If you have read “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss then you will know he explains how anybody could use outsourcing and delegation to reduce or even eliminate tasks that don’t bring many direct benefits. Most of these tasks are things that the vast majority don’t want to do. These are mandatory, tedious, and repetitive such as paying bills, finding doctors, updating documents, looking up discounts, or hosting family events – and the list goes on. The problem with several solutions proposed in this book is that not all of us can afford to hire minimum wage outsourced labor force overseas so we can delegate these tasks. However, as internet and wireless technologies advance there might be a way for the rest of us.
Let me quickly define the two types of work I refer to in this article: The first type is what you love to do where you are not counting down the minutes to lunch, then counting again until it is time to leave for the day. It is the type of work you do that can be the gift you leave behind on this earth when you’re gone. It can be the difference you make in the lives of others.
The second type of work is tedious in most people’s eyes like searching for discounts, organizing documents, sending email updates, and doing repetitive tasks that are pretty darn boring.
Consider 24/7 Free Virtual Assistants
For the second type of work, you can find hundreds of online services that are free. These online services or apps could help you productively organize in other words tackle most boring and tedious tasks, so I like to call them virtual assistants. The benefits of online virtual assistants are that these are software programs so they can work for 24/7 and it does not complain about salary or fall sick like its biological counterparts. The best part is that all of them are free.
Here are a few I use that you may find useful:
TripIt – Travel Organizer
When you book hotels, flights, or other travel accommodations online, simply forward your confirmation emails to TripIt and it will generate a master itinerary with everything you need for your trip in seconds. You can get access to the itinerary online or through your mobile device, and share copies with those that need to know.
Google Docs – Document Organizer
I use this often for documents that are not super sensitive like photos, recipes, list of items with supporting receipts, and pictures in the house for my home insurance. You can share your documents with members in your family so those that need to can access your documents and at the same time they are private from the public. It also supports documents in multiple formats.
Facebook – Friend Organizer
You can keep in touch with friends and see what they are doing now. Also, it is a great way to share photos and updates about you or your family without having to resort to too many emails.
Evite – Party Organizer
You save on stamps and trees while freeing yourself up from maintaining RSVP lists, emailing and making phone calls to organize your events. Free invitation templates match your party theme. You can also send friendly reminders or check the RSVP list.
Evernote – Memory Organizer
You can use it to save your thoughts, to-do lists and things you like. The thing I like about Evernote is that you can later access them from anywhere your phone or your laptop.
Eventbin – Coupon Organizer
You can set alerts on brands that you use often for baby products, groceries, pet food, office supplies, furniture, jewelry, accessories, apparel, health and beauty. Eventbin will act as your virtual assistant by searching coupons for those brands on your behalf. Best of all, it will not only send you an alert, it will also organize your coupons. Unlike traditional coupon binders because this is online you can quickly sort through your upcoming discount by dates, expiration and categories. This will dramatically improve your odds of not missing coupon offers without spending too much time on coupons.
What are You Waiting for?
Start delegating some of your mundane tasks to these virtual assistants, so you have more time for the things you love to work on, spend time with family or friends. You may or may not achieve the 4-hour workweek, but you will surely save enough time to catch up on your favorite movies!