The beginning of the year is full of resolutions, good intentions and goal setting. It can be all too easy to let it all slide after the first month but with a little bit planning and time management, it can be made easier and much more achievable.
Here are some tips to help with your monthly goal-setting practices to ensure you keep your resolutions on track and to help you achieve your goals all year.
First day of the month planning session
At the beginning of each month, put some time aside to sit down and plan. Decide what you want to focus on for the month, write down your monthly goals and what you need to do to stay on track in order to meet your goals. If you have long term goals that need a few months, half a year or even the full year to achieve, write them down at the beginning of every month as a reminder.
Monthly, weekly, and daily focuses
Each month choose one main focus that is the most important goal to achieve in that month. It could be related to your personal life such as making more of an effort with friends, concentrating on a new hobby or work-related such as working on improving your business network. Make that your priority for the month to give it the focus it needs. That’s not to say, you should forget about any other goals for that month, but it helps to prioritize. You can also make weekly and daily focuses if required to help you meet any urgent goals.
Make your planner/calendar layout fun and attractive
Whether you work with an online planner or a written planner, keep it fresh by adding in backgrounds, colours and images. Change it each month so you don’t get tired of looking at it. You can even have some fun with little notes to yourself and motivational quotes for good measure.
Keeping track of what you have already achieved in preceding months is just as important as planning ahead. Write down your achievements at the beginning of each month to help you see and understand your progress. Tracking your progress and being reminded of why you’re doing it is vital to staying focused and motivated.
Schedule a weekly check-in at the end of each week to track progress and to make any adjustments to your goals. What is working or not working and what can be done to keep your plan on track for the month?
Sticking to your new year resolutions and achieving your goals for 2020 is obtainable and just needs a small amount of planning and reflection time each month to help keep you on track and motivated as the busy year starts to take over. Good luck for a productive and rewarding year!
What great blogging can do for your business
Since it made its first appearance in the 1990s, blogging has come a long way. Blogging was first used as an online journal or diary to share a person’s own individual thoughts, feelings, opinions and experiences and it usually attracted just a small following. These days, blogging is a platform used by individuals and businesses alike and can be read by thousands and even millions of people worldwide. Blogs are easy to set up and update regularly making them an important and usually a low cost tool for companies wanting to stay in touch with their customers and followers.
Benefits of a company blog
Increases traffic to a website using links
Inbound links in a blog will direct readers to relevant parts of a website, increasing overall traffic or increasing traffic to particular pages.
Improves a website’s SEO
If a blog is regularly updated and relevant to your business, it is more likely to be picked up in Google and other search engines which focus on a website’s quality of content and frequency of posts. Blogs create an opportunity for businesses to insert keywords that are likely to be used to search for your company or brand.
Promotes a brand and company as an expert in the industry
By regularly talking about a subject in well written blogs, your brand will become associated with and respected in its particular field thus encouraging readers to go to your site for valued information.
By providing high quality content and advice in a particular field, a blog can help give readers/customers the confidence to trust the brand. Comment sections in a Blog are often read and if monitored and updated regularly, this can further improve levels of trust with potential and existing customers.
Creates sharing opportunities
Including a sharing option in a blog creates viral traffic via twitter, email, Facebook or other platforms. Free marketing!
To increase your company’s online exposure and to establish yourself as an expert in your field, blogging is a must! And remember, it doesn’t have to be written by the company director himself, it can easily be outsourced and written by anyone as long as they do their research and create good quality pieces that are interesting to the reader. In fact, it is advised that a company’s blog is written by several people to vary the writing style and knowledge base.
Set up your company blog with a few launch articles and see just how easy it is! Use a Virtual Assistant to keep it updated and fresh with regular new content.
A carefully planned road trip can lead to success
My journey as a Virtual Assistant has not been an uneventful road-trip without any potholes or road blocks.
