Is your to-do list effective?

Is your to-do list effective?We all have them, they are dotted all around my house and office, but the question is how effective are they? Are they serving their purpose or are then hindering you more than you realise?
See on their own the whole concept is great, but often we do not use them to their potential!

The aim 

List writing is really easy to do yet can be so tricky to get the hang of, we all have a habit of scribbling down the things that pop into our minds on a piece of paper, or a new log if using an online system, but doing this we are not giving it a second thought, I know some of my entries will have a handful of words that mean something when writing it, but hour or days later I haven’t a clue!
And here is one of the problems, we are not being clear, concise and logical.

A few do’s and Don’ts 

Mix it up – don’t throw all those horrid jobs at the end of the list, as we all know by the time we get to the end of the list, it is either too late or you really can’t be bothered. Remember ‘DFT’ that I mentioned in my previous blog, use that time to push through those horrid jobs on your to-do list

Keep it visible – keeping it somewhere in view will help you stay focused on the job in hand, make sure that you review your list regularly too, don’t bury it and then not being able to find it, then having to start a new one, have it pinned somewhere you can get to it quickly.

Larger tasks – it is so easy to put something like “social media” on your list, but in fact that is a massive task, and probably when broken down its several tasks, try and break down the larger tasks into smaller, easier tasks, this way you will be able to cross this off quickly, as opposed to never or taking longer to cross off, which in turn just demoralises you. So put “Facebook posts” “Participate in a twitter hour” “run a competition” see that way you will cross those 3 things off yet you may have more to do another day.

Not everything needs to be done in a day – remember Rome wasn’t business in a day, so create your list to run over a week, then you can run those bigger tasks over the week, but still be able to cross things off as the week goes on.

Finally, find a list system that works for you, there are thousands of options out there, from pens and pads, Apps, books, list pads, you name it there is a system. Find what works for YOU!! By all means grab snippets from other people you speak to, in fact, you could incorporate bits from others into your own system. It’s what works for you.

I have tried loads, but for me currently, I use my Outlook calendar, in here I have a list of things that need doing, they are colour coded by client, and they are given a date of when it needs to be done by as well as a % of job done option.

This currently works for me, but I am always looking at new ways, once you have found your way, don’t be frightened to mix it up in the future if you feel it is going a little stale.

Let me know what way you have chosen to try out.

If you are struggling to stay on top of things, why not have a chat with me, I am happy to discuss outsourcing and how I can help you gain back sometime during your week.  Check out my latest freebie HERE

 

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Are you comfy? It’s bed-time story time…..

Bedtime Story time

Guess how much I love you…………………. This is one of the favourites here, as well as ‘We are going on a bear hunt’ in all fairness our children love having a story read to them at any time of the day, but bedtime is the calm, the lay in bed and let us drift off into a state of relax and story time.

See kids have a lot on their minds, and I am sure each generation that grows up say’s it’s tough for kids growing up nowadays, the pressures and strains.  And they are not far wrong, I know when I was at school, jeez did I moan! But I never had the level of homework my kids get now and they are nearly 5 and nearly 9!

But a story at bedtime is fun and calming and helps them sleep.

Now, you are sitting there thinking ‘why the heck is she babbling on about bedtime stories’ well I have a reason for this topic and that is a simple question for you all:

How many of you switch off from the internet and read?

A study has shown that even 6 minutes a day can be enough to reduce your stress levels, it’s been proven that is more effective than listening to music, which for me was a surprise as I am very music orientated, I always have my radio on or my iPod on shuffle, I generally feel happier with music on in the background (plus is bodes well for some kitchen dancing!). As I sit here now drafting this I am listening to my music.

Going back to reading

After I read this piece I started watching my children at bedtime whilst I read them their stories and I could see them smiling and relaxing, as the story unfolded, and wondered why on earth I don’t read as much as I used to, I mean now is the time for me to be picking up a book and losing myself in the story, and we all know those that have read Pride & Prejudice probably knows what it’s like to lose yourself in a book 😉

Lose yourself in a book

Running our businesses 24/7 can takes its toll on us, the stresses and pressures of hitting targets, pulling it the money each month, plus all the other tasks we must do, I feel we owe it to our minds and stress levels to find a way to unplug and unwind, and that’s why over the next few blogs I will be talking about ways to unplug from business and really enjoy the reasons why we started in the first place. Creating this type of regular ritual can be hugely beneficial to us running a business.

I really want you to try it, go grab a book and lose yourself in storyline

What will you read? Share with us what you are reading or what is next on your reading list.

Don’t forget, if you are struggling with your workload, get in touch with me, I am happy to discuss how I can help you with outsourcing, and check out my latest Freebie HERE

Chat soon

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Are you a habit creature?

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Habits

We have all read those articles where they tell you ‘wake up at 5 am to become a millionaire’  or ‘drink a green smoothie to become successful’ – I think I have at least one of these articles in my inbox each week, telling me what I need to be doing to become a successful business owner.

Now I can tell you I DO NOT get up at 5 am, that to me is still the middle of the night, and I personally don’t like anything green to eat or drink so a green smoothie will never pass my lips. Ok I can tell you now I am not a millionaire nor would I say I was hugely successful (yet!).  What I can tell you, is, my business is producing a wage and I am comfortable.

pinch of salt

I personally don’t think these lists of what you should do, will benefit you in that way, I think you need to read them with a pinch of salt and to use them to perfect your routines, to make you more productive and focused.  I think it is great to read these articles and ones alike to see if anything they do could fit into your lifestyle and business routine if it doesn’t then move on.

