My life as a Virtual Assistant, one day at a time!
The concept of becoming a “virtual assistant” or “VA” was pretty new to me in 2016/17. After much research and debate, I thought what better way to do what I love, when I want to, for whomever I wanted to and still have the freedom to be a mother to my two beautiful daughters (which I had been neglecting while working in the corporate environment). So, this is a typical timeline for what I’d like to say is the best job I’ve ever had!
Wake up, fight with my daughters to get out of bed, get them dressed, breakfast for my youngest, nothing for my oldest! In the car by 6am for the commute to school. This is done in silence while they continue sleeping and I enjoy some quiet time so early in the morning!
Arrive at school, sit there with them and their gaggle of friends till 7:45am (during this time I go through emails and quick peek at slack to see if anything has come through for me)
Back at home, 2nd coffee in hand and time for the long commute to my desk. I get settled at my desk, open about a cluster of computer windows, and start my work day.
I usually have a few little jobs I like to do before I start the bigger jobs I need to focus on for longer:
- Log into Client A’s emails as I monitor these each hour and answer or file for action later for her (sending WhatsApp’s during the day for her to action)
- Post Client B’s Facebook posts for the day, maybe scheduling some to appear later in the day or week.
- Prepare and send off invoices for projects completed the previous day/week for Client A
Start working on client C’s calling campaign
Drive to school – pick up my daughters!!
Get home, girls off to catch up with friends (very busy social lives!)
Final calls and report for Client C’s calling campaign
Aprons on! Spoons at the ready! And we’re prepared to concoct dinner! One oversees ingredients, one in charge of putting dinner together, all responsible for cleaning up!
Help with homework and projects!
Sit down and eat dinner together! An overall success! (as usual! They obviously have their mother’s genes!). Talk about the day and what we all learnt!
Clean up, prepare next day’s school uniforms, lunches, get school bags & sports bags ready!
Tidy up the house, bath time with bubbles pouring over the edge of the bath!! Never tire of this!
Help my daughters practice their 3 dance routines (in preparation for exams in April)
Bedtime!! Good night stories, kisses & prayers!
Plan for next day in diary and call it a day! (in reality my day continues for another 2-3 hours and then when I’m sleeping for much longer (my brain isn’t geared for downtime and continuously works tirelessly!!)
I consider myself an all-rounder, I’m deadline-driven while being proactive. I’m great at communicating and keeping my clients updated on my progress.
As you can see, I need to be very organised with my time. Prioritising and organization are my strengths. I absolutely love my job and have a wide administrative skill set and love the variety it gives me.
Since I’ve given up ice-cream, Nestle Cappuccino’s is now my vice! (not quite sure which is worse).
Improving My Time Management and Organisation In 2018 – By T. Barkus
As a Virtual Assistant juggling several clients across 3 continents, 4 time zones and differing industries, it is vital to be organised. In fact, the organisation is absolutely paramount if I don’t want to end up in a daily panic under my desk!
So when the VA Connect team was instructed to get to know a colleague in order to identify and set them a suitable challenge during the month of December; the challenge set for me by my colleague was well selected!
My challenge – to improve my Administration and Organisational skills by taking an online course.
With a wealth of courses to choose from, I took a while to choose one (I went on to learn that procrastination must be resisted!) and eventually decided on an Introduction to Time Management and Organisation course.
Here is a summary of the main points I learned from the course that are most applicable to Virtual Assistants.
Create a daily plan: Plan each day in the morning with an overview of how the day should pan out. This forms a guideline and will help keep you focused.
Prioritize tasks wisely: For me, choosing a list of daily tasks and the order to complete them is dictated by deadlines and also by time zones. If possible I like to work on my US client’s work in the evenings when they are around (during their late morning) for me to interact with and ask questions if required.
Time box your tasks: For each task, it is advised that you allocate a set amount of time to work on it. This results in better productivity.
Use a calendar: Using a calendar is fundamental to staying on top of daily activities and looming deadlines. I use Google Calendar mainly and it is synced to my mobile phone so I get alerts and reminders wherever I am.
Aim to be early: If you target to be on time, you may well achieve your target but often will be late! It was suggested that if you schedule to be early, you’ll most likely be on time. A tip I am going to use for sure.
