In the classic book The 80/20 Principle, author Richard Koch lays out his 10 Golden Rules of Success, applicable to both business and to life in general. I have my own particular take on them, which is a little different than Koch’s, and are more specific to the creative lifestyle.
Koch’s rule states that you should “use outside contractors for everything but your core skill”. This seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? That’s why most of us go to the grocery store, rather than growing out of produce, slaughtering our own meat, or baking our own bread. There are economies of scale at work there, so others can specialize and not only do it cheaper but with greater quality. We hire plumbers and auto mechanics not just because they’re better at their core skill than we are, but because we find certain things to be a chore. I, personally, hate yard work; when I’ve had to live in places that had a yard I was responsible for, I happily paid someone else to mow the grass and rake the leaves.
The real value of outsourcing things for a creative person is that it buys you time. Most folks have to work day jobs, or do the type of creative work that pays the bills rather than focusing on personal projects. If the time left over has to be used on chores, you’re cheating yourself. You can debate the cost of hiring people to do something you’re able to do yourself, but contrary to popular thinking in modern culture, the value of a thing is not limited to its cash value. What you’re actually doing is buying time, and making an investment in yourself.
Once again, this comes down to setting priorities in your life. If you want to do something, you will find the time by cutting out trivial activities like surfing the internet, watching television, and running pointless errand. If you need to buy time, you’ll find the money for it by sacrificing things that don’t add value to your life. Making hard choices to pursue your creative life will make you appreciate your creative endeavors all the more.