Advertising
Advertising

How to Clone Yourself!

How to Clone Yourself!
Copy

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    “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?”

    Advertising

    • 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.

    Advertising

    More by this author

    6 Reasons to Keep Receipts…Or Not! Prefer Paper Planners? 3 Best Calendars You’ve Never Heard Of Organizing Saves You Money: 8 Valuable Opportunities The Seven Essential “Stations” Every Home Should Have Five Common Working-At-Home Problems- Solved!

    Trending in Featured

    1 Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) 2 How To Start a Conversation with Anyone 3 Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context 4 How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day 5 5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

    This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

    The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

    Curiosity

    Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

    People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

    Patience

    Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

    Advertising

    When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

    Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

    A Feeling for Connectedness

    This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

    A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

    The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

    With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

    Advertising

    1. Research

    Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

    Learning the Basics

    Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

    Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

    What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

    Hitting the Books

    Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

    Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

    Advertising

    Long-Term Reference

    While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

    My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

    2. Practice

    Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

    A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

    Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

    3. Network

    One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

    Advertising

    These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

    Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

    4. Schedule

    For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

    Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

    Final Thoughts

    In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

    If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

    At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

    More About Self-Learning

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

    Read Next