If you’ve ever considered hiring a life assistant to help you with managing day-to-day tasks, now you can.
An Australian-based service now allows even the most organised, list-making types to catch a break – because the weight of carrying the mental load of remembering everything can take its toll.
Imagine having the ability to buy back time — arguably our most valued resource today — and freeing up some of that space in our minds to focus on other, more enjoyable things.
This is where Organise.Curate.Design. (OCD) comes in.
The service allows you to outsource your personal life admin and mental load, and was founded in 2017 by Caroline Guillemain-Brunne.
“We manage the admin and logistics of your to-do list. Every task has an element of research, admin and logistics to it. Tasks as simple as planning your meals for the week, and ordering or buying your groceries, still has a planning component and picking them up or having them delivered,” Guillemain-Brunne said.
“What we do is we take that admin and logistics burden away from you and we action those elements for you.”
Life assistants at OCD aren’t the doers of the jobs but rather the organisers of them. For example, they don’t assemble Ikea furniture for you, but they can find the person for the job.
Clients are repeatedly asking for assistance with meal planning, cooking, cleaning and solving financial matters such as getting a new phone plan, doing a tax return, or consolidating their superannuation.
“I find that people end up procrastinating on their to-do list or end up with a tonne of mental load because the thought of starting is the part that causes the overwhelm,” Guillemain-Brunne said.
“If someone else can do that admin and logistics, you often get more traction in what you need to do.”
Life assistants at OCD often begin by asking clients what they’d like to be doing with their time.
“That’s the whole purpose of our business – that people have the capacity to buy back time so they can spend their life doing the things they really want to be doing,” Guillemain-Brunne said.
Alleviating the mental load
Mental load is the planning, organising, checking, list-making, remembering and any other mental work you do to manage your life. It’s work that is tiring, never-ending and invisible. And women are most affected by it.
So, it probably comes as no surprise that the majority of OCD’s clients are women and mothers.
And Guillemain-Brunne said the main reason they are seeking the service is because they want to alleviate the pressures of mental load.
“Once you realise how much stuff is in your head, sometimes just the exercise of putting it down on paper, having someone categorise it and put some timelines on it, and helping you through that process can be such a massive weight off your shoulders,” she said.
As a wife, mother, business owner and someone who is actively involved in charity groups, Guillemain-Brunne is all too familiar with mental load.
She started OCD after realising she was never getting around to two important tasks on her to-do list: setting up a will and consolidating her superannuation.
“I thought, surely there is someone out there that can do the research for me but that really understands me, my life and personal needs,” she said.
But Guillemain-Brunne struggled to find a service that was tailored to her lifestyle, and thus her idea for OCD was born.
The human factor
The life assistants at OCD are real people based in Australia, not virtual assistants or artificial intelligence (AI).
And this marks an authentic point of difference for the service.
“There are definitely elements of technology that we use within the business. But when it comes to knowing my client’s child’s name, favourite food, his best friend’s name and what he’s allergic to, that’s a human trait,” Guillemain-Brunne said.
“Having the compassion and the personable approach to really gaining people’s trust – and having them share what could be years and years of mental load and stress – I don’t think I’d do that with (AI) Siri.
“The technology is there but I think when it comes to mental load, humans want to talk to humans. And they want to talk to people that they can relate to.
“I don’t think we’ll ever go down the path where we’ll use AI… and I’m even hesitant to offshore. For me, it’s the same theory – we need someone who lives in Australia, who understands our culture, understands the complexities of where we live and what we do every day, and that has a huge amount of value to our clients.”
Improving people’s lives
At the heart of it all, Guillemain-Brunne wants to help the everyday people who can most benefit from her service.
While she doesn’t have grand plans to change or expand her business, she does want to make the service available Australia-wide to anyone feeling overwhelmed with the number of things they need to do.
“I want to provide people with the opportunity to improve their lives,” she said.
“There are so many ways I can grow and scale this business but, to be honest, it is pretty grassroots. I’ve had people approach me asking if I want to tap into the luxury market… but I don’t know if they’re the people that are struggling the most.
“I think it is the middle-class families who genuinely have a lot of load — they have a mortgage, they’ve got kids in school, they’re trying to do their best while juggling all the balls in the air — and they’re the people I want to be helping.”