMATICALLY.

    There is a LOT to be said for what a reduction in stress can do for the overall energy in a home.

  2. by Derek Coburn on June 16, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks, Stu! I can’t imagine going back to the way it was. 🙂


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