How self-love can make you more productive

How self-love can make you more productive

How self-love can make you more productive

Love yourself enough to add whitespace to your day and become the productivity guru that get things done!

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, employee or ; we all fall into this trap more often than not. If you don’t know what whitespace is or don’t have whitespace in your day, you’re sacrificing your health, well-being and productivity in a major way. The solution to becoming a productivity guru is easier than you think; all you need is love!

#Love your health

This question is for my virtual assistant friends. Let’s examine our lunchtime health. Are you snacking at your desk? Just meaning to complete that one extra task. I mean an hour ‘wasted’ on lunch could have been a valuable contribution to your income at the end of the month, who can’t do with the extra 20 billable hours?

BUT…at what cost do that extra 20 hours come? You’re carving away at your vitality every day by ignoring the opportunity for increasing your energy and boosting your creativity.

I love this equation from WhiteSpace At Work!

“Lunch – Desk = Vitality”

Don’t eat at your desk! Get out of your office, breath in some non-artificial, non-airconditioned air. Notice the birds outside, notice the cloud formation that day, take a brisk stroll around the block – yes even if it’s 40 degrees outside, believe me, you’ll appreciate your office and desk that much more. Get the spider webs blown out of your mind, don’t spend this time strategizing the accomplishment of your next task. Create that whitespace in which to recharge so when you get back to your desk, it’s with a grateful attitude and a revitalized outlook on the challenges you’re trying to solve.

#Love your business workflow process

Starting out with another question… and be honest, this is definitely time to get real with ourselves. Are you overwhelmed with your business workflow process? Because you either don’t have one or you have one but it’s worth zero because you don’t follow it or it’s so complicated it wastes more time than saving time.

Well, friends, I think it’s safe to say you need to declutter your workflow. No one has the time to do damage control – all the time! You can’t afford to work on a reactive basis all the time! AND that’s exactly what we try and achieve. Every email that comes in has you dropping everything, losing your productive streak to reply to an email that could have waited half an hour. Believe me, emails aren’t the only culprits. You know that as well as I do.

What you want is to get to a point where your workflow process leans itself towards ultimate productivity. Creating whitespace between activities, the opportunity to breath and reflect is not a time waster, but should be seen as a “strategic pause in which you are infused with enthusiasm and creativity” for what you are passionate about. Don’t just go through the motions to get the job done. Love yourself enough to declutter your workflow to truly be productive and efficient.

In summary

We need to look after ourselves! Nothing is more true to me than the quote: “Less is more”. Simplify your life, simplify your workflow, love yourself and take care of your wellness. Don’t set yourself up for a love-hate relationship with your well-being and business. You deserve the best! You deserve to love yourself, your business and your life. Best of all, with a little bit of strategic whitespace in your life, you can become a productivity guru that not only get things done but excels at it!

Using New Year’s Resolutions to embrace 2019 and become the best you!

Using New Year’s Resolutions to embrace 2019 and become the best you!

Using New Year’s Resolutions to embrace 2019 and become the best you!

Can you believe 2019 if finally here? It’s been a long and exciting 2018, but as all good things, this too has come to an end. It’s time to reflect on things that helped shape us and brought us were we are today but it’s also time for new things so you can make 2019 just as memorable, and more importantly a huge success.

I don’t have a long list of new year’s resolutions. I don’t trust myself to keep with them and hate disappointment. So three things tops my list this year and hopefully I’ll be able to keep up.

My 2019 strategy

Resolution #1

In 2019 I will be working harder towards my health. My health journey started in August 2018, took a plunge in December and I’m picking it up again in Jan. I’m not only talking about physical health but mental health as well. Healthy body, healthy mind. Looking after your mental health is vital as it affects every aspect of your life, social, family and career. I plan on working on my focus and my planning abilities. I’m not quite sure how to go about it yet but I guess that’s part of the journey. I’ve already started getting some tools together like my shiny new 2019 diary, I’ve used the Headspace app before for meditation and realized that I don’t even have 5 minutes of peace and quite in my house… I’ll try and pick that up again. I’m also reading Getting Things Done by David Allan. I’ve only heard great things about him and this book so hopefully I’ll be able to implement his strategies into my own work-life balance.

Resolution #2

The second resolution is to be a better human being. Upskilling yourself is so easy, all you need is the will power and the drive (the time as well but if you have enough drive, you will make the time). I’ve planned out 12 courses I want to take this year to help me broaden my skillset. They range from digital marketing to nutrition (bonus because it helps with resolution number one). I’ve had the same resolution last year and only managed to complete one. It feels as though I stumbled into and through 2018 but with some help I’m sure I’ll be able to master the goal this year.

