How To Stay Motivated
Its hardly a secret that our lives are busy, and we juggle many roles in order to fulfil commitments and get tasks done. Sure, we have days where we just don’t feel like doing anything, yet we must. It’s times like these when we need to dig a little deeper to find our motivation to realize the goals we set ourselves.
So how then do most of us manage to stay motivated? I’ll list 5 simple, yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:
Most things we do have several good intentions behind them and at the outset of a task we may not see all the good reasons for doing the task upfront. In situations such as these, take a few moments to analyse what needs doing and soon enough you’ll see the silver lining. Most tasks are easy to do as we’ve been doing them for such a long time – everything just come naturally to us.
But what do you do when there’s a few tasks to be done and you just can’t find your mojo to complete them?
Look at things from a different angle – some good reasons to get a task done would be:
Most of us don’t do tasks for free and there’s monetary gain by way of getting paid for the work or tasks we do. Do those tasks you’re avoiding first and get them out of the way. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief when it’s done!
Don’t forget the important aspect of personal gain – you’re never too old to learn anything and you were most likely apprehensive to do the task as you weren’t too clued up regarding what it entailed. That’s fine – be willing to learn though and better yourself. Chances are you’ll feel quite proud of yourself for having accomplished something you might’ve thought you couldn’t do.
Have Some Fun
When last have you had fun? Look, having a good attitude is important when it comes to being motivated. What one person finds enjoyable – another person will loathe. Why do you think that is? Because some people have learnt how to put a fun element in doing their tasks. We can’t be serious all the time and at times its alright to let your hair down a little and have fun.
I reckon by changing our attitudes we can have fun doing just about anything. If you look for ways to have fun, you’ll find them. If needs be, ask your children to give you some fun ideas – there’s no shortage of fun where kids are concerned. Loosen up a bit mum and dad!
Change Your Approach
When presented with a task that you’re not gelling with, take a moment to look at the big picture. Avoid, if you can, making a rash decision there and then about the task and adding more stress to the situation.
Sometimes doing everything by the book isn’t the best solution, nor the most motivating one. Personally, I find bouncing ideas off another person to be helpful as they’re not as immersed in the situation as I am and see things from a different perspective. It also doesn’t mean you’re giving up or being silly by asking someone to lend an ear. Being flexible in your approach to difficult tasks will allow you to see your accomplishments and be proud of them.
You’re Making Progress
All the tasks you’re working on can easily be split into smaller bite sized chunks. The reason for splitting tasks is that it makes it easier to track your progress and to stay motivated.
Learn to recognise your progress along the way and not just track it. By this I mean, tracking progress is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. When you recognize your progress, you take time to look at the bigger picture and realize exactly where you are and how much you have left to do.
Its human nature to always want things to happen over the short term or all at once – and even though we split tasks into bite sized chunks, we don’t feel the satisfaction until all tasks are done and complete. Your motivation can sustain you in the long term if you take small steps.
We all like to be rewarded and rewarding yourself for a job well done is a powerful way to stay motivated.
At the beginning of a task, agree on some deliverables that will justify you rewarding yourself. As soon as you achieve the agreed result, take time to reward yourself. Some tasks might entail just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes, whereas more complex tasks require bigger rewards such as a visit to a spa for a relaxing massage or that movie you’ve been putting off watching.
The more you reward yourself, the more motivated you’ll stay about reaching new milestones and accomplishing those dreaded tasks.
“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” — Confucius
How to have a good working relationship with your Virtual Assistant
Start out with an open mind
If you have never worked with a Virtual Assistant before, first think of how it can benefit you and your business working this way. Understand that the transition from having an assistant in your office to working remotely is going to be an adjustment and allow for that.
Garbled communication produces garbled results and is a huge time waster. Decide exactly what it is that you want your Virtual Assistant to do and how you will communicate it to him or her in a way that is clearly and easily understood. Schedule a way of communication that is done daily or weekly as standard and should anything else come up that needs to be dealt with, let your Virtual Assistant know through what means you would prefer communication, be it via phone, WhatsApp, email etc and inform him or her beforehand when you know that you are not going to be available for a period of time.
Learn to be a good delegator. This is sometimes a problem for a start up business that started out with one person making all the decision and doing everything themselves. Understand that you are working with another individual that possibly doesn’t see everything as you do, so may produce results in a slightly different way than you did. Take a step back and look at the result from a different perspective and you might be pleasantly surprised to see that the result is better than what you produced originally.
Goals and time management
Let you Virtual Assistant know what is going to be expected of them and what takes priority. Be realistic in what is expected of him or her within their specified work hours. Plan ahead of time and set goals for when certain tasks or projects need to be completed by and communicate this clearly. If something else comes up that needs to be done urgently, realise that there will be a delay in getting other tasks or projects done within the original planned timeframe.
