One of the most popular self-help management books in recent years has been the somewhat controversial “Four Hour Work Week” from Tim Ferriss.
Everyone in the web industry claims to have read it, but very few have actually implemented any of the strategies in the book. I read it maybe 18 months ago, and to be brutally honest I thought that it the concept of working four hour weeks was insane, and I still do. It might work when you can delegate for a living, but it doesn’t work when your primary job is writing; that mine still is could be argued either way, although I’m happy to say that when I walk away from posting on The Inquisitr for a day (well, mostly, on the worst day last week I posted twice) all hell doesn’t break loose and the site doesn’t fall off a cliff.
All that aside though, Ferriss’ theories about delegating to lessen the load do make sense. I’ve been swamped with email for so long now I don’t remember a time that I wasn’t. As The Inquisitr has grown, so to has the email load. It’s not that I don’t try to filter email; I have maybe 30 rules set up in Gmail that filter out the email I don’t have to directly respond to, but that’s not enough. If you’ve sent an email to me in the last few months and never received a reply, my apologies; at a rough guess most days I might get to maybe 30-50% of it.
Things have to change, and I’m tired of apologizing to people for responding to their emails 7-14 days after they’ve sent them. So today I hired a virtual assistant via oDesk. Melanie starts Wednesday (Australian time), giving me another 24 hours to clean up my inbox for handover, and to write a pile of rules/ instructions for her to follow.
My experience with outsourcing hasn’t been great in the past; I seem to have a bad knack of picking people who promise the world then never deliver, but I’m mildly confident here. Melanie has a number of other clients she does VA work for, some who have had her on the books non-stop since January, and that’s always a positive sign.
I’ll report back in the coming weeks as to how it all goes. Sometimes you have to admit defeat and seek help, and my inbox was long overdue for that assessment.