The ever-looming word Lockdown has become a daily subject in every household across the world. Many countries have different rules and regulations; however, the end goal is ultimately the same.
Lockdown has forced humanity to change and develop new habits and ways of life. It is said, that on average a new habit takes approximately 21 days to form and integrate into our daily lives. Lockdown for most of us, has resulted in us being confined to our living quarters and has made us readjust our daily routines. Those in essential services are still braving the outside world and the rest of us are staying home and learning to navigate this current lifestyle.
Maintaining an optimum level of wellness
We have now seen that we don’t have to physically drive to the gym or sign up for a gym membership to actively exercise. Now we have no reason for excuses. There are many South Africans participating in the Mzansi Lockdown Marathon Challenge, running a total of 42 kilometers in 21 days in their gardens. Friends and family are having virtual exercise sessions together and many are learning new exercise regimes like Yoga.
The bottom line is it should not have taken a worldwide pandemic for some to add exercise to their daily routines. Exercise is vital in achieving an optimum level of wellness. All of a sudden, we find ourselves taken notice of what we eat and consuming copious amounts of vitamins. Eating healthy and making up for nutrients we are lacking in our daily diet is necessary, embrace this new healthy lifestyle and make it your new way of life. Skip the crash diets we all only start because there is a special occasion around the corner. A healthy body results in a healthy mind, so yes add achieving an optimum wellness to your list of new habits to keep.
Regular communication with loved ones
We should all ask ourselves why has it taken a pandemic to force so many of us to regularly interact with family and friends? The answer may be one regulation of Lockdown: Social Distancing.
Why is human interaction so important? It is important for our mental health. Social contact helps humans to cope with stress and major life changes. Yes, life gets busy, loved ones move abroad and there isn’t enough time in a day to do all things we want to achieve. Family and friends are our support structure throughout life, and we should ultimately interact and ‘check in’ on one another on a regular basis, regardless if life is looking up or down.
Nowadays, technology offers us so many exciting options to have virtual group interactive sessions like Zoom, Houseparty or WhatsApp. Recent social media trends have shown many of us uploading screenshots of group chats and participants are shown to be sporting big smiles. Make a pact with your family and friends to maintain regular communication after Lockdown, this will strengthen your support structure. Yes, this is added to the list of new habits to keep.
Increased cleaning and sanitization standards
Yes, of course we all washed our hands and cleaned our houses before the pandemic. However, the pandemic has once again forced us to increase the extent of any task. I’m sure most of us feel our sanity is slightly questionable, when we are singing Happy Birthday to ourselves in the bathroom mirror for 20 seconds, each time we wash our hands.
The fact of the matter is that our hygiene standards have obviously changed, we shower and launder our clothes excessively. We find ourselves sanitizing doorknobs and light switches on a daily basis and stock piling anti-bacterial detergents each time we see it on the shelf in the Supermarket (admit it, we are all doing it). Is heightened cleaning and sanitization standards an item we should add to the list of new habits we are going to keep? Add it to the list and adapt it to fit your new way of life after Lockdown. Create a weekly cleaning schedule, helping you to keep your home beaming with pride and destroying the pile of laundry you have been dreading all week. A cleaning routine will assist in achieving a peaceful home.
Be more sustainable
Lockdown trends have shown so many of us planting our own fruit and vegetables. Being stainable is the future, it is showing our planet how much we care. So, the answer is – absolutely yes, add being more sustainable to our list of new habits we are going to keep. Develop a recycling routine that works for you and your household inhabitants, recycle your fruit and vegetable peels, you can repurpose them as compost. Purchase the extra garbage bins and implement separating and recycling your garbage. Mother nature will thank you!
The art of Self-love
What does self-love mean? Self-love is taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Not settling for less than you deserve. Loving yourself does not mean you think you are the smartest or most beautiful person in the world. Self-love is defined as “love of self” or “regard for one’s own happiness”. Many of us now find we have the extra time on hands to do things we don’t normally have the time or energy for. Many of us are searching for hobbies and skills we can develop to keep us busy or better yet sane. Going forward let us make the time to love ourselves, we only get one life. Yes, we are adding this to our list of new habits to keep. Start out small and progress, schedule that weekly pamper session and wipe the dust off your Grandmother’s sewing machines you have always wanted to learn how to use. Take advantage of this opportunity and make the time to love yourself and develop your portfolio of skills.