Resolution #3

Finally, yet importantly, the easiest resolution… To make a bucket list and start ticking of some stuff I’ve always wanted to do but have never gotten to. The idea is to get out in the world and make yourself heard. I’m sure that finally visiting that networking event or contacting that client will boost my career in the right direction.

The New Year is usually a time to reflect but also a time for new things, a fresh start, a blank slate. Why not take it with both hands and embrace this gift you get to open each year and become the best you that you can possibly be!

Being a Virtual Assistant. This is my Why…

Being a Virtual Assistant. This is my Why…

Being a . This is my Why…

What is a Virtual Assistant

According to the balance small business website, a virtual assistant (VA) is a person who provides support services to other businesses from a remote location. The term originated in the 1990s as the ability to work virtually due to technology improvements, such as high-speed Internet, document sharing, and other advancements, made working remotely a reality.

Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but don’t want to bring on staff in their location. However, many small and mid-size businesses use virtual support, especially for specific tasks such as social media management.

My Why…

Earlier in 2018, I decided to kick the corporate bucket and venture on a solo career path.  I just didn’t know what I was going to do though.  It wasn’t the first time I’d tried my hand at entrepreneurship either.  No, I’m a sucker for pursuing my goals, hopes and dreams.  Have I failed and bumped my head?  You better believe I have.  Has my confidence wavered?  Oh yes, many times. It still does. I have days when I sit back and question my choice, but usually, it takes a drive during peak hour traffic to reaffirm my belief in what I’m doing.

I knew I had to change what I was doing.  There were a few personal reasons for my decision but the main driving force for me is the fact that misogyny is still rife in the workplace.  This is a global phenomenon and a topic not discussed openly for fear of reprisal.

Working hard, long hours has always been a trait I’m proud of, but, as I approach my 50’s, I don’t gel with the rules.  Not that I really embraced these to begin with.  Boundaries create security, this is psychology 101 – but micromanagement and a draconian, authoritarian management style is on another level.  One I don’t tolerate.  Perhaps it’s just my personality, but I have a visceral dislike toward those who deploy this management style.  Nor do I take kindly to whipper snapper millennials boasting their degrees and exploiting others, especially mature women in the workplace.  Don’t get me wrong, I respect the fact that people work hard to attain their degrees.  Point is, it does not entitle belligerence.

I am pleased to observe on many company websites, particularly the UK based companies that the gender pay gap is being addressed.  These modern companies are also addressing their menopause policy for their mature female employees.  This is liberating and makes us ‘oldies’ feel appreciated and still worthwhile in the office and not maligned for being female.

As I was planning my exit strategy, I researched online work opportunities.  I wasn’t overly enthused at the ‘genuine’ options I found.  Seems there’s many a scam artist out there preying on desperate and vulnerable job seekers.  Scrolling through Google I saw the term virtual assistant.  Intrigued, I read on.  Yes!  This was for me and rest as the saying goes, is history.

Another important factor that influenced my decision is my teenage son.  It’s reassuring for mums of small children to be at home.  Unfortunately, there’s not too many half day positions available and mums are forced to either take a pay cut, opt to work from home or find full time employment and utilise the primary school after-care facility.  The assumption is high school kids have it all figured out and cope on their own in the afternoons.  This is not the situation and left to their own devices, teens tend to not be as studious as we’d like them to be. Boys tend to take advantage of this fact…  To this I can attest.

Where to from here

Setting up shop is not easy, and it’s become a competitive work arena out there.  If starting and running a business is such a simple feat, everyone would be an entrepreneur.  When I started out, I floundered for a while and was startled at my lack of up to date techie experience.  This from someone who completed their A+, advanced networking and MCSE in the early 90’s.  A lot has changed, and it can be daunting!

I wasn’t and am not deterred to work for myself and on my own.  As a Virtual Assistant, you cannot offer everything skills wise and there will always be other VA’s who offer more than you do and are better at a task than you are.  It’s about streamlining your skills and finding your niche.  If you don’t know something, say so.  But, turn your not knowing into a positive and learn how to do the task.  There are many online resources to be researched and honing your skills is do-able, without breaking the proverbial bank.

Be honest and upfront with your client and with yourself.  It’s no use struggling to fulfill a task or commitment you know full well won’t be done correctly.  The concept of working online requires open communication channels and engaging regularly with your client or clients.  Learn to manage your time.  When you’re on the clock and responsible for task management and key deliverables, you quickly realize how valuable time is.  There’s no chatting with colleagues round the coffee station or checking your social media profiles.  Accountability is tantamount.

Being on the cutting edge of technology and offering a bespoke service will ensure the global Virtual Assistant market succeeds.  This is an exciting career path and the industry is set to grow, exponentially so.

