Budgeting, saving and investing for a brighter financial future

Should you hire help or go it alone?

By Jen Taylor,

Comments (1)

Are you swamped with tasks at work or at home? Even on a tight budget, sometimes the best solution is to hire help. The question is, when?

Should you hire help or go it alone?Is your schedule at work or at home so busy you have trouble getting everything done? One answer is to lighten the load by hiring  someone to do some of your projects or tasks for you. This can free up the time you desperately need to juggle your other responsibilities, and can create a bit more of that elusive work-life balance we’re all looking for. It can even help avoid expensive errors and potential injury. The only catch is figuring out when you can manage a project or task alone, and when it’s best to hire help.

Bringing in help at work

Many business owners struggle to manage the growth of their businesses, finding they eventually hit a tipping point where they need help or must turn away new work or clients. This is usually when they find themselves taking business calls in the grocery store or falling asleep over their laptops in the evening. Shelagh Cummins, co-founder of MomBiz, has some wise words: “People who try to do it all, by default end up doing nothing well.” She and her partner, Lara Galloway, know that in order for their business to grow they need to focus their efforts where they matter most. They each focus on key areas where they shine, and hire help where it will support their business vision, not dilute it. She makes an important point: You create more success when you spend your time doing what you do best.

What kinds of business tasks can you hand off? Tracy Lalonde, owner of Office180, offers project-based administration in Saskatoon, pulling from a wide range of experience to support local businesses with whatever parts of their business need managing. She recommends business owners keep a running list of tasks they avoid, procrastinate about or dislike. These are often the first things to be handed over.

“It’s important that business owners hand over only what they are comfortable with,” Lalonde says. “If they give up control to the point they become worried because these projects are in another’s hands, that won’t help, either.” She advises business owners to maintain balance by keeping control over project areas connected to their creativity and unique talents.

Hiring help at home

At home, some projects are beyond our scope of expertise, and some are just too time-consuming to take on. Robin Farr, a communications manager and freelance writer in Calgary, is facing this situation right now as she and her husband consider a large-scale home renovation project. Although they have completed some projects on their own in the past, this time they are looking to hire a professional to finish the basement in their home. With a busy schedule and two young children, they looked at their available time and energy and made a decision practical for their current circumstances. Handing off the project to professionals will cost them, but as Farr says: “Everything else is a huge bonus: time saved, making it someone else’s responsibility, and having ticketed tradespeople do the work are all really appealing prospects.”

Of course, when a project requires professional expertise, such as wiring, plumbing or dealing with asbestos, you need to bring in the professionals, but even when the job requires less skill, you may still be better off having someone else do it. There is no shortage of do-it-yourself-project horror stories to give the average homeowner shudders: near-electrocutions, compromised bearing walls, hardwood floors ruined by over-enthusiastic sanding and even startling paint colours.

There are some areas of our personal and professional lives where we must work hard and keep the responsibility on our own shoulders. But we are always going to gain more when we focus our time and energy on our top priorities. Recognizing our talents, then seeking out support that complements what we do best can be the quickest way to success.

Jen Taylor writes about life and family in the Little Miss Mocha blog.

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Dorothy Lipovenko on

Finding extra time to do tasks is like saving for retirement: you just have to set priorities whether you want to spend $100 a week eating out or not.
Same difference with finding time in a squeezed world: get off your cell phone!
Don’t take my word for it but add up how much time is wasted yammering about nothing. And once that time is gone, you cannot ever get it back.
Log your calls for a day, or if you are more enterprising, for a week: who did you talk to, what about and the duration of each call.
How many of the calls were necessary? How many were idle chatter or gossip?
The time is there. It’s up to you how to spend it.

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