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Turns out Magic Assistance Aren’t So Magical

When I first got into productivity I wasn’t that into the idea of outsourcing. I didn’t like the idea of giving up control over my work. However, once I gave in and tried it, I fell in love with outsourcing. So much so that I have written several posts about it, it’s one of my top productivity tips.

That being said, I recently had an experience that left me questioning my outsourcing beliefs. I have used several websites that outsource your to-do list like Fancy Hands, TaskRabbit, Zirtual & many more. My experience has always been generally positive. So when I heard of a new, similar company called Magic I thought I would give them a try.

The idea behind Magic is that you can use a virtual assistant to organize any task or issue you might have. All you pay is 53 cents per minute the assistant spends on the job. Seems simple enough, right?

As I’ve written about in my previous post I hosted my own Lights Camera Expert Live workshop recently and I decided to use Magic to help me organize the catering. Being the producer that I am, I had pretty much sorted everything myself already, I had downloaded the menus and decided what I wanted, at what time and for how many people. All they needed to do was put in the orders.

Magic assistants keep you up to date on their progress with your tasks, which is good. But in this case that didn’t really help very much. There seemed to be a bit of back and forth with one of the restaurants as the assistant had difficulty getting in touch with the person in charge. It happens, I get it. But what I didn’t understand was how they had managed to spend so much time on this job. Magic is not supposed to charge you for the time they spend waiting for someone to call them back, only the time they spend on the call.

So I was pretty shocked to find that they had racked up over 2 hours on this task, without any sort of conclusion in sight. When I asked for the time breakdown I discovered they had spent 40 minutes researching the websites of the restaurants I had picked. But why? I had already chosen from the menus and provided them with contact numbers so I still can’t figure out what exactly they were looking for on the websites.

Not wanting to be too pushy I decided to let this slide, hoping they would manage to sort it all soon. By the next day they had managed to rack up 4 and a half hours worth of time on this task, when they still hadn’t even booked anything. Completely fed up, I requested they end the job and decided to sort it myself. They did issue me a full refund after I complained but I still had the task to complete.

In the end I got someone else to  book the catering and it took her all of about half an hour, which is about the amount of time I would’ve spent on it too. It left me wondering whether I really needed to outsource the task at all. But I just didn’t want to do it! I still can’t figure out why it would have taken the Magic assistant four hours though.

Either way it taught me a valuable lesson, sometimes it is just better (and quicker) to do it yourself!

Have you had any outsourcing mishaps?

Grab Some Graduates Now & Outsource Your Side Hustle

As you may know I am a big fan of outsourcing, but when I’m asked about it, typically people want to know about one thing – interns. The idea of hiring interns is appealing, but the practically of finding good ones and deciding how best to use them can be tricky.

I’ve had a history of success with hiring interns to help me at ListProducer.com, while some of that comes down to luck, there are ways to increase your chances of creating a successful internship for both the employer and the intern.

Where to find them

June is graduation season, which means there plenty of excited fresh graduates out there who are looking to get started on their careers. So where’s the best place to find them? Big websites like Indeed or SimplyHired seem like a good place to start, but there’s so many postings it’s easy for yours to get lost among the many. So where should you put ads? Read more

Cross These Tasks Off Your To-Do List

I love outsourcing. I mean who wouldn’t? You get to take your to-do list and hand it off to someone else!

What’s not to love?

However it’s one of the few productivity suggestions that when I mention to people, the response I get tends to be dubious.

The answer I always get is, “Well, I dunno, I like to do things myself.”

Sound familiar?

I’m a control freak, so I get it. Letting someone else be responsible for a part of my business (even if it is only a very small one) can feel scary. But if I can get past the control freak fear, then why can’t other people.

I think that most people actually aren’t afraid to outsource – they just don’t know where to start!

For example, if you asked a child if they wanted to give up their chores, of course they’d be happy. But when you tell them they have to pick just one — the choice becomes a bit more difficult. Read more

These Excuses Are Keeping You From Getting More Done

Let’s be honest.  We all hold ourselves back in some way or another.

When we start to fall into a bad habit, it’s so much easier to blame something or someone else than to get to the root of the problem. When it comes to poor productivity habits, I’ve heard all the excuses.

I’ve been over a few of them before, but there are so many I thought I’d go over a few that you might be telling yourself these days and help you get past them:

“I’d be more organized if I had more money”

This excuse differs from the others in the sense that it is – technically – true. If we all had the money to afford personal assistants of course we would be more organized!

But just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to give up on organization altogether. There are plenty of free apps to help you plan your day. If all else fails pen and paper is pretty cheap!

Fix: Stop focusing on what you don’t have and start thinking about what you do. Read more

Tested Strategies to Get More Done

workstation-405768_640I don’t have ADHD or ADD, but I know a lot about it.  That’s because I cover health news for a living. Although having this blog has taught me a lot about it too.  Turns out a lot of the tips that I’ve given through the years are particularly useful to people with ADHD and other attention issues and they’ve reached out to me about it.  It’s true — I struggle with distractions too and have systems to cope.

Recently I listened to Peter Shankman’s webinar on how to be productive when you have ADD. If you don’t know of him, Shankman is a public relations and marketing expert who has written three books including “Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over–and Collaboration Is In.” He also created HARO (Help a Reporter Out) which is a journalism tool I use daily. And he also has ADHD and travels all over the world regularly.  So there are a lot of amazing sights that catch his eye throughout the day! Read more