Why should we continue these new habits even after Lockdown is over and this pandemic has ended? We only have one life and we should give it everything we have! Make the time, make the effort, life is short. Appreciate the small things in life, like freedom, you never know when it might be taken away, even if it is just temporarily. Adapt your new habits to life after Lockdown and be the person you have always strived to be, but never had the time to become, your time is now!
Covid-19, the most discussed and disputed pandemic of our generation and the reason toilet paper has become a precious commodity in 2020!
Jokes aside, I have to start by saying how proud I am of how our President Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa has handled the Covid-19 prevention strategy in South Africa. He has made some tough decisions like implementing and now extending the national lockdown, that unfortunately has had some less than ideal impact on businesses and individuals BUT the consequences of not doing so would be far greater.
The positive side of Lockdown
There is always a silver lining in every situation, you just need to look for it sometimes. Lockdown has been amazing in so many different ways, individuals have been given the opportunity to take the time to slow down and have some time for self-care, families are actually spending time together and where they are not able to do so, the appreciation for one another has grown tremendously. Parents have been forced to be present in their kids lives and appreciate the amazing work our teachers/nanny’s do on a daily basis and businesses have realised the opportunities and possibilities of increases their productivity and expanding their market through going digital.
Without realising it, many of us have been given such an amazing gift through all of this – the gift of time! Time to relook at what is important to us, time to practice gratitude for what we have, time to tackle better ourselves and work on reaching or adapting our goals. I personally have decided to use the time I have between the cooking, cleaning and looking after my boys (Lets be real, lockdown has also brought some chaos into our households) to focus on upskilling myself in areas that I feel would benefit my business and clients.
There some amazing institutions running specials on various courses but there are also some awesome FREE courses that can be done on platforms like Udemy, LinkedIn Learning and Google. I will actually be focusing on some of the google courses that are available.
Growth through learning
Irrespective of what sector or role you are in, learning a new skill is always a win. The reason I will be focusing on the courses available on Google is because they have some amazing online courses that are practical, up to date and won’t take more than a take than a couple of hours of your time. Learndigital.withgoogle has over 126 courses to choose from, these four are on my current to do list:
Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals:
Gain an understanding of search engine algorithms and how they affect organic search results and websites. Building on this knowledge, you’ll learn the key elements for creating an effective SEO strategy, including how to select keywords and perform keyword research; consumer psychology and search behaviour; and how to conduct on-page SEO analysis to identify opportunities to improve a website’s search optimisation.
Course time: 13 hours
Marketing in a Digital World:
This course examines how digital tools, such as the Internet, smartphones, and 3D printing, are revolutionizing the world of marketing by shifting the balance of power from firms to consumers. Course time: 30 hours
Understand Customers’ Needs and Online Behaviours:
With just some basic web analytics skills, businesses can easily measure how well their online marketing is working and get even better results. Start our free course to find out how you can easily measure your activity and understand customer needs and their online behaviours.
Course time: 1 hour
Business writing is any written communication used in a professional setting. It could be an email, memo, presentation or report. In this free course, you’ll learn some tips and guides to help you make your business communication direct, clear, and designed to be read quickly.
Course time: 1 hour
I hope you find these interesting and helpful but if not whether you find something of interest to learn or even read about on the various platforms available online make a decision to step outside your comfort zone during lockdown and learn something new, make the most of this time, you will thank yourself later!
Most of all please stay home, stay safe and stay grateful!
First of all we have to understand what motivation is. It’s a reason for acting in a particular way something that pushes us to do things that we believe we can’t do or goals that looks hard to achieve.
Most times when we want to accomplish a goal we need a willingness to help us improve our habits and get results. This is where motivation counts.
So what does motivation mean? It means finding drive and direction from within. It means finding an activity that keeps you engaged and putting effort into it. People who are motivated desire to do things, they desire to make a difference rather than sit and wait for things to happen.
Knowing how to stay motivated can be tough sometimes. Often people say that we are procrastinating or not getting the outcomes that we want. We might even have had some misfortune and our motivation levels drop. With all the things that demand out attention, it can be difficult to stay motivated or focused to achieve the outcome that we are working towards.
