Five Of The Best Things To Do In Mtunzini

Five Of The Best Things To Do In Mtunzini

Five Of The Best Things To Do In Mtunzini

When given this topic to write about I was very happy to have the opportunity to write about the little coastal paradise I am blessed to live in called Mtunzini.  The name of the village is taken from the Zulu word emthunzini which means “a place in the shade”.  In the history of the town it is referred to as the place under the Milkwood trees near to the Mlalazi River where the White Zulu chief named John Dunn would meet with the tribal elders of the area.

Mtunzini is truly a nature lover’s paradise that offers a variety of activities that can be enjoyed outdoors.

Walking & Running

Through the Umlalazi Reserve runs the Umlalazi river and there are several walking trails which take one through mangrove swamps, coastal forest and on a long sandy beach.  One can enjoy taking early morning walks or runs on the beach and experience magnificent sunrises and enjoy watching the whales when they pass by.  You can choose to walk or run on your own or join a group of locals.  It’s a great place to take your dogs for walks around the peaceful neighbourhood or on the beach if you have a permit.

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There is the Raphia Palm monument which has a lovely wooden walkway through an avenue of palms.  You can read more about the Raphia palms here:

http://pza.sanbi.org/sites/default/files/info_library/raphia.pdf

Wildlife and bird watching

The Umlalazi reserve have zebras and red forest duiker that can be seen frequently and there are also bush buck and grey duiker, although not seen as often because they are shy.

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There is an abundance of birdlife bringing people from all over the world to see the rare Palmnut Vulture that feeds from the Raphia Palm.  We are also very fortunate to have many African Fish Eagles that soar the sky above the village and their distinctive call can be heard daily.  Just a few other birds to mention are the Trumpeter Hornbills, Purple Crested Louries, Oyster Catchers, Natal Robins, Violet Back Starlings and Giant Kingfishers.

Cycling

Many people enjoy cycling in the area and many mountain bike events are run in Mtunzini. There are many trails through the forests, sugar cane fields and the reserve.  There are even organised moonlight bike rides from time to time.

Boating

Mtunzini has a large lagoon which attracts many boating enthusiasts that enjoy fishing, skiing, sailing and kayacking as well as sunset cruises up the river.  One can even moor their boat and enjoy a picnic on the river bank.

Horse Riding

The perfect place for lovely outrides, walking through the bush and sugar cane fields or having an exhilerating gallop up a hill.  It’s such a lovely way to start or finish the day.

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Next time you are heading north on the N2 freeway, keep your eyes open for Mtunzini, you will be surprised to find what is on the other side of the hill.

My life as a Virtual Assistant. Let me show you what my typical day looks like.

My life as a Virtual Assistant. Let me show you what my typical day looks like.

My life as a Virtual Assistant. Let me show you what my typical day looks like.

Most people think being a Virtual Assistant is “easier” thank having a “office” job… but actually it is the very opposite.

Yes, you do manage your own time… but just exactly that. When you have an office job, you have a set time for doing your work, nothing else can actually interrupt, for example you cannot do your hobbies at the office, but if you are a VA you can do anything anytime…

Luckily for me I have “easy” clients, the one is only a three hour a day client (client 1) and the other is a full day (client 2)…but the full day client is situated in the UK so that already makes it flexible for me to juggle and come and go as I please.

Before I got pregnant, I went horse riding everyday and at anytime, and of course my Husband who is in construction get’s long weekends every end of the month so I can join him when he is off.

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I wake up around 5:00am as my husband has to be at work at 6:00am, YAY for me, as I get an early start to get things ready for the day, do a little exercise. So my work day starts at 8:00am, where I usually attend to Client 1, checking emails, checking what is ahead for me that time. Because she has three hours, I try do 3 check-ins (which is not time specific); one in the morning, one just after lunch and the last one just before “knock off”.

For client 2, we usually checking at 17h00 SA time, just check if I have a new project, and what it is and if I have question I can still ask I will then only start on the project the next day.

So basically I can schedule my work day completely around my personal day… but I still need to manage my time correctly and ensure that I do get to my work.

