“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. Dr Wayne Dyer
Wise words from a great man and of extreme relevance in this current situation in which we find ourselves. An unsettling time of unchartered territory where we feel that we are standing in the corridor, waiting for a door to open, revealing the new way of life into which we will emerge.
COVID 19 has affected every one of our daily lives in many ways, and none have remained untouched. Our lives are no longer the same and this brings about opportunities for self-introspection and evolvement. We need to start looking at things differently, with fresh eyes, from a new angle, in other words, gain a new perspective. It can make the acceptance of our new way of life an easy transition.
What is perspective?
Perspective is the way we see life through our filters. A skill that we use to navigate our path, adding to our ever-growing subconscious library of reference. As humans, we have feelings and emotions associated with our experiences according to our make-up. Our view of one situation may be completely different from another person, yet both entirely correct as seen from their perspective.
Where to begin?
As with anything we wish to change, the first steps are recognition, acceptance and willingness to change. So, take a step back. Try to look at the situation objectively, as if you were a by-stander and do not allow your emotions to take over. If we observe from the outside, we can start to see it with fresh eyes, expand our thinking and bring in some new possibilities we may be willing to try. Decide on what you want to change and give it a go.
Some tools you can use
Sound too easy? I agree that sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees when you are in the situation, and at times there doesn’t seem to be a solution at hand besides the only one you can see. Take some time to sit with yourself in reflection and try one or two of the following methods.
Questioning – Ask a couple of people for their perspectives or solutions and ponder over them, trying to see things from a different angle.
Meditation – find a quiet place or time and go into deep thought around the subject. Note afterwards any changes you may have discovered.
Journaling – write about your thoughts and whatever ideas come into your head as you are doing this. Reflect on your writing afterwards and see if there is another viewpoint you can adopt.
Mind-mapping – either on paper or there are many mind-map apps out there you can explore and use to jot down your thoughts and see how they can expand, open and change.
Do things differently – even if it just starts with the way you approach your chores, your regular routes or your exercise routine. Changing things around physically can help you to shift thought patterns.
You have the power
You have the inner power to change how you view things around you, of forming new patterns and looking at life. It is not about changing who you are, but rather about your expansion and growth, so go ahead and treat yourself to a broadened perspective.
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!
I’m sure we are all fed up with hearing about the virus and what we can and can’t do and what we should be doing today and what we would have been doing on Sunday, Mother’s Day. There will be no restaurant reservations, professional pamper spa days, cards made at school, school visits for moms and granny’s and the faithful quick ‘grab-a-gift’ moment late on a Saturday afternoon.
But it is not all doom and gloom. Dads, soon-to-be-dads, sons and daughters, it’s time to get creative. Here are a couple of ideas to help you along.
You may or may not know about paint night. It is an awesome evening out with your mom or your girlfriends, you drink wine, eat good food and paint your own canvas. The ladies of yaymaker have been super creative during this period and taking full advantage of the virtual world. For Sunday they are selling tickets at R95 per household, all you need is a couple of household or easily bought items from a Pick n Pay or Spar, a stable internet connection account and you are good to go.
We can go with the good old faithful, Netflorist, where you can select from a wide range of custom/personalized gifts, flowers, gift baskets, etc. You definitely cannot go wrong here but be sure to place your order soon to get it in time.
Make a card
Grab some paper, crayons, scissors, stickers, anything you can find lying around the house and get creative with your little ones. I’m sure they will be able to steer you in the right direction.
Some great Mother’s Day wishes you could use that have actually been said by toddlers:
Who needs a warm bed when you have a warm mommy
Mom you may be forty but you can boogey like your fourteen (this one is adaptable for all ages, you may be thirty but you can boogey like you thirteen, see where I’m going with this)
I am like a flower that is raised with love by you. You help me grow up big and strong Mom, thanks for all you do.
You’ve seen the bags of nail cleaners, nail files, nail polish in the cupboard, grab these out and treat mom to a spa day. Cut up some cucumbers for her eyes and buy a face mask (from any local supermarket). The little ones can paint moms’ toes. Be sure to add in a cup of coffee/cocktail – depending on the time of the day – and breakfast in bed and you are sure to be the favorite for the day.
Vouchers are always a good idea. This could be from moms favourite clothing store, or shopping mall. Or even a spa voucher for when we are out of lockdown, some of my top picks are Mangwanani, Life Day Spa, and Sorbet, but this could be from any spa you know mom has enjoyed visiting in the past. A voucher from moms favourite restaurant that can be enjoyed after lockdown – a great idea to support local.
A picnic in the garden
This one is always a winner and thank goodness for our local stores. Dads can pop out on Saturday and grab a couple of favourite treats for the family that can be easily enjoyed outside in the garden, think chips, dip, cake (always a good idea), sandwiches, samosas, wraps, bagels, croissants, cold meat, various cheeses, and don’t forget the plastic cups and paper plates to make cleaning a little easier. And should the weather not be great this can always be enjoyed in the lounge or any open area too.
A photobook voucher
This is one we have heard every mom talk about, and how they wish they had the time to put a photobook together. One of my favourite is Burblepix. Their desktop or online creator tool is simple and easy, anyone could use it, and their products are amazing. This one will give mom something to do – in the very little spare time she does get – that will warm her heart and your home. You can choose from a photo book, a calendar, a canvas, a diary, etc. Visit https://bit.ly/2WsA97i for more information.
