AJ Jacobs: Is Now the Time To Outsource Your Worries?

A 2005 article in Esquire entitled “My Outsourced Life” by writer/editor AJ Jacobs humorously details an interesting experiment he’d conducted about outsourcing to India his usual day-to-day life tasks, both personal and professional. He winds up with a couple female helpers named Asha and Honey.

Ultimately, after a few weeks, AJ Jacobs realizes that although he’s benefited from this type of remote assistance, he still feels too stressed. So now he turns his attention to his “inner life,” including his therapy.

Jacobs describes the ensuing process: “First, I try to delegate my therapy. My plan is to give Asha a list of my neuroses and a childhood anecdote or two, have her talk to my shrink for 50 minutes, then relay the advice. Smart, right? My shrink refused. Ethics or something. Fine. Instead, I have Asha send me a meticulously researched memo on stress relief. It had a nice Indian flavor to it, with a couple of yogic postures and some visualization.”

Not good enough, he says. “I decided I needed to outsource my worry. For the last few weeks I’ve been tearing my hair out because a business deal is taking far too long to close. I asked Honey if she would be interested in tearing her hair out in my stead. Just for a few minutes a day. She thought it was a wonderful idea. ‘I will worry about this every day,’ she wrote. ‘Do not worry.'”

How’d it all work out? “The outsourcing of my neuroses was one of the most successful experiments of the month. Every time I started to ruminate, I’d remind myself that Honey was already on the case, and I’d relax. No joke—this alone was worth it.”

No joke at all—I totally believe this could work. If anyone out there has found a “Honey” of your own, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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