Do things that will keep you motivated and make this a priority in your life. You must motivate yourself every day and find things in your life that will allow you to get to the place that you want to be in.
Simple tips on how toincrease motivation
Remember to be clear on your outcome and to focus on what that will mean to you once you achieve it.
When you don’t feel like doing what needs to be done, “Just do it.” You will feel better once you have ticked off that box.
Reframe negative self-talk and thoughts.
Celebrate yourself along the way.
Use positive empowering language
Smile and be happy. There is a feedback loop, which basically means, your mood will follow what you are doing with your face.
Tackle challenges in bite sized chunks.
Take joy in what you do. “If you enjoy what you do, you never have to work a single day in your life.”
Learn to meditate. Meditation can be as simple as smelling the roses, feeling the wind on your face, experiencing compassion, or simply being.
Do things that are in line with your values and build you as a person.
Tackle the task in manageable size pieces that build on success, competence and confidence.
Be prepared to step outside your comfort zone. Growth only happens on the other side. Before you know it, things you never thought you could do will become possible.
Make motivation a new habit, your new best friend.
Starting out can be tough, but with discipline and consistency you will eventually reach a point where staying motivated only requires minimal daily maintenance, learning to make the right choices at the right time.
Staying motivated is first and foremost in finding your purpose to achieve your goals. Be sure to have clearly laid out plans and you will be well on your way to creating achievable goals to keep you motivated throughout the year.
Motivation is a deliberate state of mind. We can choose to be motivated and our actions can help us to stay motivated.
Onboarding a new client is always a very exciting experience for any virtual assistant. However, sometimes, a few weeks down the line one or both parties may feel disillusioned and frustrated with the business relationship. I’ve especially found this to be true when either the VA or the client is still new to the virtual assistance industry or when both are. Here are a few pointers to help VA’s (and clients) avoid the pitfalls of unnecessary frustration.
My clients and colleagues will all tell you the same thing about me. I ask questions… a lot! I don’t just accept the status quo of anything, just because someone said so… It might work on your nerves (I know), you will, however, thank me later! Why do I ask so many questions?
The answer is simple, with more information comes informed decision-making.
Whether an athlete plans to run a marathon or a 100m race, one thing remains the same. The planning, preparation and training take up way more time than the actual event. Similarly, we should remember that a lot more goes on before we get to the actual execution of the tasks at hand.
A lot of the time I find clients want to skimp on this part. Make sure as a VA that you help them understand the value of first gaining insight into their business and current structures and procedures while gathering all the information you need to start planning the next step.
“Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”
This step can’t be stressed enough! Plan your day, plan your week, plan your month! Yes, anything or everything might change, depending on the type of industry. But…without planning, you will not have realistic goals, this will limit your feeling of achievement as a VA and will give the client a false impression that you’re not making the progress they had in mind. It may also lead them to inevitably believe that a virtual assistant is not a valuable contribution to their business. Planning means goals and goals means you can measure results. Let the results speak for you.
Your client may not understand your need for planning, so I suggest you ease them into it. Start with something simple like an email or message (using whichever means of communication your client prefers) every day at the start of your session with the client to just let them know 2-3 things you will be focusing on for the day (it obviously depends on the complexity of the tasks or projects). Also, give them an estimate of the time it will take you to accomplish your goal. At the end of the day give short, to the point feedback.
Vital to every successful business relationship is communication. So why do we often tend to neglect such an extremely important tool for success in the hustle and bustle of our day?
If you find yourself explaining or re-explaining yourself or a task or project’s progress to your client more often than not, it definitely demonstrates a communication gap. This means your client feels their expectations aren’t met, and you might end up feeling the client doesn’t value your service.
The key here is effective communication. Make sure your client understands the process and time each task or project might take and if you run into any delays, which often happens, communicate this with your clients, so they get an understanding of what it takes to get the job done, right- the first time.
It’s not rocket science
Only rocket science is rocket science. You’ll find your groove before you know it. We just need to remember that we all started as newbies in the industry some time, so, a little patience and coaching will go a long way towards building a lasting business relationship.
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.