Being a wife doesn’t mean what it used to in our culture, thank goodness. We all need help handling what I call the morass of petty shit that threatens to become our lives. These chores are no longer the sole province of wife-dom. ‘I need a wife.’ How often have you heard or said that? But since many of us are wives, we know that’s not at all what we mean.
We mean we need a staff.
There is a vicious cycle of reasoning that keeps us from setting up a support system, starting with ‘who the hell do I think I am?’ quickly followed by ‘it costs too much’, ‘it’s easier to do it myself than to explain it to somebody else’, quickly contradicted by ‘but I don’t have time to do it all’ and from there circling back to the original question. I was first inspired to step away from this unhelpful conundrum by a book called The 4 hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, a living harbinger of the brave new world of virtual assistants. At first I balked at the socio-political implications of paying someone in India to take care of me. Those questions still exist, but mostly I’m thinking how lucky I am to live in a place where I can design my life and livelihood, with the support of people for whom what I can afford to pay is actually living wage!
Here’s a resource I recommend as you kick off your own outsourcing adventures:
Contemporary Virtual Assistants. Go to their site to register for ‘Delegating Effectively in 21 days’, their free e-course.
Here’s another: Elance is a clearing house for all kinds of virtual helpers who respond to job offerings by bidding on them. The range of expertise and pricing in response to my posts has been enormous, with bids from competent entities starting as low as $5 an hour. At that rate, you can afford to make a few mistakes, right? After all, there’s a learning curve to delegating, whether in person or virtually, and it costs money to go to that school.
My exploration into delegating has only just begun, but I can say that it helps to figure out two things: 1.What do you like doing, and 2. what do you think you should be doing? What we’re best and most effective at is usually the former. For instance, I don’t enjoy online research; for me, it’s like entering a labyrinth of distractions and tangents that lead nowhere. I do however, like to write. This self-assessment led to my realization that online research of, and registering with article banks was a perfect VA assignment. I’ve also started sending the laundry out. I still have to sort, but eventually I hope to sidestep that by hiring and coordinating a cleaning person and laundry service via virtual assistant. Once you learn how to work with VAs, the potential exists to practically clone yourself! (Scary, I know.)
Rahti Gorfien, founder of Creative Calling Coaching, is a Life Coach whose practice is primarily comprised of group and individual coaching for artist and freelance parents. Her blogs have been featured regularly in Hip Slope Momma, Momasphere and Sanemom. She lives in Park Slope.
photo credit: Martijn van Exel