How much is your time worth? I’m going to argue that there might be some benefit in outsourcing some of the non-important or non-urgent tasks you currently do to free up your time.
Think of that job you do. Maybe it was a favour for someone, or it is a job that you are doing to make something a little easier or run a bit smoother. Imagine someone asked you to do that task next week, how much would you charge them for your time? What is your time worth to you? I think it is important to have this in your mind, your time is a resource, and you should mentally have an idea of how much that resource ‘costs’. There are a few tasks that I do over the course of a month, that if I were to really reflect on the amount of my time used, would be better if someone else completed them. Even if it costs me a small amount of money, in my eyes it is the time I am buying back. For all of us there will be a threshold ‘value to time’ number that makes certain jobs no-brainers to pass on.
Let me give some context. I think this outsourcing can be useful for those jobs that you;
– aren’t skilled enough to do yet
– don’t enjoy doing
– think can be done by someone else with no real downside on productivity or quality
– can easily be done by someone else (I am thinking morally here, we don’t want to outsource everything). I especially think of the news article below with this point. Where a man outsourced his entire job out, unknown to his bosses. Big “No” in my books for this moral aspect.
A security check on a US company has reportedly revealed one of its staff was outsourcing his work to China.
As a teacher I would argue there are a few jobs where you could use someone to outsource the job to (sometimes referred individually as ‘gigs’) with no real downside, ethically, morally, or in terms of quality or time. Some examples might be;
– Making animated slides for an assembly or key evening in your school calendar (e.g. open event)
– Making programs for your events
– Making tickets for your events
– Proof reading any key documents before you send them such as cover letters or CVs
– Helping create/design your social media/website brand
– Translating materials
– Converting files
– Speech writing
– Business cards
– Postcard designs
With all of the above, you would think that someone within the school could do them, but why must they be completed in-house? It is important to clarify, this post isn’t about whether people have the skill set to do the task, it’s about what is the best use of their time? If you could pay someone £5, £10 or £15 to make a better animated slide for your parents evening, is that worth it when you weight up your own ‘cost’ (in terms of time) of completing the task?
The website I currently use for work like this is Fiverr.com – the premise being that jobs/gigs start from £5 in price. You can obviously add on extras that will increase the price but you get the general idea. I’ve used Fiverr for a wide range of tasks. Three examples where I have used professionals to outsource non-important work include;
Example 1: I supplied a picture of me on holiday and asked a graphics designer to convert it into something I could use not only for the ‘About Me’ page on this website but also for my social media profiles on Twitter and LinkedIn. It cost me £5 and the product is something that is professional enough to follow me around on my online presence.
Example 2: This video was made as a holding screen during our GCSE Awards Event that we held at school to celebrate the Year 11 success. It was something we thought would be good to have looping on the main screen to give the evening just a bit of a professional feel. Again, after giving the artist the brief (colours, words and length needed) this was turned around in 2 days and we’ve used it for the last few years. Well worth the investment.
Example 3: A few years ago, some of our pupils entered the F1 in Schools competition. One of the main aims of the project is branding. Pupils brainstormed together and came up with a logo idea for the team. They then fundraised and a portion of it (only £5) went into turning their logo into a reality. As before, a two or three day turnaround, and this is what was produced. The artist followed their brief and mockups exactly and pupils were really happy with the result.
– It is important to stress there are more websites than the one I have mentioned here.
– You get what you pay for, in some instances I have paid £5 to make a logo for a project and the results have been just awful, for each person on the website, really take a good look at their portfolio of past work, don’t rush this checking step.
– I see this as a website that helps me in terms of jobs beyond teaching and leading, I would never use it for planning, teaching, marking for example.
So there you have it, a possible avenue to explore if you have that one job where you feel it might be best placed in the hands of another. For me personally it has allowed me to have more creative, higher quality end products than if I would have done the job myself. It has freed up my time as well so I can focus on other areas, maybe more inline with my day-to-day role – such as marking, planning and teaching. While not perfect for everything I do in a normal day, it has its benefits that I think will still be there in the future.
Have I missed any uses for this outsourcing economy that has really exploded over the last few years? Can you see any downsides? Do you use it for another means and you can’t see yourself moving away from it? Would love to hear your thoughts – head on over to our About page and leave your comments.