Confessions first; My name is Stephen, and I am a DIY-er.  I insist on doing almost everything for myself, and can’t bear the thought of paying someone else to do something I am capable of.  The problem is, I believe I am capable of almost everything.  I grew up being defined by building things, in Lego, Meccano, and Airfix, then progressing to basic carpentry, mechanics and electrics.  That’s all I ever received for birthday and Christmas presents.  Whatever I wanted, I was given the kit, and told to make it myself.  I hated those cold afternoons standing beside my dad, passing him tools as he stripped and rebuilt the car, but I mst have absorbed much of it.  Decorating too was a family affair, and uncles would be drafted in according to their expertise in joinery, painting, and plumbing.

My Do-it-yourself-ing has now extended beyond renovating houses, reroofing, converting attics and building extensions.  It reaches into every area, and it’s how I came to be involved in the online sector. I built my first website in 1998 because, I reasoned, “how hard can it be?”  Around the same time, a good friend, and extremely successful businessman and recruiter, told me that he always delegated tasks wherever possible.  Continually learning skills that weren’t core to his business, would have been an interesting, but costly distraction.

Do you find yourself learning new skills for short term projects, which consequently divert you from your full time occupation?  It’s no bad thing to always be open to new challenges, as we now know that modern careers can take unexpected turns.  However, it’s important to keep your focus on what pays the bills, and fulfil your full potential by not spreading yourself too thinly.  Being a good judge of what skills are worth investing in, and what tasks need to be “outsourced” is a skill in itself, and one we could all (me included) benefit from.

What tasks do you outsource, rather than spend time on yourself?

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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