A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted on a Facebook neighborhood group that we share in common.
“You’re gonna wanna follow this post…” she wrote.
Intrigued. I read on.
She proceeded to begin to collect, what turned into an enormous list of crowdsourced ways to “outsource” your life. Instacart, ain’t even scratching the surface. Get people to come to your house to maintenance your car. Put makeup on your face. And even dress you. Yes please!
HUNDREDS of comments later, we compiled a document of all of the suggestions of busy, multitasking people like you. People who would rather spend time doing what they love, than doing what they have to do.
So here it is. The list in all of its glory.
You can download a PDF of the whole thing here: DOWNLOAD A PDF OF LIFEHACKS 2017.
Thanks to everyone for all your suggestions. Let’s get shit done.
Full list below, but the PDF is prettier. You do you.
Hey there, you!
Yeah, we see you. Trying to keep your life together while taking on the world. We applaud your effort. But we’re here to tell you: You’re trying to do TOO MUCH.
DO less. LIVE more. That’s our motto. There are endless ways to outsource your life and with technology literally burning holes though our fingertips it’s a brave new world, y’all!
This project was co-implemented by Houston women Erika Mandel and Monica Danna, who share a passion for, among other things, valuing their time. Novel concept, yes? You TOO can value your time! The bulk of this guide was inspired and driven by the ideas from a network of real people, all striving to minimize life’s mundane tasks and headaches to get time back in the day to focus on family, passions, work, health, and the pursuit of happiness
A few notes about THE LIST:
- The qualifying factors to be included:
- 1) Is it a service or idea that can save you time?
- 2) Can you eliminate a headache of yours with one of these outsourcing/life efficiency ideas?
- All resources should be independently verified. Only YOU can decide if a service a good (and safe) option for you. The authors make no claims, guarantees, promises about the quality of the service or the accuracy and currency of the information provided. (SEE: Legal Disclaimer. Don’t sue us because your DoorDash driver ran over your cat.)
- We LOVE and SALUTE your entrepreneurial ventures! Stella & Dot, Rodan + Fields, Beautycounter, Younique we love ‘em! And we regularly support these businesses. This just isn’t the list for those resources: THINK OUTSOURCE. If you are gonna come over and put makeup on my face while I can get an extra hour’s worth of sleep, NOW YOU’RE TALKING!
- The million-dollar question: Does outsourcing cost an arm and a leg more? Well, here’s what we can say: time is money and money is time. We all have busy lives. But, here’s the reality on the cost: most of us are not experts at things like grocery shopping and cooking. Why not spend that time doing what you ARE an expert at? Freeing up more time for YOU to go make that money. So, you can outsource more! WIN-WIN!
- And finally, this list was put together by over 450 different responses to a public Facebook posting. Even then, this list isn’t exhaustive. We realize there are many other services available in these categories. But this is a good start, yes? Enjoy!
Disclaimer of liability: Please note that this list was compiled and researched solely for the purposes of providing helpful references. The authors assume no liability in the accuracy of the information provided. Anyone who uses this list must independently verify the accuracy of the information and must determine if a specific service or idea is the right and/or safe choice for him or her. While we did our best to be accurate, these are constantly evolving services and we cannot take any responsibility whatsoever for any unintentional misrepresentations. This is not intended to promote, endorse or exclude any business or offering or idea over another.
FOOD + DRINK
BlueApron.com You select from a menu that suits you, they deliver the pre-portioned ingredients to your door, and you get to cook while cutting out the hassles.
GreenChef.com Meal-in-a-box. They prepare, you cook. Organic and consciously sources ingredients.
HomeChef.com Provides you everything you need to prepare your home-cooked meals in 30 minutes or less.
HelloFresh.com They tout “Chef curated recipes based on seasonal farm fresh ingredients” delivered every week to your doorstep.
The Blonde Pantry Pre-cooked meals and snacks that can be tailored to allergies and needs (like gluten-free).
