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5 Crowdsourced Power Tools for Productivity

Your time is precious. When it's gone, it's gone, and it's one of the few things in this world that can't be replaced.  If you're trying to be as productive as possible, you don't want to waste it on tasks that are repetitive or outside your realm of expertise.

That's why more and more people are turning to outsourcing, which lets them get more done every day. Today you have plenty of options, and the Internet holds a treasure trove of resources that make it easier than ever to outsource many of your day-to-day tasks.

Here are 5 of the best ways to outsource your daily work and increase productivity.

Delegating Tasks

If you work within a company, with people under you, being able to delegate responsibilities well becomes all-important. If you can't decide what to do yourself and what to have someone else do, you'll be tied up in work when your efforts could be put to better use elsewhere.

Think about what you're best at, and what your co-workers are best at. Even if you're not in a management position, it's often a good idea to discuss your projects together as a group to figure out everyone's strengths and weaknesses.

Hire a Virtual Assistant or Contractor

This is like level two of the delegating tasks game.

You can find virtual assistants to do almost anything. This includes office work, like research, writing, coding, and personal assistant services, to more private matters. Like dating, for instance.

There are many sites today where you can quickly and easily find assistants and contractors to do all kinds of work. Upwork, Guru, and Craiglist are just a few examples.

Amazon Mechanical Turk is another interesting option, though this will require a bit more know-how to use.

Outsource Your Email Inbox

Tim Ferriss gets over 1,000 emails every day. That's probably a lot more than you're used to, but if you have a hard time getting through your inbox you may want to take a tip or two from him.

Instead of spending hours going through every email individually, Ferriss hires an assistant to think like him and check his email. He sees it as a process that needs to get done, rather than an individual task that he alone can perform.

Ferriss uses a set of rules to filter out the basic emails, which his assistant can reply to with predetermined responses. For the small number of emails that require his actual attention, he gets a once-daily phone call with some details about what he'll need to do.

The entire process usually takes him no more than 10 minutes per day, compared to the full workload it used to be.

Don't Fuss with Appointments and Reservations

If you travel a lot, see a lot of shows, and/or go out to eat pretty often, you're spending a lot of time managing your schedule, finding tickets, making appointments, etc.

But you can hire an assistant to take care of all that menial work. Not only will you save time, your assistant will be motivated to look long and hard to find you the best hotel deal possible, or to call and haggle over prices.

Why? Because you're paying them to do it. And the better a job they do, the happier you (the employer) will be with them.

When you're in a hurry, you're not always going to take the time to comparison shop and examine all your options. But you can outsource those tasks to people who have the time, and make your schedules run much more smoothly.

Hire Out Your House Work and Shopping

Delegating work doesn't just have to happen at the office. Look for opportunities to delegate tasks at home too – hiring a babysitter or maid is a perfect example, but you can even outsource your laundry these days.

There are a variety of services available, like TaskRabbit, which provide personal assistants for actual real-world chores, rather than digital work.

You can use TaskRabbit and sites like it to find people who will clean your house, paint it, make repairs and do construction, move stuff, deliver stuff: practically anything you need done. And you can often find help the very same day you start looking.

There are also quite a few mail-order food companies, which send you meals that are either pre-made or quick and easy to prepare. Blue Apron, Freshly, and Hello Fresh are all good examples. If you're feeling really adventurous and want to try cutting out normal food altogether, you can try Soylent, the all-in-one food product that claims to provide everything you need, for every meal.

And if you like this idea but are looking for something a bit fresher and home-made, you can actually hire an in-house personal chef for a surprisingly low price. Craiglist is a good option for finding someone local.

Managing your time can sometimes get pretty difficult, and outsourcing can take a lot of that weight off your shoulders. Think about your day-to-day routine – what parts are most repetitive, what could be automated? Can you figure out how to get them done without actually doing them yourself?

Do you have a lot of success in outsourcing your life? What are your favorite ways to get it done? Let us know in the comments below, we'd love to hear from you!

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