In the next few months I will be able to see how I will juggle being a VA and a new mom!

I learned time management in a hard way a while ago, when my husband had a “long pay weekend” , which means he is of from Thursday up until the next Monday – we decided to go away.

We drove that Thursday afternoon, when I was also done with my work. Friday came, we slept in late, had breakfast when it was 13h00 the next moment I realised that I still had to complete a full days of work…

Luckily being a Virtual Assistant I was able to complete my work… as my clients allows me to do the work whenever during the day, as long as it gets done.

So my everyday I get to be flexible, I can start work as soon as I get up, or even as soon as I have a moment. If I have to schedule I doctors appointment I don’t have to check first or to take leave. I get to have long weekends off with my hubby and I get to complete all my VA work from anywhere.

All in a day’s work for a Virtual Assistant

All in a day’s work for a Virtual Assistant

All in a day’s work for a Virtual Assistant

Starting your day as a Virtual Assistant can be pretty interesting, especially when you have a few clients with different expectations. The easiest way that I seem to handle this, is by:

Morning Routine

Having a mourning routine is imperative to any individuals, like they say, how you start your day, is how you end your day. So starting with a little gratitude while having your morning tea (I hate coffee, hehehe), can take you a long way ?. I have started on a new journey of having tiny goals for myself daily, yes I have tried this before without any luck, but I have found an amazing program called the Daily Life Planner by Robyn Louise (https://robyn-louise.com/ ) an inspirational lady / boss women all the way in Australia. I have been following her for a while and absolutely love the program ?

This is followed by a little Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping to let go of unwanted blocks and centers me for the rest of the day, which allows me to connect with who I truly am and the purpose of my life / service I offer to the world.

Prioritize & Check emails

This is usually done before hand on this amazing program call Asana (mini project management tool), where it allows me to keep track of the all the activities, which I schedule with due dates as I am researching or following up on emails. I am an avid fan of Asana, as it allows me the freedom (& my scatter brain) to organize, so I don’t have tons of books or papers around all over the place (also helps with anxiety), knowing when is due at what time…. Blessing in disguise lol

Splitting time between clients and allocated work

This is where the juggling act comes into play, because on some days it can be smooth sailing and things go as planned, others, not so much. For instance, having to juggle between reconciliations (accounting) in the morning and creating content or doing market research in the afternoon, can take a tall on your brain.

Knowing when to separate numbers from design can be a tricky subject. So how can you do this? Simple, I create content when I am inspired, by something that I have watched or by taking a walk outside my “office” space. This usually does the trick and can be really helpful in the long run, strengthens my brain for my future success ?

Exposure & Upskilling

A teacher once said this to our class, they can take away everything you have, but they cannot take away what you have learnt.

This has stuck with me since then, as whatever I learn or upskill at with working with different clients exposes me to a future skill that I can offer to the world. Allowing me to align my goals with the world.

For instance, after having run my own photography business for 7 years, I have learnt how to market to the right client, how to do the books for an SME and how to communicate with clients, all while project managing the tasks at hand. Fun, I know ?

With my most recent clients, I have learnt about the coaching field, landscaping, information technology business and website design services, all which I have helped gain knowledge that can never be taken from me.

So from the wise words of Richard Branson, If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it…

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A Fitter and Healthier Me, This Is My Remarkable Journey

A Fitter and Healthier Me, This Is My Remarkable Journey

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 chantel@vaconnect.co.za or VA CONNECT

If you are looking to hire a VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

