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How to Clone Yourself!

How to Clone Yourself!
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    How many of us have wished at times that we could clone ourselves? Delegating to a personal assistant is a simple way to reclaim hours of your time and free you up to do what you are best at doing. Think this is not for you? Think again and read on! We’re going to cover how to afford it, how to find one, how to pay them, and ideas for what they can do.

    “Isn’t a personal assistant just for rich people and celebrities?”
    I am talking about a responsible high school or college student with a car who would love to make a little extra cash helping you out, kind of like a babysitter. You can utilize this person as little as 1-2 hours per week, so almost anyone who can afford a babysitter can probably afford a personal assistant. You can reclaim 2 hours of your time for about $16-20 per week, depending on the going pay rate in your area. This is like foregoing one or two lunches out, a few lattes, or a night at the movies. Of course, you could also hire a professional personal assistant or household manager, but that is definitely a full- or part-time job and a whole other article.

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    Don’t forget about the value of your time! You can do the math with your salary to find out how much you make per hour. Does it make sense for you to be sitting and waiting in a Jiffy Lube when you could be getting more productive things done?

    “What about the ‘nanny tax’ issue? I don’t want to be an employer.”
    You can pay someone as much as $1500 in one year (in 2007 in the US) and not have to worry about being an employer and paying taxes. That amount means that you could pay someone about $28 each week for 52 weeks without worrying about it, which if you pay the person $8 per hour, that is 3.5 hours of your time reclaimed! (Readers in the US should check the IRS Publication 926 “Household Employer’s Tax Guide” for questions.) If you plan on exceeding $1500 in one year, you can hire a service to handle all of the details for you. Breedlove & Associates, for example, is a leading provider of payroll and tax services for household employers that can take all of the headaches away.

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    “How will I find this person?”
    If you’ve ever hired a babysitter, it’s just as easy to hire a personal assistant. Your friends and co-workers probably all know some really sharp young person who does babysitting who may not have considered this type of work. Most universities have a job bank or other means for connecting students with work. If you attend a place of worship, they sometimes have babysitter directories and classified ads for members that can help. And you can even post your job on Craigslist.org. Do be careful and check references on anyone you are considering, and get a copy of his or her driver’s license and car insurance information. Do whatever is necessary to make you comfortable with this person.

    “What can this person do for me?”

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    • Groceries and other household purchasing
    • Car washes, oil changes and other car maintenance
    • Watch and jewelry repairs
    • Dry cleaning and alterations pickups
    • Shopping returns and exchanges
    • Prescription pickups
    • Video store and library returns
    • Bank deposits
    • Pet-sitting, pet care, taking animals to the vet
    • House-sitting while you travel
    • Business card entry, spreadsheet maintenance, or other simple data entry
    • Calling for reservations or making other arrangements on your behalf
    • Scanning, filing, shredding
    • Transporting items to and from home, office, or school
    • Transporting children
    • Dishes, laundry, straightening up the house

    One way to do this is to save up your errands and have this person come over once a week. Think about how wonderful it would be to reclaim even just 2 hours of your week for other things that are more important! Make it happen!

    Lorie Marrero is a Professional Organizer and creator of The Clutter Diet, an innovative, affordable online program for home organization. Lorie’s site helps members lose “Clutter-Pounds” from their home by providing online access to her team of organizers. Lorie writes something useful, funny, interesting, and/or insanely practical every few days or so in the Clutter Diet Blog. She lives in Austin, TX, where her company has provided hands-on organizing services to clients since 2000.

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    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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