It’s ok to say no! Learn to say no sometimes (politely of course) rather than agreeing to do something that you will then not being able to fulfill or complete to your best ability. In my experience, this is very wise advice and clients appreciate honesty.
Don’t procrastinate: A habit we are all guilty of I am sure but when you have a busy schedule of clients, procrastination can cause havoc! As a Virtual Assistant, the best way to avoid too much procrastination is to focus on one key task at a time and to check yourself when you realise your concentration is wandering. Time is too valuable!
Thanks to my colleague Chantel for the challenge. I am looking forward to a more organised and productive 2018.
21 Days Walking Challenge With My Weak Ankle – By Lynda Wessels
As a close knit VA team we were all challenged to do something somewhat out of our comfort zones.
I was challenged by Karen Wessels to do a 1km walk every day for 21 days. I accepted the challenge but alas was unable to complete it as my ankle decided to put a spoke in the wheel so to speak.
I have ankle instability or as some would call it ‘weak ankles’ due to an injury suffered quite a while back and it has never really healed completely. The swelling and uncomfortableness unfortunately returned.
I do love brisk walking though as opposed to just strolling. Walking on the beach is also awesome and therapeutic!
While on holiday on a beautiful farm I really did not want to miss out on walking with the family on various outings so I donned my ankle support which does allow one to walk without too much discomfort. By the way there is a video to show one exactly how to strap it round your ankle. I do however still need to work on ankle healing completely.
What exactly is the use of an ankle support you may ask? It can help speed up recovery time when used in conjunction with other rehabilitation methods. It allows one to stay mobile longer with the brace offering compression to the affected area. It can reduce pain and inflammation. The type of ankle brace you require depends on the severity of the injury. Moderate supports can also be used as a preventative brace to help avoid injuries.
Back to walking on the farm : the first day I managed to walk 1km and felt quite proud of myself. The next walk I attempted was all in all 3kms. It was a bit heavy going but I managed to do it even thought at times I had to use my toes or my heel to walk on rather than putting pressure on the foot. Strangely enough it did help somewhat. On our last day on the farm I did a 1.5km walk. So all in all I walked 5.5kms while on holiday. Yes a far cry from the 1km 21 day challenge but at least better than nothing as I did try.
The benefits of walking are great. If one does just 30mins a day for 5 days in the week to move your body, it will certainly improve your mood, you will sleep better, reduce saggy skin and burn extra calories!
Walking daily is no easy feat. It sounds easy but to keep up with it is actually quite harder.
A good idea is to log your minutes walked. This will help with accountability.
Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life. It has tremendous physical and mental benefits.
Walking in one’s neighbourhood is great too as you notice a lot more than when you are travelling in a vehicle. And to walk early morning or evening one gets to notice that beautiful sunrise or sunset!
Something else to take note of is that daily walking has more health benefits than sporadic heavy exercising. It not only helps you feel good, it will also help you look good as well. Exercise does not have to be harsh and difficult. A simple brisk walk each day can greatly improve your health and if done during the working week it will also help to clear your mind and prevent one from sitting in a fixed position most of the day in front of the computer and at your desk.
So here is to me hopefully shortly being able to do that brisk walk daily, or even just 5 days a week!
Here’s How Successful People Spend Their Weekends
A study from Stanford University shows that business owners who don’t work on weekends are onto something. According to the results, productivity-per-hour declines steeply the longer we make our work-week. After 55 hours or so, productivity has declined so much that there’s no point in working anymore.
What was more surprising is that people who work for more than 55 hours or more a week get the same amount of work done as those who work less than 50 hours. Although one may feel they’re getting things done, the productivity level is so low that those extra hours go to waste.
So, what’s the secret to success? Working less! Successful people know the importance of winding down and recharging their bodies, minds and souls for the week ahead. They also:
- Wake up at the same time daily
- Designate mornings for themselves
- Schedule micro-adventures or trips
- Pursue their passions
This is easier said than done, but fortunately, we are here to help. Here’s how you can work less so that you can do the things you love:
Have your own virtual admin specialist
What can an admin specialist do?
A Virtual Assistant can schedule your meetings, manage your email, answer your phones, create your power point presentations and other documents, manage your website, book your travel, and follow up with your clients.
