It started like any other week, with better shoes.
As a father-to-be, my thoughtful wife got me and our soon-to-be-son some matching shoes. Adorable! But, sadly, half a size too big.
We did a quick search online and found that the color had been discontinued, and everyone was sold out. Determined, I sent my virtual assistant at Fancy Hands this challenge:
“Find me a pair of Size 8.5 Cole Haan Hudson Bit Navy Grain shoes (photo attached). Everyone is sold out online, but I feel like some store in the country must have these!”
Less than two hours later, I get this:
“Hello Chris, Success! I located the shoes at the Boston location of Cole Haan store and spoke with Greg. I placed the shoes under your name so you can give him a call and complete the transaction [###-###-####]. Please let me know if I can assist you further.”
Boom! Shoes purchased. Fancy Hands is a non-dedicated virtual assistant service that makes life easier for as little as $25 a month, and they prove their worth every time I use them.
The week was off to a great start, so I wondered how far I could take it. There are a lot of services I’ve been meaning to try, so maybe I could lump them all into the next 4 days to see how easy life could get?
After a Sunday cookout for fathers day, the house could use a little sprucing up, so I booked a 2.5 hour session with HomeJoy, a house cleaning service, for $36. The cleaner arrived that afternoon, with her own supplies, and she plowed through the house before Lianne got home, making me look like the best husband ever (I eventually admitted to not cleaning).
Tuesday I started off working at MOD, a new membership workspace in Phoenix. Who needs an office when you can have a workspace with a concierge and pay as you go? MOD costs $7 per hour up to $35 per day, or $350/mo for unlimited access. I was out by lunch, and headed over to Fashion Square for a Tesla test drive.
They only offer test drives on certain days of the month, and my friend Russ used his virtual assistant at Zirtual to schedule them for us. The technology in these cars absolutely amazes me, and this experience was eye opening. No need to unlock or even turn on the car. It just senses you and knows what to do.
Back in my regular car, I headed to a client’s office to meet Mika, the Arizona rep for Neat Method, a professional organizing service. Neat Method makes spaces instantly better with tasmanian-devil-like professional organizing.
Wednesday morning I woke up and something strange happened. I had no new emails. I’ve been using a service called Sanebox for the past couple of weeks, which learns your behavior and filters out unimportant emails so that only the crucial emails make it to my inbox. Then, a few times a week, I sort through the rest of the junk to make sure I didn’t miss anything. For $99/year, this saves me hours per week wasting time in my inbox.
One email that did make it to me that day was a message from Lianne about our Blue Apron meals being delivered. Blue Apron sends you portioned, fresh ingredients to make gourmet meals at home (I’m looking forward to the Pan-Seared Salmon over Israeli Couscous with Olive Relish). Saves a trip to the grocery store, and at $9.99 per person per meal, it’s cheaper than any restaurant we’d visit.
I stopped off at FedEx on my way home, where my Club W wine delivery was waiting. Club W hand-picks a few bottles a month (around $13 each) that match my palette profile, and they’ve yet to get it wrong. Before Club W, I’d sometimes spend a half hour pacing down the aisles at Total Wine looking for something interesting, and now I don’t have to think about it. I have the deliveries held at FedEx because they require a signature, so I can pick them up on my schedule. Like a pitcher on the verge of a no-hitter, I’m starting to become aware of how awesome this week has been.
After a busy client morning, I got home and took an inventory of the house. I’m out of my Illy cafe espresso drinks (which are amazing), so I logged into Amazon Subscribe & Save to adjust my subscription so that they come every month. Subscribing to items you use often saves up to 15%, plus free shipping, plus you don’t even have to think about it.
I’m plowing through work this week, but the laundry has piled up. More specifically, my pile of stuff to iron has piled up. I fired up the Task Rabbit app and posted a job – “Iron a Heaping Basket of Laundry” – and got an offer for $50 within a half hour. Sold! TaskRabbit came to Phoenix in November, so this is my first time using the service for something non-virtual. I’m excited to try it.
Lianne got home from work early, so we used Lyft to hitch a ride down the street for dinner. Like UberX, Lyft lets anyone with a car turn into a taxi and make some extra money. 3 minutes after I requested a ride, a brand new Kia Optima pulled up and a middle-aged woman give each of us a fist bump. She gave a few recommendations on the restaurant we were headed to (don’t get the salad), offered us free packs of gum and water, and $6 later we hopped out. It almost felt like vacation to leave our cars in the garage and get a ride down the street. I plan to use the service to get to client offices so that I can get work done instead of spending over an hour behind the wheel every round-trip.
Friday morning, I was greeted by a TaskRabbit Tasker who came over to tackle my daunting pile of ironing, while I tackled some proposals. For $50, it’s one less thing to worry about this weekend, and 3 extra hours saved!
As lunch approached, I got a notification from LeaveNow that I had 10 minutes before I had to leave for my meeting. LeaveNow attaches to your calendar and uses GPS to calculate when you should leave for your next appointment, keeping you on time.
To end the day, I had a consultation with my bookkeeper at Bench.co to review my income statement. Bench reconciles your bank statements and expenses on a monthly basis, giving you a high level insight to your finances for as little as $125/month. This service helped me replace Quickbooks, and save about 6 hours per month of horrible accounting work, which is priceless.
Over the course of the week, I spent about $210 to save about 13 hours of running errands, doing chores, and working on things I don’t like doing. For around $16/hour, I had a small army of part time services working to make my life better.
Looking back, this list might look overwhelming, but it makes you realize all of the things in your life that someone else could do – instead of you! The trick to being highly productive isn’t to multitask like a crazy person and check every item off of your to-do list. It’s to take advantage of the technology and the resources that we have available to us, and watch your to-do list fade away. Like the Tesla, we should set up our lives to do most things automatically, so that we can just focus on steering.