When I started my journey as a Virtual Assistant, it was a means to an end. A way of making money after having my job of 24 years pulled out from under me. It was a case of sitting in my vehicle and starting the engine and driving, occasionally stopping for fuel and then continuing my journey. I have to say I was a cautious driver, never wanting to turn left onto the dirt road.
As with many a carefully thought out road-trip, one cannot take your eyes off the road. If you do, there are bound to be challenges and I have had my fair share on my journey. There have been times when I have hit a major roadblock. When my journey has come to a complete standstill and I have had to get out of my vehicle pop the hood and look inside to see what needs to be addressed. In some instances, it has been a case of topping up on my knowledge and my vehicle roars into life again, and off I go.
There have been other times when I have not been so lucky and the road side assistance have questioned me, and made me take a long hard look at myself, this had led to lengthy delays while my vehicle has been up on blocks, until the engine is repaired and I am once again able to turn the key and start driving again.
You will know I am sure, that on any road-trip one stops on-route to have a break and recharge the batteries, whilst reflecting on your journey. I have found that these breaks lead to a refreshed view on things. It has been during these picnic breaks that I have taken decisions to drive along the dirt roads less travelled. The dirt roads came with challenges for the cautious driver. I had to negotiate twists and turns of acquiring new skills and working in unchartered working territories. I do have to say though, that at the beginning of the left hand turn onto the dirt road, it took a while to enjoy this new found route of travel. I have looked at the new scenery with a smile full of confidence and self-belief that anything is possible.
This journey has taught me to become a helpful traveller. A few years ago I would have kept to myself and not shared my experience and knowledge with any other Virtual Assistants. This has changed, thanks to my VA Connect mechanics. They have always been at the road side to assist, whether it was a flat tyre, major overhaul service or just a picnic break.
My petrol gauge is on full and my vehicle is ready. I wake up every-day looking forward to my journey, wondering what I will learn and how I will grow!
What Makes Women Better Virtual Assistants?
I am woman, hear me roar! It is Women’s Month in South Africa and we are celebrating all women in all shapes and forms and saying – YES! You are strong. You are capable. You are loved. You are part of a tribe that cannot be broken.
The date, 9 August is the day we celebrate Women’s Day here in South Africa, and it is not to be confused with the International Women’s Day which takes place globally in March. This date, 9 August, is significant to us as a nation due to the fact that a plethora of women, regardless of age and race, stood together and marched to the Union Buildings declaring the need for the abolishment of passes which women needed to have to move around freely – I mean really now – how was this even a thing at all??
But anyway, due that movement and the amazing women who stood together then – and for those who stand together today and shall stand together (hopefully) going forward, women have being liberated and are free to go wherever they want. Do whatever they want (within reason of course …..hehehe). Our daughters can choose to be ballerinas or they can choose to be astronauts or rally car drivers. The sky is the limit!
So – what does this have to do with women being better virtual assistants? Well isn’t it obvious??
Let’s break it down….
MEN ARE GREAT, BUT WE ARE BETTER
Okay, so I adore my husband to no end, and men in general are pretty great to have around, right? So I am not saying they are not up to the challenge of being a Virtual Assistant – not at all – but the likelihood is that a women will always be better at this particular job than a man.
Well simply put, women are fierce and can take on anything that comes their way. We are daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, friends and, in this instance, virtual assistants – that is a whole lot of hats to wear – and we wear them all almost every day.
The ability to wear those hats and juggle, what seems like, a million and one things daily is the art of MULTITASKING. Now I do not know about you, but in my house “male” does not equate to “multitasker”. I can pretty much be reading an email, putting food on the stove, preparing some juice for the kids and possibly even be filling the sink to do dishes – all at the same time – and not miss a beat. Hubby cannot even talk and do the dishes at the same time (bless his socks!)
As a virtual assistant, multitasking comes with the territory a lot of the time. So that is reason number 1.