If you’re already using a CRM system or another system, you can easily send your to-do list directly to your VA via your smartphone. She can delegate tasks for you or prioritize them according to your needs. She also becomes your own personal reminder, helping you get to meetings on time and call people when you’re supposed to.
We are a virtual assistant company offering clerical, administrative and technical services. Our goal is to serve you the way you want to be served, and therefore, we only hire the best VA’s who share the same vision.
Our VA’s have honed their skills and amassed years of experience in their niches. With this top-notch team, you can feel comfortable in delegating your most prized work to them.
Want to know the best part of it all? You only pay for what you need! If you need a VA for only a few hours per day, we’ve got you covered. If you need a more full-time assistant; it’s not a problem either!
Depending on your needs and our VA availability, we will arrange a schedule that works for the both of you. What are you waiting for? Contact us today!
A Fitter and Healthier Me, This Is My Remarkable Journey
I would to share with you my fitness journey.
Before I start sharing I thought I would tell you a little about myself.
My name is Chantel Griffin and I am 47 years “young”. I am a mother to two stunning children, my daughter Melissa and my son Chad. I am also a grandmother of a beautiful granddaughter Mia.
I am a relatively healthy individual who has always battled somewhat with my fitness and weight, more so now that I am in my forties. In addition, I suffer from a condition called Fibromyalgia, which makes it more difficult for me to follow a fitness regime due to the pain that any activity causes me. I have chosen however to not let this illness ruin or rule my life. I have chosen to take the high road.
A colleague of mine, Tracey, challenged me at the beginning of December to incorporate into my walking schedule a little light running. I must say that I took this challenge by the horns and showed it who was boss.
I have managed to up my running skill to a total of 15 minutes on my 45-minute walk. I cannot state categorically that running is for me. I did have an amazing time though putting this challenge into practise.
This challenge has inspired me to be more proactive about challenging myself fitness-wise. I have registered to commence with a “Jenna Carmen 8 Week Challenge”. The challenge commences on the 15th of January 2018. I am SUPER excited to begin this new chapter of my life. Jenna Carmen has put together a personal health and wellness plan together for me, keeping my “limitations” in mind.
I have also dragged my entire family into this challenge, Melissa and Paul my hubby and a couple of colleagues at my place of work. Their excitement fuels my excitement to succeed.
Given the above I would also like to note that since commencing on this “challenge”, I am more focused and feel so energised to take on ANYTHING!!
Thank you again to Karen Wessels for putting forward this challenge to her Team and continually challenging us to be better individuals and to think outside of the box.
VA CONNECT has a team of VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS just waiting to be of service to you, to lighten your load! To FREE up some of YOUR time!
Contact Chantel Griffin on email@example.com or VA CONNECT
If you are looking to hire a VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
The Blooming Orchard and My Photography Challenge
The December challenge was set – do a photoshoot and theme is flowers. Do I have the camera? Check. Is it a good camera? Check. Do I know how to use it to its full potential? Uncheck. So out came the DSLR handbook and google search and the learning began.
Where does one even begin, ISO’s, shutter speeds, apertures and modes. Then of course there are the good conditions to take photos of flowers and the not so great condition. The list goes on and on.
My very first step, take the camera off automatic mode. My favourite mode of all. Then it’s the big step to understanding and using the features and understanding them all.
First up, shutter speed. How fast or slow the shutter opens and can be used to freeze or blur photos.
Next, aperture. This refers to the how much light is being let in. Large aperture = low number and shallow depth of field. Used for focus on a particular subject. Small aperture = high number and greater depth of field and used for things like landscapes. Zooming in and out will affect the aperture.
Then we have ISO. The image sensitivity to light. The lower the number the least sensitive it is to light and the higher the number the most sensitive to light.
Now that I have read up on this and tried to wrap my head around it all it is time to start clicking away. Thank goodness for a delete button and digital cameras…..imagine having to take a roll of film to a camera shop to see if I got the general idea.
In the end, all is well that ends well and some pretty nice photos were taken (I think so at least). Perhaps in a way this challenge was twofold for me. One, to learn more about my camera and two, photographing an orchard that I have been nurturing for a year and has bloomed for the second time. Thus, the second challenge for me was not to kill my orchard.