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Save your sanity by outsourcing your to-do list

Outsource, outsource, outsource. I don’t mean manufacturing or IT support, but your own personal to-do list.

Sometimes, as motivated people, we get in the mindset of thinking “it has to be done right, it has to be done right now, and it has to be done by me!” – not true.

If someone can do it at least 80% as well as you can, either ask for help or pay for it. It doesn’t reflect poorly on your ability to multitask and do it all, but instead frees up your mental energy and gives you time to perform on the things that really matter.

There’s a great analogy for this in the TV show Modern Family. A broken stair is a long-running joke, with the characters exclaiming “We have GOT to fix that step!” when they trip over it again and again.

But, because it’s not an emergency, urgent, or that inconvenient, it never gets done or dealt with. What are your broken stairs – those things you just put up with, that you’ll deal with “someday”? How much stress do they actually add to your life?

Start fixing those invisible annoyances. It can be as small as using a clever app or as large as hiring a cook to make your meals for the week. Even if it’s a simple task like calling the cable company, it still takes up lots of mental space before it even gets done. By clearing the road of small things, you can focus on the big ones.

Here are my essential tools for outsourcing those small things and getting them done:

  • FancyHands – The entire reason I made this post. Nothing has saved me more time, stress, and energy. FancyHands is a virtual personal assistant service, but it’s task-based (so you are not beholden to one person). They can schedule appointments and put them on your calendar, do administrative work, research, and more. I even used them to make my Halloween costume (I gave them a list of 20 items and asked them to find the cheapest option for each online).
The amount of time FancyHands has saved me!


  • LastPass – a browser extension that saves all of your passwords securely, and remembers them for you (it syncs across devices, so your spouse can use the same account, or your new computer will have everything saved). Never rely on an Excel document or sticky note again.
  • Todoist – There are a million to-do list apps out there. This is simply my favorite, for its simplicity, accessibility on all my devices, and ability to do exactly what I need it to do. I even took a class on how to use it best with the Getting Things Done philosophy.
  • Boomerang – A Gmail-only extension that allows you to schedule messages to send at a specific time, or to return a message to you if it hasn’t been replied to (no more forgetting about projects just because an email thread died). It’s how I maintain inbox zero.

Take the time to give yourself time: a few minutes to set up someone else to take care of things can save you hours of energy and brainpower. Consider it investing in your future – and your sanity.

Angela Saunders is the Delta content manager and a regular contributor to Delta’s productivity and high performance article base.

Austin, Texas

Santa Fe, New Mexico

(512) 498-9780

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