CSA Deliveries (Community Supported Agriculture)
Farmhouse Delivery This is like the Farmer’s Market delivered straight to your doorstep. At initial glance, it does look like there’s a premium price to pay, but how much fresher can you get? www.farmhousedelivery.com
Healthy Food On-The-Go or Simple Pickup
Snap Kitchen Walk into the store, pick out several days of meals in individually-packed containers (great for lunches), and scratch the cooking off your list entirely.
My Fit Foods Walk into the store, pick out several days of meals in individually-packed containers (great for lunches), and scratch the cooking off your list entirely.
Tres Market Ready-to-eat meals that you don’t have to prep but that have fresh ingredients! Local shop in Memorial area. tresmarketfoods.com
Hire your Own Chef Find someone who likes to cook and pay a more-than-reasonable fee for them to meal plan per your preferences, cook on Sunday, deliver on Monday in glass Tupperware with specific reheating instructions.
Delivery on Demand
Door Dash app Delivers from hundreds of restaurants; type in your zip code and browse through a list.
UberEats app Yep, works just like Uber, except your food gets shuttled around and delivered to you.
Amazon Restaurants (via PrimeNow app) Choose from a bunch of restaurants and get free delivery within a 2-hour window, or pay $7.99 for a one-hour window.
Postmates app On-demand deliveries.
Favor app Get favors delivered for as low as $1 on a promotion from a certain restaurant, on up to about $6. Use a pre-calculated tip based on the type of favor, time it took and distance, or modify it to give whatever you want.
NatureBox.com Get healthy snack packs delivered to your door on a subscription basis.
Instacart app Order from grocery stores in your area- even from Costco- delivered in as quickly as an hour.
Shipt app Grocery delivery service.
Amazon Pantry app Order all your non-perishables, just like you would
anything else on Amazon except you need to fulfill a minimum.
Amazon Fresh app Order your perishables through this service.
Hiku app /scanner A magnetic barcode scanner with voice recognition that you keep on the fridge, you scan and record items you need which creates a shopping list for your grocery run.
HEB Curbside Order groceries online (heb.com), schedule a pickup and then they personal shop for you and load your groceries into the car for $5.
Kroger’s ClickList Order groceries online and pick-up from special entrance at store. They will load up your car.
Meal Planning Apps + Sites
This category represents a list of apps or online services to make meal planning easier. Most help you identify what you’d like to cook, then they compile the list of ingredients and instructions to make the grocery trip and prep easier. This is a good life efficiency idea if you enjoy cooking but could use some efficiencies around the planning process:
Pre-order, pre-pay and skip the line (at some!) of these popular places with their mobile apps that allow you to order food and pay with a mobile wallet:
Wine + Spirits
Vivino app Great database to keep track of favorite wine, find
Minibar app Wine, beer, liquor delivered on demand…yes, for real.
Delectable app Capture the wine label you’re enjoying now, since you might not remember it later!
If you are wondering where to eat tonight or for a special occasion, outsource the decision to helpful services like:
Yelp.com or app Search by proximity and get reviews
Eater.com Has a top 10 new restaurant list to try monthly
Opentable.com or app Make reservations online and rack up loyalty points
Errands + Delivery + Hired Help
Favor app Delivery app – can get food from any restaurant, but it’s not limited to food! Just think: you can get a kids table delivered from IKEA on a Friday night- no joke. Or, they could pick up your alterations. The possibilities are endless!
Postmates On-demand errand delivery.
Amazon Prime One or two-day delivery; for anything and everything under the sun, from clothes to mattresses to household items
Amazon PrimeNOW Same-day delivery, sometimes within an hour!
GoogleExpress Get fast delivery of everyday essentials from stores like Costco, Walgreens, Toys”R”Us, and Petsmart.
Shyp app Schedule returns and shipping of packages to be picked up from your house; they charge 5 dollar flat fee and then find cheapest carrier of the three to ship for you
Dry Cleaning Delivery Dry cleaning pick-up and delivery services
Thumbtack app Quickly hire professionals for odd jobs: assembling IKEA
furniture, hanging a TV, installing a timer on a light switch, etc.