Mutual Respect and Trust
If your Virtual Assistant feels that they are appreciated and respected, they will feel a sense of commitment to you and your business. Be open to hear other opinions, your idea might not always be the best idea. Show them that you value their positive input and even constructive criticism. as this will make them feel more part of the team and even more committed to the growth of your business.
Morals and Ethical Practice
If you’re wanting a professional Virtual Assistant to be dedicated and committed to your business, don’t expect him or her to stay if you are in the habit of unethical business practice. Being clear about what is and what is not acceptable in your business dealings, will remove any grey areas and you will gain your Virtual Assistant’s respect and trust as well as your customer’s. Be upfront and let your Virtual Assistant know exactly what you and your business stand for before you start your working relationship.
“Honesty is not the best policy, it’s the only policy.” Dr Myles Munroe
Tactics to Positively Overcome the Difficult Client
Irrespective of what industry you are in, there is always that odd difficult client that as a result of various factors can leave you feeling frustrated, angry, unmotivated and possibly even full of self-doubt. For some of us, the reaction to a difficult situation can be defensive for others it can be offensive which can have either positive of negative outcomes regardless.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to establish smart habits
The fact remains that there will always be clients that are a little harder to please than others, so the question at hand is, how do you handle those situations in a way that will have a positive outcome for both you and the client? Well, while in my previous role, I had done some research on the topic and I came across an article by Barbara Markway (Ph.D.) who has some excellent insight into handling difficult clients, which I will delve into a little further, but one of the factors she mentions amongst others is going about things in a way that may seem unnatural to you as first. What does this mean? Well simply put, we all have our ways of doing things, and sometimes it works other times it doesn’t but if your finding your not getting the outcome you want from a difficult situation – perhaps its time to step outside your comfort zone, try a new approach and create smart habits.
Some Tactics to be Used with the Client
Out of the many tips given in Barbara’s article, the following tactics on how to handle a difficult client stood out to me:
- Listen & Stay Calm. Listening is the number one step in dealing with “unreasonable” people. Everyone wants to feel heard, and although staying calm can be extremely difficult in an emotionally charged situation, real progress can’t take place until the other person feels acknowledged. While you’re listening, really focus on what the other person is saying, not what you want to say next. I have often said to people in the past, “I know your hearing me, but are you listening to me? There is a difference”. Taking the time to really listening to what someone else is saying, can give you a fresh perspective and clarity on a situation at hand.
- Reflect respect and dignity toward the other person. You don’t know what the other person is going through. Chances are, if a person is acting unreasonable, they are likely feeling some sort of emotional or mental strain for whichever reason and showing contempt will not help productively resolve the situation.
- Saying, “I understand,” usually makes things worse. Instead, say, “Tell me more so I can understand better.” This for me was an interesting point, because I personally have often used the term “I understand” countless times with clients and looking back it wasn’t always well received, looking at this approach has given me a new perspective on how a client would possible react to the situation differently.
- Saying, “I’m sorry,” or, “I’m going to try to fix this,” while establishing boundaries can go a long way toward defusing many situations. This tip can be quite difficult to follow when you feel your not the one in the wrong and are feeling defensive. Sometimes by being humble in the situation and saying the words “I’m sorry” or “I’m going to fix this” can completely diffuse a situation, and in turn can give you the opportunity to establish the hidden need. The client could end up disclosing what they are really trying to gain or avoid within the project/ task and positive outcome can take place for both parties. Having said that, you will also need to assess the situation, while some of the above tips have encouraged listening and letting the angry person vent, you also have the right to be assertive and say, “Please don’t talk to me like that.” if the situation is gets out of hand.
Some Tactics to be Used with Yourself
Handling a difficult client with some of the tactics, may be draining for you which would defeat the purpose of positively overcoming difficult clients, that’s what there are also a few things you should do:
- Debrief. After the situation is over, talk to someone about what happened, take 5 minutes to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and just allow yourself to process the situation.
- Discharge your own stress. You had to put your natural reactions on hold for a while. Now is the time to discharge some of that pent-up adrenaline. Go for a run. Take your dog for a walk. Don’t let the emotions stay stuck in your body.
- Give yourself credit for getting through an uncomfortable situation. It takes a lot of energy not to act like a jerk when someone else is behaving badly. Don’t skip this step!