Where to start in writing a blog post? This is how.

Where to start in writing a blog post? This is how.

Where to start in writing a blog post? This is how

They say writing blogs are important in the success of your marketing. I get that… BUT I have not done this a lot. I wrote lots of stories as a kid, but since I grew up my imagination and creativity…went in hiding.

I have not been challenged in years to write, so I myself had to go back and learn. As I was doing my research I decided to write about it as I go and share it with you.

I hope this will help you 🙂

This is what I normally do to write a blog.

  1. Coffee is my breath, my “haaa”, it takes me to that place of ease. So I will make myself a warm cup of coffee, clear out my desk and sit back, close my eyes and think of the topic ahead or a topic.
  2. Once I am clear about the topic I will start with research, making sure I know what I am writing about.
  3. Get some images for the blog and some for inspiration.
  4. Craft your headline that is preferably both informative and will capture your readers attention.
  5. Type away! Just let it “flow”, remembering this is only a draft, it does not need to be perfect. Not even close.

7 other tips to help you write a blog

#1 Own your first paragraph and the title

Having good compelling titles and introductions will make your readers want to read more. It wil inspire them.  Wishpond contributor James Scherer says, “recent studies show that while 80% of people will read headline copy, only 20% will read the rest. This is the hidden importance of great titles, and why getting them right is so vital to a successful blog.”

#2 Be the expert not the bragger

Build a trusting relationship with your audience, make it seem that you are a expert in this, not just bragging about it.

#3 Focus on a specific audience

When drafting your blog, think and focus on a certain audience. They say that good blogs are targeted to a particular audience.

#4 Be informative

Don’t just tell a boring story, tell your audience something that they can learn while they read your blog. Educate your reader.

#5 Optimize…

Most great blogs will follow basic SEO (search engine optimization) rules, using relevant keywords and anchor text.  Using SEO practices will make your blog more relevant to your targeted audience.

(Moz has some free tools which can help you with that)

#6 End your blog with a trigger

So this blog you are writing, you write it for a reason – mostly this reason is to connect with the readers.

Try ending a blog with something that moves or motivates the reader to action. In this case it would be to motivate readers to write a great blog.

#7 Be consistent

You will need to be consistent in writing, you will need to write blogs on a regular basis. This is especially important to grow your audience.

If your audience sees you writing a blog every week, you will get more and more website crawls which will improve your SEO.

In other words, blogging successfully takes a lot of work. But that doesn’t mean blogging has to be difficult.

An easy guide to keeping your candle lit as an entrepreneur

An easy guide to keeping your candle lit as an entrepreneur

An easy guide to keeping your candle lit as an entrepreneur

“I have soo much to do, but I don’t want to do it”.  This is a phrase I have used on many occasions, not just with work, but life in general.  So, after much thought and countless cups of coffee, I have come to realise and accept that burnout is part of the modern way of life.  This has gotten me thinking of ways that I can cope to ensure that I do not fall victim to this modern “disease”.

Do what you love

I have worked for many years and people always said to me “do what you love”, they were right!  There is nothing more fulfilling than getting up in the morning to do something that inspires me.  Now it is totally impossible to enjoy every activity that I do, however, I make sure that 90% of my day is spent doing something that I am passionate about.

Everyone has a time of day that they are at their best. For me, a nice brisk walk and a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, sets me in work mode.  I have also found that stepping away for regular breaks, albeit lunch, cleaning or hanging washing, allows me to focus and be more productive in my work.

Get moving

Walking for me has been a saving grace.  There are many issues that have been dealt with, whilst I pound the pavement.  Exercise is a good stress release and the happy nunus that run around after exercise make me feel great.  To help avoid burnout, I have realised that I need to stay healthy.  By eating a healthy breakfast I can think more clearly and provide my brain with fuel to concentrate.  Looking after myself is key to avoiding burnout!

Now there are tasks that I cannot stand!  For example, I am not a fan of accounting and I have had to learn that it is okay to take the task and break it up into manageable pieces, thereby managing my stress levels.

How burnout can manifest itself

Burnout can manifest in many ways.  It has taken a long time for me to be aware and listen to the warning signs.  If I am tired, I take a break, if I am hungry, I eat.  In so doing I remain fresh and I am then able to concentrate on the task at hand.  I have left jobs in the past that have drained me and left me feeling frustrated and unproductive.  Why keeping working at something that is making me miserable.

I have also made it my mission to spend time with family and friends, this gives me time to express my concerns and get to the root cause of what is making me head on the path to burnout.  My family and friends have always been able to help me see things from a different prospective.

Burnout is a real thing, be aware and look after yourself, so that you do not fall victim to a very serious case of burnout!