Maybe You Shouldn’t Outsource Everything After All

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Carl Richards

Have you ever thought you’d be happier if you could just pay someone else to do your laundry?

Turns out, you’re right — at least, according to a recent study which found that paying someone else to complete unenjoyable daily tasks could result in greater life satisfaction. Outsourcing housework you dislike could even save your marriage!

I found myself nodding my head as I read these articles. But then I shared this research with some friends, and I got an unexpected response: Anger.

They were actually mad. My tax lawyer friend charges $300 an hour but still changes the oil in his car. He demanded to know when everything we did started having to fit into an economic model. Another friend earns $50 an hour but still bakes bread that he could easily buy with a $5 bill. His take on the study was that it was just another example of people with too much money not stopping to consider how much satisfaction can come from doing basic things well yourself.

On one hand, my wife and I spend a few hundred dollars per month to have someone help clean our house. We’re even considering hiring someone to help us with meals a few days a week. And while it may be a stretch to say that this has saved our marriage, there is something to the idea that paying for help can make you happier.

But at the same time, a surprising number of people I have talked to on this topic had the same response: It feels like the research is missing something very important.

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