A family photoshoot
This is one you definitely can’t go wrong with! There are a number of photographers offering Mother’s Day specials. Some of the great ones I have seen are offered by Laura Clair Smith Photography, Kate Rankin Photography, Bianca Smit Photography, Jo Stokes Photography Cape Town, Adore Photography, and D’amor Photographer, to name a few.
Some photographers are embracing remote photography such as Kist Photography, where you can do a remote Mother’s Day shoot. Visit them at https://bit.ly/3c5JJUc for more information.
Online Make-up Tutorials
Another great option for Moms who love make-up or have mentioned that they would like to go on a course. Erin Smylie, one of the best make-up and hairstylist in the industry, is offering online make-up tutorials. You can purchase a course by visiting her website at https://bit.ly/3c5JJUc.
As a reminder – Mother’s Day is on Sunday the 10th – yes that is this coming Sunday – so get planning, be creative and show Mom that you appreciate everything she does.
It is no secret that these are uncertain and unprecedented times that we are living in and living through. And it is certainly a time where we as VA’s can really use our skills to their highest level and show our clients and business the love that they definitely need and deserve right now.
As a virtual assistant it is easy to get caught up in the chaos sometimes and lose our way a bit when it comes to what we do for a living as well as how we assist our clients. It is easy to lose focus when circumstances throw a curve ball and when that happens – many things can fall through the cracks and deadlines fall behind, and so it snowballs. That is why I have certain tools which I make use of regularly that help me to show my clients business love to help us both be successful, no matter how challenging things may seem.
Below I will discuss a few of them and how I have found they help me in my day to day dealings with client work. But before I get to those technical things ….
This could possibly be the most important tool to use at this present moment in time. It may be the only thing that gets us through the day, most days.
I am extremely grateful to be able to do what I do on a daily basis. I am grateful that I have developed so many useful skills, and still developing because every day presents a learning opportunity.
I like to express gratitude for the clients I have that allow me to be a virtual assistant. I am grateful that I am healthy and of sane mind (most of the time) to be able to create and collaborate and learn and be productive.
Being grateful and showing gratitude daily is possibly one of the biggest way I show myself, my business and my clients some love. If I am in a state of gratitude and feeling at peace and happy with life, it will show in the work produced, it will show in the fact that I try to go the extra mile whenever possible, and it will show in the end result.
Now let’s get to the more intricate tools out there.
The tools to success
I know that staying organized and on top of the tasks at hand is the key here. It helps me stay focused and it helps me provide my clients with what they need, when they need it.
Below are some tools for time management, project planning and scheduling which I have taken the initiative to get and use in order to help me and my clients.
Hootsuite – A social media scheduling tool. It is super versatile and allows me to schedule out content weeks in advance. It allows all platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram amongst others. Using this tool means that my clients get their business in front of social media audiences at the right time and in the right place.
Toggl – To keep me on track. This is a timing tool which allows you to add projects and clients and you can keep track of time spent and how productive you were in the various tasks. It allows me to streamline things and also shows the client where the time is being used.
Canva – This is my favorite and the one I invest money in to ensure that I can work well with clients who need graphics designed and who perhaps would like me to collaborate with them via the team/folder share function of Canva. Canva also has a paid for version and has recently given PRO Canva subscribers access to over 6 million images, templates and more. You can even create animation and videos, the sky is really the limit with Canva. Even if you are not a pro at design, Canva will make you look like one.
To wrap it up
Although there are many technology based ways to show love to your business and clients, the most effective way is to stay true to yourself, show gratitude, feel grateful and feel the love.
Here is to us and overcoming challenges using the power of LOVE!
The pandemic and the predictions of recession has small business owners worried about the future. Working remotely is a new model for many; and this has it’s challenges and complications.
Did you have days where you just don’t get to everything you need to before Covid 19 put businesses at risk? Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed because you are spending too much time trying to run a virtual office? Do you need extra help and processes for working with a virtual team?
You may not want to make the commitment of having to hire a full time employee, but you desperately need help with planning and positioning your business for the future.
If this is you, then hiring a virtual assistant is your answer!
I actually had a new client the other day ask me this very question. I couldn’t help but chuckle because the Virtual Assistant concept, although already known by many companies and industries throughout the world, is still also a fairly unknown concept for many business owners. A virtual assistant can be defined as an independent contractor who provides administrative services to clients while operating outside the client’s office and who can access planning documents remotely.
Like any other employee you would hire, virtual assistants have different skills sets. Some are admin superstars, other are creative geniuses when it comes to putting together marketing content for your business and you even get those number crunching enthusiasts that are ready to come in and make your month end look like a walk in the park! Pretty awesome hey?
Still not convinced…
If your still not sure a virtual assistant would be right for you, here are some reasons why a virtual assistant is a good idea…
Less investment – Yip, you read right! No office space and equipment will save you a considerable amount of money
Saves Time – Recruitment requires time and money. A virtual assistant will be available as soon as you need them for as long as you need them.
Reduce Expenses – Again no office staff requires no fixed monthly salary and benefits, you simply pay for the work done by the virtual assistant.
Peace of Mind – While your Virtual assistant works in your business doing the things you simply don’t have time to or don’t know how to do, you are able to use your time focusing on what’s important to you. Giving you freedom of time and peace of mind that things will get done.
When you take the risk to start a business you put a lot of time and energy to make it a success. You’ve done so much already, so now it’s time to show yourself and your business some love and hire a virtual assistant that will help take your productivity and business to a whole new level.