03 Oct Why You Should Outsource Your PowerPoint Slides
I spent almost two decades working ridiculously hard and having no fun. I gave myself reasons, such as “This is the price you pay to work for a tech company,” or “This is the price you pay to get to the next level,” or “This is the price you pay to keep your job in the era of layoffs.”
Saving my hard-earned money for the future and being smart by spending as little as possible sounds great, right? I didn’t realize it at the time, but I paid a significant price: the loss of time.
Fast forward six years. I have my own business. I no longer work in a cubicle. I no longer spend most of my workdays attending unproductive conference calls or waste my evenings doing the work I was unable to get done during the daylight hours. My email no longer alerts me to 1,278 unread messages. While I now have more responsibility, greater risk, and higher expenses, I’m paying a much lower price and enjoying freedom and flexibility. I have the same amount of time as I did before, but I think differently about it.
Time Well Spent
One of the biggest benefits is finally having time to read books. Not summaries of books, not blog entries about books, but actual books themselves. I had forgotten how much I loved reading when I was a kid.
Then I got a magic ticket: a library card. However, I never go to the library. My magic ticket lets me download book after book after book to read on my tablet any time, anywhere. At first, I missed the feel of a real book. Of knowing instantly how much of the book was left to read. Enjoying the design, layout, etc. When I discovered I could increase the type size so my aging eyes didn’t have to squint, I embraced reading ebooks on my tablet. Ahh, glorious!
So, what does all this have to do with PowerPoint? Bear with me a bit longer…
Four Hours or Forty Hours?
One of the first ebooks I read was The Four Hour Work Week. I disagreed with author Tim Ferriss’s premise that the goal in life was to spend as little time working as possible. Some people actually ENJOY working. I’m one of those people. Nevertheless, I had an epiphany reading it. (I hope Tim will forgive me for coloring outside the lines in my reinterpretation.)
Here’s what I realized: The thing in your life with the most value is your time, and time is limited. So you need to think differently about it. I don’t think twice about paying a CPA to do my taxes, yet I think it’s silly to have someone else shop for groceries, because I can do that myself. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Let’s say, for ease of example, you earn $50K per year. Your time is worth roughly $25 per hour at the moment. Imagine you hate mowing the lawn. If you can hire someone for less than $25 per hour to mow your lawn, you should do so immediately. Outsource as much of your life as possible. . . basically all stuff you don’t enjoy or tasks that take way too much valuable time. Your money is there to help you enjoy your life. When you enjoy your life, you can get more things done efficiently and get more rest, so you actually may end up getting promoted or starting your own business or whatever else you aspire to achieve.
Great concept. However, it took me forever to get over my inability to spend money on tasks I could do myself, especially at work. Instead, I continued to waste valuable time tediously formatting documents in Microsoft Word, experimenting with different typefaces, troubleshooting Excel formulas, and agonizing over whether a process diagram should contain a circle or a square. Sound familiar?
After years of being proud of my frugality, I finally realized that being cheap was the most expensive route I could go.
Old Habits Die Hard…with a Vengeance
After dipping my toe into different outsourcing waters, I finally got used to the temperature. Experimenting led me to hire a “virtual admin” (thank you, FreeeUp) and a variety of freelancers with different skills. I no longer have to do my own travel planning, format documents, proofread documents, manage projects, update my website code, resize graphics for social sites, or write marketing copy. That lets me focus on the parts of my job I love, the creative stuff that keeps me energized. Ta da!
Get to the Power Point
So here’s where PowerPoint comes in . . . (finally)
Why waste an entire weekend creating a last-minute presentation? Why spend hours incorporating slides from 5 different decks, fixing inconsistent typefaces and color combos, removing awkward animations, writing new content, drawing new diagrams, replacing hideous images with new ones, finding icons, and figuring out how to fix stretched photos.
Think like an executive. Just because a task has been assigned to you doesn’t mean you have to execute it yourself. Embrace the new world of micro-outsourcing. If your company lacks PowerPoint wizards, hire your own. Cary Communications is a great place to start, offering services such as presentation content development, PowerPoint help (whether fixing one slide or creating 175 new slides from scratch), graphic design, document formatting, templates, and much more.
You may not achieve a 4-hour work week, but you may get your weekend back.