Isn’t it funny how we became adults and then no longer got to enjoy summer breaks? If you’re like us and signed up for a fancy corporate job, you slipped into your “grown-up” career and then walked out of a tall office building one day, bleary-eyed and blinking, thinking, How did I get here? What happened to my tan lines? Is this what my summers have become? Is This Forever?
Now that we’re all working from home and less bound to our office chairs in a traditional 9-5 sense, we have more opportunities to give ourselves summer breaks. Bless! Beyond the semi-obvious idea of a pre-planned and out-of-town vacation, there are ways to create more space in your day for you, opening up more time to do all the things we mentioned in last month’s column, “Your best SnoCo summer yet.” Whether you choose to pay a virtual assistant (and, pssst, we know someone who can help you find just the right person for you and your life + business) or take that kid down the street up on his offer to mow the lawn, freeing up your time while the sun is still shining gives you the freedom to make more summer memories.
Here are five things you can delegate right now that will allow you to relish the end of summer:
Yard work and cleaning are things that most of us are capable of but don’t necessarily want to spend our free summer time doing. If you’re not interested in doing this work and are in a financial position to hire a professional, there are always local high school and college kids home for the summer who would jump at the opportunity to earn extra spending money for the year ahead. Plus, supporting a local kid interested in hard work feels great! Nextdoor is often an excellent resource for finding people, whether posting or responding.
Similarly, canine care is often something people love to share—for free. Whether it’s joining in with other families who are fostering or have adopted dogs from Firdale Village’s The Haus of Dogs or giving your kids more responsibility over the summer, including scooping poop, it’s fun to change things up for Fido in balmier climes, too. Who can you call on to spend a little more time with the pup(s) in your life? Make a list, and then start sending those feeler texts.
Navigating the wild wild west of summer camp signups is not for the faint of heart. If you missed out on the camps you wanted for your minis, this is an opportunity to get creative. Have you considered teaming up with other parents in the area and rotating houses, sitting in the shade on your laptops while the kids run around the backyard? Similarly, what about taking turns, creating a nanny share, or loosening the grip a bit to take grandma up on her offer to help out one day a week? You’ve got this.
Business admin tasks
Our favorite way to think about delegating is to list all the things you do that take up your time and then segment that list into categories: tasks you alone need to do (showing up on social media, for example), things you do that you may not have to do (email management, scheduling, bookkeeping), and things you can delegate. What you think is delegatable is up to you, but in our expert and biased opinions, “delegatable tasks” becomes a longer list over time than it is the first time you sit down and write everything out. As you get more comfortable delegating, the more you delegate.
Regardless of your emotion around your company (we’re business owners, too. We get it!), try to look at the operation from a bird’s eye. You could even add an “eventually” segment to your delegation list if you think you’re not yet ready to delegate all the delegatable things. Emilie’s company, She’s A Given, has assistants who can help you with everything from website maintenance to pitching you for speaking gigs. Whitney uses one of Emilie’s assistants for client support. It only took two years of deep breaths and giving herself permission, but once she decided it was time, hiring a virtual assistant quickly became life-changing!
Whether going out, ordering delivery, prepping for the week ahead with produce from the farmers market, or finding a local meal-prep service, you don’t have to feel burned out by dinner, especially in the summer. One of our favorite options, Imperfect Foods, often saves local produce that may otherwise get thrown out based on appearance and size alone. We love to shop seasonally and build new-to-us meals from their in-season picks and recipes!
Summer memories are waiting to be made
Take it from us—one who built her career on the art of delegation and one who had to work up the guts to ask for help—delegation will change your life and your summer. If you live by a #noregrets motto, this is your chance to lower your cortisol levels and create more summer memories, right…Now.
So, what will you delegate first?
— By Emilie Given and Whitney Popa
Emilie Given is a virtual assistant agency owner in Lynnwood, and Whitney Popa is a writer and communications consultant in Edmonds. They write this column together to share work-from-home ideas. They love where they live and are grateful the virtual world allows them to achieve more work/life harmony. They also co-host a weekly podcast where they share their entrepreneurship journeys while learning about those of others. You can learn more about Emilie here and more about Whitney here.