One of my biggest learnings this year, as I’ve struggled to balance work and four kids and some semblance of order in my home, has been that I cannot do it all myself.  In fact, when people ask my advice about being a working mom, it’s always the same: find a way to outsource some of your tasks.  I think women have been trying for to long to enter the workplace and maintain the same level of “homemaking” that their stay-at-home mom friends are maintaining, and the result is that we continually feel burnt out and resentful.  I try to keep this in mind with my own job . . . that some of what I earn has to go back into outsourcing the things I would have been doing at home.  Childcare is a big component of this, of course, but I’ve also been struggling with figuring out a way to outsource some of the home maintenance/administrative things that I can’t complete with my current work schedule.

Enter TaskRabbit, who heard my lament about finding good help and offered me a month to try their services.  Lucky for me, TaskRabbit is launching in Orange County after becoming hugely popular in Boston and New York.  It’s similar to the Craiglist’s marketplace, without the skeeve factor.  Tasks can range for small errands (buying groceries) all the way up to handyman repairs or website building.   For example, yesterday I had someone come out and list about 20 items I’ve been wanting to list on ebay.  These things have been in my garage for months, and in a couple hours, it was done.  (Meanwhile, I played with the kids in the backyard).   Later this week, someone will be coming to help me mount our tv above the fireplace, a task I’ve been wanting to do since we moved into this house seven years ago.  On Friday, another TaskRabbit will pick me up and take me to the airport for my trip to San Francisco for the Mighty Summit.

TaskRabbit’s current campaign (and my challenge for this month) is to Do More. Live More. Be More.  Over the next thirty days they are rallying busy Americans to spend more time doing the things they love, and outsource the things they don’t.  Here are few of the tasks I’m hoping to outsource:

  • Organizing the pantry
  • Painting the bathroom
  • Selling my old strolling
  • Cataloging PR inquiries
  • Fixing some buggy blog issues
  • Putting a piece of Ikea furniture together’
  • Taking photos at the twin’s birthday party
  • Organizing the closets
  • Hanging a ceiling fan in bedroom
  • Installing a tankless water heater
  • Washing and putting away the laundry
  • Clean out the minivan

And here are some of the promises I’m making to myself with the time this frees up:

  • Have a dance party with the kids
  • Finish the 8 half-read novels sitting on my nightstand
  • Play my new piano
  • Complete some writing projects
  • Finish Karis’s baby book
  • Decorate the girl’s room
  • Go for a walk on the beach
  • Call my mom and talk for more than five minutes
  • Get my inbox back to a manageable space (without just blindly deleting)
  • Go shopping for new jeans
  • Go to coffee with a friend

Those are just a few things I can think of, but give me some inspiration because I want to go big over the next month.  What tasks would you love to hand off to someone else if you could?  And what would you do with the free time?