How to Decide Which Tasks to Outsource and Which Tasks to Keep

Outsourcing is one of the best ways to buy more time. Here’s a framework you can use to decide which tasks to outsource.

Your most valuable nonrenewable resource is your time.

You only have a limited amount each week. And it doesn’t take much to fill up that time with business and personal activities.

So what can you do when you’re maxed out?

For many freelance writers, outsourcing is one of the best ways to buy themselves more time.

But how do you know which tasks to outsource?

Unfortunately, I can’t just give you a list. Because the “right” tasks to outsource will differ for every person.

However, what I CAN do is give you a framework to help you make those decisions.

Amount of Time vs. Amount of Joy

To figure out what tasks you should outsource, you have to consider two variables:

  1. The amount of time it would take you to complete the task
  2. The amount of joy you would get from performing the task.

We can look at the relationship between these two variables with this graph :








As you can see, I’ve divided the graph into four quadrants. Let’s look at each quadrant individually.

Quadrant #1: A lot of time and little joy

Tasks that require a lot of time and bring little joy are your best candidates for outsourcing.

Everybody’s different. But for many people, this would include something like typing transcripts of interviews. A lot of us hate doing it, and it takes a lot of time.

You might feel the same about proofreading.

Some of you would put prospecting into this category too. Prospecting takes time, and many people don’t particularly enjoy it.

Prospecting might not be something you can outsource completely. But there may be aspects of it that you could.

How about preparing your taxes? If your business is incorporated, tax return preparation becomes even more complex — and now you have two returns to complete.

Other types of administrative work might also fit into this category. Bringing someone into stuff envelopes for a direct mail campaign is an obvious example.

Household tasks that you don’t enjoy can also be good candidates for outsourcing, such as house cleaning, yard work, home maintenance, and repairs.

Quadrant #2: A lot of time and a lot of joy

You might be surprised to learn the tasks that require a lot of time and bring a lot of joy are also worth considering for outsourcing.

Think about the tasks that you spend a lot of time on.

Client work is probably one of them — but I’m not suggesting that you outsource all your client work! But maybe there are some tasks that you can decouple from the project and partly outsource.

This might not work for all projects and all clients, but it might work for some.

For example, maybe you could train someone to do research. Or tackle some of the outlines. Or produce an ugly draft for you to work from. Or maybe create some of your own marketing content.

Yes, you may enjoy doing some of these tasks yourself. But think about the trade-off.

Do you like the task enough to hang out onto it? Or would you rather use the time to work on things you’d enjoy even more?

Apply the same analysis to personal and household tasks that you enjoy, but still, take up a good chunk of time. Sure, you may find mowing the lawn meditative. But are there other things you’d rather do more?

Quadrant #3: Little time and a lot of joy

You should hang onto tasks that take little time and bring a lot of joy.

Again, these will be different for every person.

Maybe you can whip up your newsletter quickly, and you love doing it. Great! Keep it.

Or maybe you enjoy posting to your social media channel channels and interacting with people online — and it doesn’t take much time.

Excellent! Keep it.

Or maybe you enjoy doing your bookkeeping. You find it motivating and — because you’re good at it and you use bookkeeping software that facilitates the process — it doesn’t take long to do.

Perfect! Keep it.

Quadrant #4: Little time and little joy

Tasks that take little time but bring a little joy should also be evaluated.

Let’s look at some of the examples we just discussed.

Maybe you can post things to your social media channel and interact with people without taking up too much time. But you feel nervous and uncomfortable every time you do it. Consider outsourcing it.

Or maybe you’re good at managing your books and can do it quickly, but man, you dread having to do it. Think about outsourcing it.

You might think that because these things don’t take up much time, it’s not worth the hassle (or expense) of outsourcing them.

But when you’re forced to do stuff that you really hate doing, it drains your energy. And a lot of these add up to create a bigger headache. So those tasks are still worth looking at.

This is particularly true if the task is repeatable. If it’s something that needs to be done every day, week or month — even if it’s small — it can be worth your time to train someone to do it for you.

Can Someone Else Do It Better, Faster or Cheaper?

As you evaluate these tasks for outsourcing, keep asking yourself if you could find someone who could do these tasks better, faster or cheaper.

As business owners, we have to wear a lot of hats. We won’t be equally accomplished in all tasks.

So think about what you’re really, really good at (what I like to call your “genius”).

As you continue to build your business, try to spend more and more of your time in that “genius” zone.

And then outsource the rest.

Plus… whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1.  Grab a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.

You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here

2.  Download a free copy of my new book for writers who are NEW to freelancing.

I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster.  — Click Here

3.  Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories). Just email me at [email protected] and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

4.  Get a 1:1 strategy call with me.

Are you a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time with less stress? Let’s jump on a quick call and brainstorm some ideas for getting you there. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Brainstorm” in the subject line.