Outsourcing the Laundry

Should entrepreneurs do their own laundry?

Of course this question applies to anyone whose profession requires a jam-packed schedule with barely any non-work time. The question most recently came up as a response to my recent post about choosing tasks for OTG days. My long time friend Aaron pointed out in a personal conversation that not only should laundry  not be part of the time-chunking, sprint vibe of going Off the Grid, but that fundamentally entrepreneurs should seek to outsource household chores so that we can focus on the business that already needs more of our time than we have to give.

To be clear, it’s not just about saying “I’m too much of a big shot to sweep a floor or wash a sheet.” A big part of this is economies of scope and scale. The more time I can devote to building a business, the better I get at it, and the more I can leverage the success of the business to create more success. Similarly, if I were running a laundry or cleaning business, I could leverage knowledge and experience to do household chores in less time, and much better.

A perfect example of this happened recently: I needed to remove a stain from a table cloth. I have no idea how to remove stains, and this was a big one. So I spent some time looking it up on the net, and realized that I didn’t even really have the ideal tools necessary for doing a good job. Lacking time, I did the closest thing that my supplies could cover and hoped for the best. In contrast, a laundry service would have all of the equipment on hand, and they would presumably not need to spend time looking on the Internet to figure out how to remove a stain. It’s just far more efficient.

However it’s not cut and dry. While I was doing the laundry that inspired this post, I also had two major breakthroughs. All of that manual labour and thinking time led to some important realizations that will probably save me a lot more time than farming out the laundry would have.

And this is a trend: somehow I have my best business-related ideas, not when I’m specifically brainstorming for a new idea, but when I’m doing something else that lets my mind wander.

So the question remains: is doing laundry a time-waster, or a time-saver?

I think the conclusion is that you need a balance. Doing some activities during the day that allow my mind to wander is crucial–things like walking outside or tidying up. There’s no need to completely eliminate household chores. However, getting outside help that reduces the amount of time spent on these chores is probably worth it at some point.

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