What exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is described as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts in the here and now. When we become more aware of our own mind, we become more aware of those around us. When we start to become more present and apply mindfulness to our everyday lives, we can begin to see the benefits.
Mindfulness is an extreme sense of awareness. We can observe our thoughts and actions along with the feelings and emotions of others.
Like a muscle, mindfulness is something that we must practice all the time. Times in which we do not believe that we need to practice are the most important. It is easy to be mindful when the world around us is calm. We must exercise sincerely in these times so that when the world around us becomes chaotic, we can remain in this internal place of stillness.
Be Here Now
The present moment is the only moment that we have. If you are continually dwelling on the past or the future, you cannot pay attention to what is. Being out of the now will affect the quality of your life.
Simple ways to bring mindfulness into our daily routines
It’s said that we eat with our eyes first. When bringing mindful awareness to eating this is undoubtedly true. We see our food before consuming it. Notice the colors on your plate. Become aware of the smell of your food. Feel the temperature of the food as it warms or cools your plate. Take the opportunity to experience tasting your food fully.
As you walk, notice the sensation of the air on your face and arms. Feel the ground beneath your feet with every step you take. Tune into the sounds around you. Simply become aware of how it feels to place one foot in front of the other.
As you breathe in, notice the cooling sensation as the air moves up and into your nostrils. Feel the air fill and expand your lungs. In that split second before you breathe out notice how the breath is held in your body. As you breathe out, recognize the sensations in your body as your ribs contract. Breathing mindfully not only increases awareness but is a tool to reduce anxiety and stress in the present moment. The next time you are stressed out try to take a few mindful breaths to bring tension levels down.
Every time you take a shower, visualize washing away your stress and anxiety. Concentrate on the feel of the water touching your skin. Envision the power of the water washing away your negative thoughts. Let it all go down the drain, you’ll start feeling lighter and much clearer.
The more you practice mindfulness, the more you will understand how your thoughts, feelings or sensations influence each other, as well as your mood and the way in which you respond to the world.
What to Expect When Working with a Virtual Assistant
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a person who works remotely – she can sit in an office down the street or across the world. Working with a VA is very different from having an employee sitting in your office. Most Virtual Assistants work for more than one person, splitting their day up between their different clients. Virtual Assistants can assist with anything from general admin, marketing, diary management to virtually anything. The concept of working with a VA is a relatively new idea and so there are things that people are not always aware of.
Communication is key
Communication in this working relationship is key, use emails, WhatsApp, voice notes or weekly meetings. Be mindful that the Virtual Assistant is not in your office and is unable to come into your office and speak to you face to face, should the need arise. When giving instructions to your VA, be sure to provide all the resources that might be needed for the task at hand, together with all the relevant timelines and goals that you as an employer will expect. There should always be an open line of communication.
Work out the process
Working with a Virtual Assistant takes time to perfect. It is suggestible that especially in the beginning, all the assignments that are given to your Virtual Assistant are reviewed and that constructive feedback is given to the VA. This process will allow her to grow in her position and for her to ensure that over time she consistently provides what you are looking for. Never under estimate the power of a few kind words or praise for a job well done. It will do wonders for her self-esteem and will make your VA strive harder to ensure her work exceeds your expectations.
Stay in touch
It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that your VA knows what is expected of her. Regular communication to make sure she is coping and on point, will eliminate unwanted surprises. Having said this, there is no need to micromanage her. This could lead to serious problems down the line and could very well disrupt the relationship between the client and the Virtual Assistant and blur the boundaries as to what exactly is expected of her.
Remember the human touch
Remember that your Virtual Assistant is a person, who also has feelings and emotions. Given that that many clients have never had a face to face meeting with their VA, they forget that she too is a person. When problems arise as they normally do, it is easy get upset and vent their frustrations at their faceless Virtual Assistant.