How about TIME MANAGEMENT? Yep, you guessed it, again women are generally better at this too. (I say generally because it is not always the case, but it is more probable for a women to have better time management skills than men.)
Being on time is not always a thing for men but women tend to always have schedules and routines and although this can maybe cause a bit of stress, the end result of being organized and focused and things falling into place because of it will be worth it.
Time management is an important, in fact incredibly important skill to have when working as a virtual assistant.
Now scientists also did studies on what differentiates men and women (besides the obvious!) and came up with things like a women’s ability to recall things better, better memory. A woman can recall if things have changed or being moved in certain spaces they frequent as they tend to use landmarks a lot in every day life. Men are generally more about the route to the goal and how to get there and whatever is along the way kind of falls by the wayside (eg women shopping vs men shopping)
They also discovered that females tend to work with and recall numbers and lists better than a male would and things like putting pegs into a peg board was more meticulously done by females.
This brings me to the last, but certainly not least, skill that a woman has, giving her an advantage in the VA world – ATTENTION TO DETAIL.
Attention to detail is key when you work as a virtual assistant because most times you would have more than one client, more than one task on the go and missing details could be to the detriment of the client, and ultimately you too.
Being able to analyse and figure out things, looking for and scanning the finer details, these are things that women do better and that is probably also due to the PATIENCE LEVEL of a woman, versus a man.
I think it is also important to note that PASSION is another element that plays an important role in being a virtual assistant – not to say men do not have passion, but for a woman working as a VA is usually a choice made so that she can stay home with the kids and therefore having a passion for what she does means that she will do it well and be able to continue her journey and therefore also set a fantastic example for her kids – using her passion for them and for the work that she does.
Wow, that is a whole lot of words right there about how amazing women are – so I think it is only fair to also mention here at the end that MEN are pretty darn special too and hopefully most of us ladies that work from home and are trying to win at this remote lifestyle have an incredible dude standing beside us egging us on. Someone to lean on at the end of a treacherous day of technical failures or failures of other kinds – providing a good shoulder rub and topping up the wine glass!
Again I will end by saying – I am woman, hear me roar! Go out and have a stupendous Women’s Month – hey make it Women’s Year!
8 Reasons Why Women Make Great Leaders
A great leader can, of course, be male or female and gender shouldn’t be a factor in a person’s leadership abilities. However, women don’t tend to be encouraged to take on leadership roles as often as their male counterparts which have caused an imbalance of power. Despite this, women continue to take the lead across the world whether in politics or in corporate boardrooms. We take a look at some of the many reasons women make great leaders
They are empathetic
Women value relationships and are naturally empathetic which enables them to understand what motivates their colleagues and employees. They develop a good understanding of individuals and their personal requirements which makes them effective leaders.
They value work-life balance
Women are able to balance professional and personal leadership skills and are more approachable with personal or sensitive requests. They have a good understanding of work-life balance and how it affects team motivation and productivity.
They can effectively multitask
Being good multitaskers enables women to respond quickly to several tasks and problems at the same time. This makes women leaders extremely efficient.
They have good communication skills
Communication is a skill that women excel at and women in leadership know how to use it to get things done efficiently. Whether communicating with employers, partners or co-workers, having good communication skills means clarity in executing roles and responsibilities.
They make great listeners
As well as being able to communicate well, women also listen well and tend to take the time to listen before they react and make a decision.
They cope well with crisis situations
Many women have gained experience from their home life that means they know how to handle crisis situations calmly and with compassion and patience. This skill can be invaluable in the workplace when handling HR or PR issues in particular.
They are flexible
Women are good at adapting to situations and changing the course of action as required.
They value teamwork
A female working environment tends to be less authoritarian and more co-operative especially with a woman at the lead. Women can make bold, decisive decisions whilst relying on and trusting others in a team to play their part.
In summary, these are just a few of the reasons why women make great leaders. Women have proved again and again just how strong they can be when called up to lead.
“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” -Eleanor Roosevelt