From Malls to Park Runs, Overcoming My Fear of Crowds

From Malls to Park Runs, Overcoming My Fear of Crowds

From Malls to Park Runs, Overcoming My Fear of Crowds

So Henrietta set me 2 challenges for December. The first was to write a blog about the flood and working whilst dealing with repairs and to get more than 500 words and have it in early, task one done, tick!  The second task was to conquer my fear of being in a large crowd.   I have a serious problem with being in a large crowd and having absolutely no personal space.  So, with the challenge set. December is the perfect time for crowds.  I decided that the shopping mall on Christmas Eve would be a good place to start.  So armed with my daughter and a large bag of courage I ventured into the seething mass of last minute shoppers at the Watercrest Mall.  After an hour of pushing and shoving and sizzled nerves, we ventured home with knocking knees to have a large cup of coffee and a mince pie.  Realizing that I cannot be defeated in this challenge, I decided that the Shongweni Park Run would be the next stop in my great adventure.  My reasoning behind this was fresh air, physical exercise and the ability to out run the crowds.  To my amazement there were more than 300 people ready to run.  Little did I realize that this 5km run would be fought out on dusty roads, bridges, paths, up hills, down dales and through water.  Much to my satisfaction I completed this part of the challenge, filthy dirty and relieved that I had finished the run without feeling hemmed in.  The gauntlet had been put down, 2 more park runs in large crowds to be completed before the 11th of January 2018.  I read on the Park Run website that they host a run on the Durban beach front every week.  So on 30th December I climbed in my car and headed down to the beach, my jaw dropped, there had to be at least 1000 people there.  Jostling into position the whistle was blown and off I set, striding out and chatting to lots of people along the way. It was not long before I found myself in the thick of the crowd and not feeling claustrophobic at all, who would have guessed! The highlight of my day was, after the race, when people were sitting on the promenade socializing, I noticed 3 elegant ladies sitting on their deck chairs wearing large hats and sipping gin and tonics, to my amazement they asked if I would like to join them.  I was very flattered but thought that an ice cream would be far better than a gin and tonic at 9am in the morning.  I have now come to the conclusion that I could handle crowds in small doses.  Not only has this exercise been beneficial for my well-being, it has also helped me maintain my weight over the festive season and paved the way for me to pick up my distance training once again.  Thank you for taking me out of my comfort zone!

How To Best Utilise Your Virtual Assistant (VA) In 2018

How To Best Utilise Your Virtual Assistant (VA) In 2018

How To Best Utilise Your Virtual Assistant (VA) In 2018

The end of 2017 is around the corner and it has been a great year for you. People have started up a new business and things are looking good. There is one small snag, you are a jack-of-all-trades and sometimes the clients have had to take a back seat. Others have decided to go the VA route this year and are still a bit unsure of how it all works.

In this blog, I will point out how a VA can truly be an asset to your business. As I have mentioned before in previous blogs, the internet has taken the world by storm and is still growing by the day, hour, minute. Very few companies don’t have a website, email address or any kind of access to the internet. It is for this reason that the VA world is growing tremendously worldwide, and VA’s are becoming more efficient and experienced than ever.

So, back to 2018 and utilising your VA. Give the VA more tasks…but is it as simple as that? The relationship you develop with your VA needs to be open and honest with a clear understanding of the skills the VA has. The more tasks you give your VA the more your time is freed up to give your company the quality time it deserves. We are here to help you grow your business. In a nutshell, yes, it is as simple as that.

Below I have listed some skills that various VA’s have used to help businesses. If there is something a VA is unsure about, there are many platforms on the internet to upskill and give you the work performance that you require.

Bookkeeping

Client Correspondence

Web designer

Email Management/Filtering
Booking appointments with clients
Following up with clients.
Answering calls
Calendar Management
Keeping Dropbox and other cloud platforms up to date
Database building
Internet research
Hotel and Flight Booking
Transcription typing
Taking down minutes of meetings
Creating basic reports
Preparing Powerpoint presentations)
Set-up Social Media Accounts
Manage and update social media accounts
Manage your blog
Publish posts on your blog (content you provided)
Filter and reply to comments on your blog
Participating in discussion forums or message boards

Now that the festivities are over, and everyone is back to the grindstone, give your VA a call and get a complete understanding of their skills. Once all of that has been established start handing over the tasks that tie you down. The more you utilise your VA, the more you will want to utilise your VA and so the circle goes around. You will start reaping the rewards and benefits and a successful business will be all the proof you need. It will be for these reasons that before anyone has time to say Virtual Assistant, you will wonder how you ever got by without one. The Virtual Assistant World –  growing ourselves to help grow yourself.