All in a day’s work
Having a well-balanced working relationship between client and Virtual Assistant is one of the best things a client can do for his business. By the general day to day tasks been taken over by someone else, the client is left free to focus on growing his business without the everyday mundane tasks to contend with.
How to Become and STAY Motivated!
Don’t just talk, Just ACT!
Don’t just say, Just SHOW!
Don’t just promise, Just PROVE!
What is the meaning of Motivational?
Relating to the reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way. Promoting the desire or willingness to do or achieve something.
Ways to get and STAY motivated~
- Reviewing one’s goals first thing in the morning and pick one
- Get MOVING!
- Cut your to-do list in half
- Celebrate the little wins, no matter how small
- Getting around the right people
Reviewing one’s goals first thing in the morning and pick ONE
Make a decision, a decision to go ALL the way!
Life gets in the way and distracts us from accomplishing our goals or tasks.
Make a decision to review your goals or dreams list on a daily basis. First thing in the morning is best, with a clear fresh mind. This sets the tone for how your day and your life will progress.
Select just ONE of your goals, start putting together a plan that will help you achieve and focus on your goals and dreams.
I came across an acronym not so long ago, S.M.A.R.T!
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Time-sensitive
Procrastination is the key element to “stealing” one’s goals and dreams. STOP! Procrastinating.
To combat procrastination so that you can stay productive and keep moving forward, MAKE yourself happy.
Ways to make yourself happy:
- Show gratitude
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Celebrate the small things in life
- Be charitable
- Do things that you enjoy
- Put on some loud music and dance around the house
I don’t know what YOUR happy button is, FIND it, it will make the world of difference in your life.
Cut your to-do list in half
Having a long to-do list can be really taxing and energy draining. Cut your to-do list in half. Focus on completing the most important tasks first.
Personally, I tackle one, major to do first thing in the morning, this literally boosts my energy ten-fold and gives me the drive to complete many more tasks than I normally wood. The satisfaction of ticking a major task off your list is astounding.
Celebrate the little wins, no matter how small
Small wins may seem like just that – small. Celebrating these wins can help create positive habits. Think of it this way, small wins are progress points on your way to your goal.
How to celebrate the wins: –
- Notice them
- Get excited
- Communicate your small wins
- Reward yourself
Focusing on the small wins helps you break down a large goal into manageable chunks.
Getting around the right people
Get around people who have direction, people who have goals and plan, people who are going somewhere with their lives and have high aspirations.
Move away for negative and toxic people and environments. You do not want to be around people who moan and wine all the time. Life is too short.
Last but by no means the least, as Zig Ziglar says, “You can’t scratch with the turkeys if you want to fly with the eagles.”
4 Secrets to Growing Your Business’ Sales Exponentially This Year With The Use of Social Media
What new small business owner or entrepreneur doesn’t need MORE SALES in their business? Especially when it’s free! Social Media offers endless potential and opportunities for the young entrepreneur or established company to drive traffic to their website and increase their sales for free. In this beginner’s guide to using social media for growing your sales, we are going to take an in-depth look at what it takes to drive that potential sales through the roof using social media to target your audience. In this modern day there’s not a person that doesn’t have a mobile device which is excellent news for the business owner. Just imagine crushing those sales goals when you have the right audience at your disposal – a global audience available 24/7, 365 days of the year!
#1 Do your research
What you want is knowledge about your audience before starting any campaigns on social media. Consider and research the demographics of your target audience and use the information to determine which social media platforms to use to reach them and what type of media would be most likely to succeed.
#2 Quality content vs Quantity content
So, this is where you expect me to say, “Start a blog”, right? Wrong! If you don’t already have a blog for your website, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful FREE marketing tools to boost those sales and you might want to take a step back and first take a look at where to start when writing a blog post or how to improve your blogging. Our focus is on social media so that means you’ll need quality content to share. Take note my emphasis on quality content. Your biggest faux pax on social media is to share a whole lot of content without providing value to your audience. Don’t just post and share random stuff. Make sure what you have to say or share will either engage or entertain your audience.
