If you’ve ever been sick at a hospital, you know how great it feels to have other people bring you food, change your clothes, select movies, and if you’re really lucky/unlucky, take you to the bathroom. “You just rest and recover,” they say after sticking a feeding tube in your throat.
Midterms should feel just as free and focused; it is a week or two in the bubble of academia, preparing for inevitable regurgitation, not a blind jousting tournament in a pit of snakes. To really win midterms, eliminate unecessary minutiae in your day and take all of the saved time to study and masturbate.
Luckily, time is a currency and there are a lot of unemployed people with a surplus that would love to give it to you. This midterm season, get acquainted with TaskRabbit, the ingenious marketplace that does for tasks what eBay and Craiglist did for used things. Buy and sell real people’s time, and save your own.
The concept is simple and brilliant: Post a task you need help with, set a bounty and watch as struggling actors, models, quiz show rejects and former Enron employees do it with elegance. All the doers must submit written and video applications, undergo crminal backround checks and study the company handbook, so these ain’t average Joes.
Your task can be virtual, like spell-checking a paper, or IRL, like running errands around the city or cleaning an apartment. There are tons of other categories, but these are the popular ones:
- Delivery: Ask someone to pick up 10,000 toothpicks and deliver them to your toothpick party at 10 PM.
- House Chores: Ask someone to scrub your bathroom floor and then cut 10 carrots into flowers.
- Shopping: Make someone a list of all the stuff you want from Fantasy World, and tell them where to drop it off.
- Carpenting: Ask someone to assemble a table or build you a floating shelf to display redheaded dolls.
- Moving: Find a strong person to help you transport a couch to your 9th-floor walkup. Since you’ll probably get help from a struggling artist, it’s basically Rabbit Movers.
- Party Help: Get a bartender to work your shindig and clean up after all the drunk girls tear it up.
Since it’s midterm season, you’ve got a great excuse to examine your daily routine and assign the mundane tasks to someone with actual time to spare. It might be errands or it might even be related to studying. We put TaskRabbit to the test with a virtual task worth an admittedly-high $11: fill our 9-column spreadsheet with animals that match the color at the top of each column. And for shits and giggles, we asked them to shade any listed animal that began with a vowel in red. One hour and fourty-five minutes later, we received an email with the completed spreadsheet, exactly as we’d requested.
You should know better than to use the site for completing assignments, but there’s no shame in asking a TaskRabbit to color-code your study guide, help you format a works cited, find 50 high-resolution paintings of fruit, make flashcards out of your study terms, pick up your textbook from an apartment in Bushwick or transfer your hand-written notes into type.
More Ways To Outsource
But don’t stop there! If you haven’t yet discovered the Asian laundromat across the street, now is the perfect time. Stuff all your clothes, detergent and softener into a bag and let them wash, separate and fold your junk. Sock matching alone is worth the price, not to mention all the time you’ll save. Forget your humility and just be high maintenance for a hot second.
If you don’t want to use TaskRabbit for food shopping, save a few hours during the week by signing up for grocery delivery service FreshDirect. Build your grocery list on the toilet, while you’re riding the NYU bus or waiting in queue for coffee using their free iPhone app. For supplies like shampoo and toothpaste, try Soap.com if you’re not already sick of their obnoxious transit ads.
For tasks specific to NYU and academics, wait for the app Beagle to launch this week at NYU. Unlike TaskRabbit, tasks are performed and requested by email-verified students. It’s perfect for getting kids to clean your dorm room, tutor you in math or fix your XBOX. Beagle’s emphasis on real-time location-based chores makes it the perfect way to get coffee without leaving your cocoon in Bobst.
Looking forward to seeing all you Tischies become TaskRabbits after graduation. (Just kidding!)
[Images by Ben Zweig]