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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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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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