Handy app Think home cleaning, plumbing and electrical needs and general handyman services (including furniture assembly, picture hanging and TV mounting) on demand.
Task Rabbit Get anything done. Same day.
PickUp app A delivery service as well, but these guys boast trucks and guys to do the heavy lifting tasks.
Local services Multiple Houston businesses, such as The House Manager LLC can take care of this and that for you.
LiftMaster + MyQ Install a LiftMaster garage door opener with MyQ – it let’s you see when the garage door opens/closes; can also open/close via the app. (very handy with deliveries)
Nest Cameras Can see who’s at your door and talk through the camera speak with the phone app.
Nest.com & app Wi-fi enabled thermostats- change temp of your house anywhere.
Ring Doorbell app Similar to Nest.
Lutron Uses a wink hub to control lights (on/off/dim) with your phone. You can set timers, so that lights turn on or off on certain times if you are away.
Car care at home Details and waxes at home – yes this exists!
Alarm.com & app Turn alarm on/off with the click of your phone…anywhere!
Professional organizers Crowdsource to find your best option, but an example is: www.EfficientLiving.org
Grove Collaborative Subscription delivery of green household items like
toilet tissue, soap, garbage bags, etc.
Honest.com Similar to Grove above.
TRAVEL + TRANSPORTATION
TSA Pre-check Make your appointment and get it done to save time.
Global entry Same as above, if you travel internationally.
Uber + Lyft Drivers on demand. Download both of these so you’re prepared in whatever city you land; makes travel infinitely easier.
Loyalty Cards If you haven’t, commit to getting your loyalty numbers from your favorite chains and airlines- it’s fun earning free stuff.
Travel Agents No services fees and usually get extra amenities.
Packing Tips Have a full extra toiletry bag and charger packed
Waze app Download it and find the fastest route around current road conditions and traffic.
Airline apps Have them downloaded to access boarding pass, check-in, and other travel information quickly.
Baby Equipment Rental Travel with kids without lugging all those heavy item you need while you’re away (travelingbaby.com, babysaway.com, and more)
KIDS + FAMILY
When you need to outsource the kids for a bit, consider your options. Remember to crowdsource to get the unbiased feedback:
Rainbow Kid Club
Little Gyms Survival Night
Let Us Play
Parties + Gifts
Birthday Parties Visit the store once, and buy 10 presents and have them wrapped there for free; put a sticker on them as a reminder of the item.
AmazonPrime Yes, AmazonPrime for gifts is a perfect solution, you can even search for ‘gift for 6-year-old boy’ to get suggestions. This isn’t limited to the kiddos either!
Groovebook Get a book delivered to your house every month of the pictures you take on your phone. You just tap 100 photos each month and it goes into a book and gets shipped to your house. Great to do for relatives too. $2.99/mo for one book
Penzu app Online journal that lets you document on the go quickly.
Qeepsake Uses text messaging to store memories about your kids.
ChatBooks app Just upload picture/caption to Instagram. After 60 uploads are made, a book automatically goes in process to send out to you for $8. It will have your caption and date on each page.
Foxprint.com Select your Instagram pics, order and they will send you magnets or printed pictures of them.
Artkive app Upload pics of kiddo art, store when it was done and toss the paper.
Doorstep Digital Outsource projects like digitizing old pictures and setting up backup systems to preserve family files and photographs
Soothe app At-home massage.
Pageboy app Mobile, same-day blowouts
Haircuts at home My family personally does haircuts at home all on the same day with someone we found who likes to make some extra cash on Sundays.
Massage at home We found someone we liked, buy a package to get great deals, and have our own massage table and sheets for $99 on Amazon; we do this instead of a date night once a month.
Beglammed.com or app Hairstylists and makeup artists that come to you.
Styleseat app Schedule your haircut or style in the comfort of your own home.
Zeel.com or app Same-day, in-home massage.