A good guide is to use the 80-20 rule, which means you share 80% content that engage and entertain the audience and 20% sales content. Hard-selling is a definite NO! It adds a desperate flavour to your business that will chase away your target audience faster than you can schedule your next post.
#3 Consistency is key
Nothing is of greater value to improve your business’ online visibility than consistency. If you stuck to rule number two your content will be of value to your audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog, motivational quote or short video, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Your audience will be anticipating your next post. A social media calendar will enable you to plan your posts to coincide with special dates and events to maximize the effect of your content. So, what’s better than using a social media scheduling tool to make sure you free up your time while sharing quality content on a consistent basis to all the platforms and targeted audiences of your choice.
#4 Engaging with your audience
Social media is about engaging your followers. If you don’t grasp that concept first and foremost your hard work will all be for nothing. Nothing is as important as responding to your audience’s conversations, likes and shares. This is how you build trust in your brand and develop a relationship that turns a follower into a client.
Do the research, create or curate the content. Be intentional, be consistent, find your own voice and style. In a world where we are often overloaded with digital content, we need to be unique. AND we are – so use it to your advantage to outshine your competition. You’ll be amazed at the results!!
What you can do to get great work ethic
Setting boundaries and rules whilst maintaining good work ethic as a Virtual Assistant
As a Virtual Assistant we are sometimes so hungry to get that next client and maintain the best working relationships with the ones we have that we sometimes forget that the key to success is actually to set some boundaries. Setting boundaries and laying down some ground rules with your clients need not be a daunting, scary thing, in fact if anything it should be a relief to you and could even show your client a whole other side of your personality which they may love. Assertive and confident professional remote worker – THAT’S YOU!
Now although it may be a necessity to set these boundaries to avoid things like burnout and less than average work being handed over to clients, you need to be able to do it in a proper manner and without coming across as bitchy and condescending. You also want to make the rules clear from the get-go, so things like what hours you are available to one specific client, what your actual working hours are and so forth need to be discussed right in the beginning to avoid any awkwardness further down the line.
Below I will discuss a few tips for setting up rules and structure within your business which will ensure your success and success for your client.
Boundaries for you and me
Your phone – Now although you have a phone and the general idea of a phone is to take calls you do not want clients calling you all hours of the day and night and weekends expecting answers. So you need to be clear that, if you do not have a phone purely for business, that you tell your client you are available for calls between hours x and y and thereafter there will be no response to calls or messages.
Set working hours – Most VA’s have more than one client and therefore would want to have specific times scheduled in order to provide the best most focused work to each individual client. This can be tweaked according to the workload of course as sometimes one client has nothing for you to do on a specific day, but another may have a mountain of tasks which are all urgent, you can then use your discretion, but setting some sort of guideline around this with your client is very important.
Treat your business like a business – All business’s have hours where they open and then the same for when they close, you as a virtual assistant are essentially running a business and should do the same. Business’s have rules and regulations, therefore so should you. A virtual assistant is not an employee and therefore does not have to adhere to the management from a client.
Having a task list – A task list is also great as you and the client can set up the tasks together that are needed for any particular day, if the client then tries to deviate from this you can respond by saying that because the list has being drawn up in a specific way you have planned accordingly and unfortunately any extra’s would have to wait for the following day. If you are unsure of what the priority task is it is always best to communicate and find out, this is also a good way of setting the rules that priority tasks are completed first but whatever falls outside of the normal working hours will be added to the following day.
At the end of the day we all want to be able to deliver top-notch service as a VA and we want to have as many clients as possible and keep everyone happy – but happiness comes from being honest and upfront about things. You never want to find yourself a few months down the line, when you realise you cannot handle the workload, telling a client you need to set boundaries, it will probably not end very well.
Be assertive, have a clear idea of what you can and cannot do in any one day and then have that chat with those clients and you will flourish.
Happy Virtual Assistant = Happy Client