If you want to be happy, healthy and have a great relationship with your partner and kids, buying fancy shoes or following the latest diet trends probably won’t help. Instead, consider outsourcing some ordinary household chores.
What Does “Outsourcing” Chores Mean?
Sounds strange? Not at all. Who among us truly enjoys cleaning the oven or doing the laundry? Putting that aside, researchers have learned that having someone else do your household chores makes you happier and healthier.
By “outsourcing” your chores, you feel less stressed and have more time for activities that you do enjoy.
What Are Other Benefits?
When others do your household chores, you feel more in control of your day—which in turn decreases your stress—and being less stressed is good for your health.
It also frees up time for you to focus on yourself and your family. Researchers found that families who outsource their household chores spend significantly more quality time with each other, have fewer disagreements and have happier and more fulfilling relationships.
“Couples who spend money to buy time report greater overall relationship satisfaction than couples who report not spending any money to save time in a typical month,” says Harvard Business Professor Ashley Whillans, who has studied this topic extensively.
Which of your household chores should you outsource?
Researchers say that it’s best to outsource routine chores, especially those that you and your family dislike doing the most. “It’s about taking small actions–not doing anything too drastic,” says Whillans. “Just [sit] down and [think] about whether there’s anything you can outsource that you really don’t like, that stresses you out a lot.”
And that makes a lot of sense. You feel the difference the most when you are suddenly freed from certain regular activities—whether it’s shopping for food or mowing the lawn.
If you dislike those activities, then you’re going to feel a huge sense of relief.
Don’t outsource all of your household chores.
Families who outsource too many chores end up more stressed than they were before because they have much more to manage. On top of that, they feel guilty about doing too little of the household work themselves.
What should you do?
Sit down with your family and create a personalized “outsourcing plan.” But first, ask yourselves whether or not you’re ready to spend money on outsourcing household chores. Do you have sufficient funds, or do you need to save up first?
Then discuss which chores you’d like to outsource and why, and how much you’re willing to pay for it. Identify the chores you and your family dislike doing the most and disagree about most often.
Finally, make plans for all the exciting things you could be doing with all that extra time—since that’s the whole point of outsourcing the chores in the first place.
Tanni Haas, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences, and Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College.
Image courtesy of iStock.