Other local sources There are many self-tanning or makeup services like www.faceforwardweddings.com
FASHION + SHOPPING
Stitchfix.com Fashion delivered to your doorstep with a $20 styling fee that is credited to anything you buy.
TrunkClub.com Similar to Stitchfix, but you work with a stylist that gets to know your needs and wants on a personal level.
RocketsofAwesome A wardrobe delivery service for kids, delivered four times a year.
Personal Shopper Saks, Nordstroms, Anthropologie, and many Houston boutiques have them…at no extra charge to you. Saves you time since they can pre-selection item and can put together a whole room full of clothes/accessories/etc for you to come in and try on.
Rent the Runway Rent formal wear for special occasions instead of buying.
DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE
Unroll.me app Great app to de-clutter your inbox.
Poshmark app Sell old clothes, bags, shoes, etc.; they keep 20% but send you the postage and insure the sale. It takes a little bit of time but can pays off! If you download the usps app they’ll send you free boxes + you can schedule pickups!
Thredup.com Clothing resale; they send you a bag and you pack it with clothes you want to sell and ship it back.
1-800-got-junk For everything else that can’t be donated.
Salvation Army Schedule a pick up.
HEALTH + WELLNESS
Get Fit on the Go
Sweat with Kayla
The Perfect Workout
TRN On-Demand App
Dr on Demand app If you can’t leave the house when you’re sick, or if you have a sick kid, the doc comes to you.
Concierge doctor services Lots of doctors have concierge services, but they
come at a premium.
MD VIP 24/7 access to your doctor, superb service & care
Oomph Houston In-home wellness + aesthetics- vitamin shots, IVs, Botox and filler to name a few.
BANKING + FINANCES
Budgeting + Household Financing
Meet at home Have your financial planner meet at your house after hours.
Mobile deposits NEVER go to the bank again to deposit checks. Just scan them in! The majors have this…Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, etc.
YNAB Create a budget and track it.
Mint.com Create a budget and track it.
Download one of these apps so you have a quick way to transfer money between friends, family or anyone else:
HomePay or Sure Payroll (to pay household workers specifically)
Mobile vet www.southbysouthvets.com
Haute Pets Mobile grooming
DogVacay.com Find a local Pet Sitter that stays in your home or your pets stay in theirs. Like Air B&B, for pets!
News + Entertainment
Hoopla + Overdrive
I recently discovered hoopla and overdrive for ebooks and audiobooks using hou public library and Harris County Public Library.
Audio books though amazon.
Also love podcasts on the go in the car, some favorites are bulletproof, strive to thrive, planet money, hidden brain, how stuff works
Finds coupons and lower price items automatically when searching online.
Honey Browser Plug-in
Automatically searches and applies the best discount codes to your online shopping cart.
Get money back every 3 months (deposits to PayPal) just by using the link to stores you already shop online (Macy’s, target, sur la table, etc). The bonus is that it puts most of the sales and promos for each store on the site so you don’t have to search and dig for sale codes
Scheduling + Calendars
Google calendar+maps Tells you when to leave to arrive at an appt. on time.
Cozi calendar app Can share calendars and color code by event type.
Wunderlist app Keeps to-do list with reminders and account passwords.
Email + Document Management
Unroll.Me Clean up all those email subscriptions but rolling them all up into one daily email.
Scannable + Evernote
Scan everything via scannable and it uploads directly to Evernote to sort it, make notes, and schedule reminders; eliminate hard copies that you can lose.
Tiny Scanner app Similar to the above
Dropbox Store all your files in the cloud.
mSecure Manages your passwords.
Skimm One email daily with your national and world news digest.
SEASONAL / OCCASIONAL
Pope Tree Lot Christmas tree delivery.
Gift wrapping services Crowdsource to find someone to wrap all your gifts.
Red Stamp Send thank you cards with a picture.
Zazzle.com Custom invites made easy.
Sendoutcards.com Upload your holiday card & send them from your phone.
Postable.com Send a link for friends and family to add their info to a digital address book.