Positive Outlook, Positive Outcome
Remember these tactics are simply guidelines to help you along the way. How you implement these tactics is up to you, and maybe they won’t give you a positive outcome every time, but its all about trying and keeping at it until you establish smart habits that work for you. If you do not have the time or cannot see yourself dealing with difficult clients that’s ok, perhaps consider getting a VA to deal with your Client Relationship Management and can implement strategies for you! I have seen how these tactics have worked for me, and to this day some of the best connections and relationships that I have established in my career have been as a result of a rocky start with some pretty difficult clients. The key to all of this however is to always have a positive outlook, and having said this I will end with a quote by Lailah Akita “Our reaction to any situation will determine the outcome”
This is why you need to hire a Managed Virtual Assistant Agency
The key to your business success as an Entrepreneur, CEO or Founder is knowing when to outsource and when to keep things in-house.
More than likely if you run a SME or startup you are not keen on hiring beyond your office, because you think it’s going to end up being a very expensive exercise. Well, I’m here to set the record straight. You see, VA Connect happens to be Africa’s largest managed virtual assistant agency and we’re here to prove that hiring a VA from a managed virtual assistant agency is one of the best things you could ever do for your business.
We’ve been doing this for many years, which necessarily follows that we have learned many lessons and for sure earned our stripes along the way!
It’s important for you, the business owner and our client, to be safe in the knowledge that by hiring us to provide office support, that we know what we’re doing and ultimately we make life as simple and as easy as possible for you.
I want to share some of the benefits of hiring a VA from a managed virtual assistant agency.
Benefits of a Managed Virtual Assistant Agency
We come with packing punch
With many years of experience under our belts we have a great understanding of your needs, the level of expertise you require and that the Virtual Assistant you hire becomes part of your team. So it’s really important to us that we assign a well-suited VA to your account. Our team comes with great skills, knowledge and attitude to get the job done and for you to start enjoying business again.
Lower cost, less hassles
At the end of the day it works out to be more cost-effective to outsource certain functions than to hire them in-house. As a very well run managed virtual assistant agency we offer great service at really reasonable pricing, which is excellent for budgeting purposes.
Expertise and knowledge
We’ve done the legwork, bumped our heads a few times and walked away with many business lessons. Because of this we come with expertise that cannot be learned from a book. We have surrounded ourselves with exceptional people and we are blessed to have such an amazing team to work with.
HR is our problem
One of the biggest blockers in any business is the HR department. That is a separate skillset, being able to manage people, recruit the right staff and keep them motivated. One of the greatest benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant is that you don’t have any HR problems. If you work with a managed services virtual assistant agency and you’re experiencing issues with your VA, the agency will replace them. If your VA is off-sick or on annual leave it is up to the agency to find a stand-in.
Bringing it together
Do your homework when you are in the market to expand your team. Compare the cost effectiveness of keeping everything in-house vs outsourcing certain functions of your business to a virtual assistant. You may be surprised at how easy it is to on-board a VA and that minimum training is required to get them fully integrated.
You Teach People How To Treat You
We do not have any direct control over the actions of others, and therefore cannot directly change how they treat us. What we do have control over is our own thoughts, speech and actions. That’s where our power lies and that is always where our focus should be.
Setting Healthy Personal Boundaries – It Begins with You
A boundary simply refers to a specified limit set by you of what is and what is not acceptable behaviour and treatment by another person towards you. The process of setting personal boundaries begins with you first accepting that you not only deserve to have boundaries but they are a critical element of self-care. Secondly, you must accept that you have the right to set them. Your boundaries act as filters permitting what is acceptable in your life and what is not.
Define Your Boundaries
Your BOUNDARIES are what lets people know how you want to be treated. They are your “NO’s” of life. Things you will not allow people do.
If we give our power away by allowing others to control our behaviour, make choices for us or treat us less than we deserve, we are giving away our power.
What we don’t realize is that by not saying anything and keeping how you really feel bottled up inside, you are not hurting anyone else but yourself.
When things go wrong in life, it’s common for us to look outside for a solution to the problem. But the first place you should look is inside. Remember, what you allow will continue in your life. What you don’t allow, won’t.
One of the biggest misconceptions we have about relationships is that others should know how we want to be treated. However, in order for people in a relationship to be on the same page, they need to have access to the same instruction manual.
People will get away with what you let them get away with. You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce. It’s really that simple.
It’s about knowing what is acceptable and unacceptable. It’s about knowing what we need and want and being able to communicate it effectively to others. Those you surround yourself with should be on the same page. With EVERY interaction you have with others, you are teaching them how to treat you.
When anyone in your professional life treats you in a way that upsets you, it is vital to take a breath and remember that no one you ever meet knows how you like to be treated, just as you don’t know what they expect in return. Sometimes we need to actively explain certain ways in which we want to be treated. Standing up for yourself is important, especially if you know you don’t deserve someone’s negative behaviour.
In closing, remember to treat yourself the way you’d want others to treat you. By focusing only on our self-perceived faults and flaws, we’re basically giving permission for the rest of the world to focus on them too.