By Leah Busque (Founder, TaskRabbit) Editor's note: You can nominate Leah Busque for the Founder of the Year 2011 thru December 13!
I recently read an article about the work/ life balance of successful women. In it, there was a stat about the percent of highly successful women who actually do their own grocery shopping. While the actual percentage escapes me, the number was extremely low. Not surprising! It's necessary (and a real skill) to acknowledge where your time is best spent and make conscious decisions to focus on those areas.
Time is our most limited resource and knowing how to maximize it is imperative. To achieve the highest productivity and well-being for you (and society as a whole), as the theory goes, you must focus on your own "comparative advantage" -- meaning what you are relatively good, skilled, or efficient at.
Super successful women have clearly figured this out -- deliberately deciding to concentrate on tasks where they are most productive while outsourcing the tasks where they are less so. Thus, resulting in higher productivity (and again well being) for everyone involved.
There is no doubt that everyone is busy these days. But, if I had to guess, female entrepreneurs and technologists are probably one of the busiest groups of people on the planet. Between the marathon workdays, family obligations, and social commitments, we are simply strapped for time.
I know this struggle first hand. For me, building TaskRabbit is my main focus -- and has been since 2008. But, I also have a wonderful husband, family and friends that I enjoy spending time with (And frankly, it's nice to catch a yoga class every once in a while.). It's a constant struggle trying to build a company, spend time with loved ones, and get the occasional workout in.
But fortunately, I have a hand in building what I think is a pretty sweet solution. Giving women -- and all folks really- the opportunity to outsource the things they can so they can spend time doing what they are most skilled at (i.e., focusing on their comparative advantage) -- or what's most important to them -- was one of the main reasons I founded TaskRabbit.
As I began to build the business, I realized how vital outsourcing and delegating was to my own sanity and quality of life. For example, last year, I completely outsourced my Thanksgiving grocery shopping!
This allowed me to focus on the cooking, which I love to do, and most importantly relax and actually enjoy the holiday, rather than fighting over the last can of cranberry sauce at Safeway, which I'm not particularly skilled at.
Some of my fellow female entrepreneurs and company founders have also discovered how TaskRabbit can help keep them on top of their game -- allowing them to stay focused on the amazing companies they're building.
My friend and founder of the awesome community workspace marketplace, Loosecubes founder and CEO Campbell McKellar uses TaskRabbit to take care of her errands so she can spend time managing her company and being with family and friends. Campbell recently moved into an apartment in San Francisco and turned to TaskRabbit for help so she could focus on launching Loosecubes' office in the City by the Bay. Campbell also taps into TaskRabbit to organize and staff Loosecubes events.
TaskRabbit super-user and Vayable founder Jamie Wong has also caught the TaskRabbit bug. Like Campbell, Jamie is busy building one of the hottest tech startups. So, when she needs to do the dishes, clean her apartment or pick up burritos, Jamie taps TaskRabbit to help out. This allows Jamie to spend time focusing on her company, not doing chores around the house.
At its core, TaskRabbit is about empowering communities to help each other out. We, as a society, are intrinsically collaborative and social beings -- which is the premise of the comparative advantage theory. We are connecting people who are passionate about sharing and collaborating to get things done; in a real sense, forming virtual and real-world neighborhoods of TaskRabbits and TaskPosters.
Busy female entrepreneurs and professionals -- and everyone -- can once again rely and depend on others in their community so they can concentrate on what's most important to them. I love that TaskRabbit is empowering people to discover and innovate on the things they are most passionate about.
Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Leah Busque is the Founder of TaskRabbit, the pioneer in service networking. Now an industry-wide concept, service networking describes the productive power of a web-based, social-networked community. Leah has grown the company to more than 35 employees and expanded service to Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, New York and Chicago. Prior to TaskRabbit, Leah was a Software Engineer at IBM. Follow her on Twitter at @labusque.