I’m Not A Plumber

There’s a point in everyone’s life where you realize what you are, and what you are not, capable of doing.

I’m always amazed at the level of skill and knowledge my father and father-in-law have when it comes to so-called “manly” projects.  As a kid, I remember My dad would frame a room, wire it, hang and finish drywall, and never so much as consult a book (let alone YouTube.com!).  My father-in-law thinks nothing of re-roofing his house, taking a patio sliding door completely out and replacing it, or tackling house issues like plumbing and electrical.

Because my wife also sees the many benefits of having men familiar with power tools around, she often assumes that the handy gene was passed down to me.

Alas, it isn’t so. (I do have a screw gun and I’m not afraid to use it!)

It was a leaking tub faucet that finally sealed my fate on making friends with a plumber and relinquishing all ‘handyman’ type issues that may come up.  But I gave it the ole college try just before I threw in the towel.  But not before I turned the nut on a bolt into an egg-shaped nut has-been.

The plumber showed up within a couple of hours, shook his head at me when he saw what I did to the nut, and then set about completing the task of replacing a leaking valve within 30 minutes.  The total bill, including the trip charge, was no more than $115.00.  Factor in me not having some of the right tools, the right parts, or the right attitude after botching the job, this seemed like peanuts to pay.

Without going into too much detail about what kind of money I make, I can tell you that my time is absolutely worth more than $115.00 an hour.  While my ego would like to think that I can summon the collective knowledge of my father and grandfathers who would tackle a plumbing situation with reckless abandon (and successfully complete it), my true self knows that the most important power tool in my garage is the one I never have to use myself.

As a general rule, I rarely fix anything that I could screw up more than it would cost to fix right the first time.  That covers about 85% of what happens in my home.

But it’s not all about the money.  It’s about my frustration, or lack thereof when I don’t have to know how to fix stuff.

This post is about time management, or more specifically, priority management when it comes to tasks.  A very successful author and speaker I saw at a conference once said something that struck me as being profound, and at the time, not realistic.  She said, “Outsource everything you have to do at home.  Cleaning, cooking, maintenance, laundry… all of it.  The time you spend doing that is time that could be spent writing, networking, playing with your children, or pampering yourself.”

Again, at the time, it seemed like the talk of a self-indulged braggart.  Then I experienced what it’s like to be so time-strapped that everyday routines seemed like revenue killers.  I experienced what it was like to not have to clean, and instead have a full Saturday with my children.

This is not a one-size fits all strategy.  But if there are things in your life that are obstructing your ability to pursue what:

a) makes you happy
b) makes you money
c) your true calling,

then maybe it’s time to look at what can be outsourced in your home.

As I told my wife just last night when she asked me to check out the leaking kitchen faucet, “Honey, I have good news and I have bad news.  The bad news is I’m not a plumber.  The good news is I’m a very competent speaker, coach, and consultant, and I know some good plumbers.”

  • bryntyankfan

    Love it! Outsourcing mundane tasks is a big key to maximizing your time and your life!