ProdPod: Episode 41 — Outsourcing Tasks for Greater Productivity…For Free, Part II

This is the final episode in our four-part ProdPod series on outsourcing your personal tasks in life…this episode is on getting started with bartering your personal tasks.

To get started…
Grab a paper ledger journal from the local office supply store (or if you’re tech savvy, create an Excel or Google Spreadsheet workbook). Each sheet is dedicated to one person. Discuss with your barter buddy (or buddies) the terms of your arrangement. Each task is worth one credit and you should both track the credits of yourself and the other, so you can make sure that you’re responsibly handling any conflicts that may arise. Determine how the credits can be used and make note of them in your journal or spreadsheets. Some credits will have expiration dates, some bartering relationships will reset every month, quarter or year. And, in the initial phase, I’d make sure to start with a test period where you can renegotiate the bartering relationship with your barter buddy after the first few times for any reason if the arrangement is just not working for either of you, without hard feelings or false assumptions. Relationships are far more important than a few poorly-laundered t-shirts!
The best items to barter are routine items that each party does on a weekly or monthly basis so there’s less management involved. But, I’ve found that with co-workers you can get around many management problems and organizational productivity shortcomings by creating a bartering market. There’s no doubt this requires much more planning but it can pay off if executed properly and managed responsibly. I believe that bartering tasks and projects for greater productivity is an untapped resource we all have access to in our ever-increasingly hectic lives, and all you need to do is ask the people you know.