- The couple have two young children and a very busy lives managing their careers.
- They started using a virtual assistant service to help them with their daily tasks and organization.
- Here is their story, told to MaryLou Costa
Editor’s note: The family has asked to remain anonymous for reasons of professional confidentiality. Their identities are known to Insider.
I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. I am a management consultant in London and my wife runs her own business. We’re so busy that we have to try to fit life administration into work time, which means you don’t always pay attention or things just don’t get done.
Tasks like fixing the washing machine that isn’t working or getting the kids vaccinated and having to sit on the phone for an hour to make an appointment just add up. And suddenly, the list of things to do at home becomes more urgent than that of work.
When we got a virtual assistant, that changed everything. Now we outsource our tasks. In return, we have more family time.
I was skeptical at first
We use a service called BlckBx, where we can list the tasks we need to complete through a portal and in a group chat, and the team gets on with it.
I have to admit that I am quite a cynical person, so the idea that there is someone or a solution that can solve the problem of having too much to do is hard to believe. But I was part of a test group that my company set up as a work benefit before rolling it out to all employees to help improve work-life balance for everyone.
They could pay me more money, I guess, but that doesn’t change my stress level or what’s going on at home. This recognizes the constraints that all working parents face.
I was able to reduce my to-do list
Since then, I have been able to reduce my personal to-do list by five to 10 hours per week. We had help with things like planning our oldest child’s birthday party, cleaning our windows, upgrading our internet package, fixing broken luggage, organizing online shopping returns, restaurant reservations so my wife and I can spend some quality time together, and organizing family vacation activities.
Doing more things with less effort is mind-boggling. Five hours doesn’t seem like a lot in a week, but when you think about how my assistant’s job at work is to optimize every 10 minutes, with work calls going from an hour to 45 to 30 to 20 minutes, everything is programmed with crazy intensity.
Normally, a third of the things on my to-do list I just wouldn’t do, and life would just be a little poorer as a result, but we’d get by. Another third I would try to do while multitasking at work. And then the other third I would have to do it at, say, five in the morning on a Saturday, which has a ripple effect on the kind of mood and energy you have on the weekends when you’re supposed to spend time with your family.
Our marriage is fairer now
Now I have more time with my children and am much more productive at work. My wife was also a massive beneficiary. This allows for a fairer distribution of the home workload.
It was really a game-changer for us to balance everything out.
She had a corporate career at a major bank, and she’s now a Marie Kondo tidying consultant, which she started during the pandemic while on her second parental leave. Being able to set aside her time to pursue this has allowed her to begin her next chapter and flourish.
I would not have thought that such a gradual change could make such a difference. I always think about things in systems, and now I feel like the system, in terms of how we take care of our personal administration, is much more stable and resilient. It means we can enjoy our life more and not worry too much about what lies ahead.