I believe in normal ‘Sleep and Food’ – I feel eating and sleeping better does improve your productivity levels, whether this will, in turn, you into a millionaire who knows! We all know that when you was based in an office that Friday afternoon slump would kick in about an hour after you and your work colleagues got back from the pub, you know after that massive burger and chips you ate! I know from experience that massive lunch would turn me into the most UNPRODUCTIVE person ever.

Pub burger and chips = unproductive

I also feel that a healthy balance of exercise will help you towards a more productive week. Mixing that with your sleep and food, you should see a massive difference to your attention span during the week.

But none of these things I don’t feel will make you more successful nor do I think will make you a millionaire, these will help you to move forward and become the best you can be, and if that means it helps you create more business, then great, but I do wish these gurus would stop telling us these quick and sure-fire habits will fast track you to success.

You are the reason you are successful, you are the reason your clients what to work with you, not because you have a green smoothie on your desk!

To be honest, if you eat healthily, you exercise regularly, and sleep well you should see huge results in your productivity, use that to your advantage if you find you have more umpfh then use it to benefit you and the business.

So don’t be fooled with all the habits and routines that famous business owners are doing, as that works for them, remember running a business is not a one size fits all.  You need to find the routine and habit that works for you and your business.

Right I am off to munch on some random piece of food that has become fashionable

 

Chat soon folks

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The power is in your hands……………Honest

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Hey everyone, in my last blog I mentioned to you above trying to find your self-discipline, how has that gone? It can be a tricky one to grab hold of and run with, because of so many distractions, I also gave you some tips on how to cope and deal with those distractions.

This month

I want to talk to you about the importance of staying in touch with your crowd, we all know we can stay in touch via Social Media, but sometimes it’s just not enough is it.  I have got into a good routine of keeping a check on my insights on my social platforms, I post at various times, some when my crowd are online and other times when they are not active, most of my crowd are online late afternoon/early evening, I do schedule posts for that time, but I do like to do things in real-time too.

In March’s newsletter, I spoke about the amazing competition that I won back in October 2016, which was run by the A.M.A.Z.I.N.G Emma Holmes of Coaching Rockstars. I had seen her posts on social media and a few friends through business had shared her post too, but still, didn’t feel compelled to enter it as I felt I wasn’t lucky enough.  Then I had a Rockstar newsletter hit my inbox which went into more detail, with all the relevant links, it just spoke to me, I felt it resonated with me and the situation I was in at the time, it was that email just pushed me into entering, and how glad am I that I did! I have managed to spend time with some AWESOME, inspiring, knowledgeable women in the industry.

The power of e-marketing is huge and can have such an amazing effect on your business.  You can reach out to your crowd with a push of a button, you know it will land in their inbox when you ask it too, and it will be filled with great content, you can get your message over in more depth, as on social platforms you don’t want to flood your crowds timelines nor make it too long.  This way you can create that eye-catching content.

Winning this competition has change my business completely, and it landing in my inbox gave me that push to enter myself

I think how Emma ran her competition and made sure it landed in the right hands was amazing, she clearly knows her crowd and she knows how to make you feel that she is reading your mind. This IS something you can learn over time, but you need to start somewhere, so being in touch with your crowd regularly via a newsletter is key. You can grow your list with sign-up boxes and links to freebies, these are things I will be talking about in future blogs and newsletters.

Growing your list won’t happen over night, think back to my favourite saying “Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey”

On the Social

Over the last few weeks on my page we have celebrated International Women’s Day, it’s a powerful day, and one that should be celebrated.

Also, I shared a video from Eric Thomas who claims there is no such thing as procrastination, he says people get it confused with something that is of no interest to you, so in turn have no desire to do the task, what do you think?

I also touched upon a subject that is close to my heart and to a few fellow Virtual Assistants, over recent weeks I have seen a few small business owners getting frustrated that people are either late paying or the next worst thing asking for a discount! As I stated on my page, I do not give discounts, I have packages that benefit my clients, I may give a discount should they recommend me, but I will not give a discount off the cuff! You can read that post HERE

Build A Door!

Why wait? I asked my followers why wait for that business to find you, sitting in your office behind the PC isn’t going to pay the bills, you have to be active looking for business, you need to get yourself out there, be bold, be bright, be seen (I’m sure that’s a tagline for crossing the road!) If opportunity isn’t knocking then build a door! What do you do? do you go networking, or have another avenue you go down to generate leads and business? share with us what you do.

Build a door, why wait

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If you have anything you need help with or want me to discuss then leave me a comment, I have a huge list of thigs that I want to share with you over time, so do let me know as I could be doing a series that could benefit you.

Don’t forget I have my freebie – What to ask your Virtual Assistant, I created this to help those that are hoping to hire a VA in the near future or maybe changing to a new one, its just a small guide to help you.

If you are struggling to stay on top of things and wondering if outsourcing is the way forward for you and your business, I am happy to have a chat with you to help you decide.  It suits some but not all.

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Learning something new………

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Remember the days of employment, when HR would send you an email saying something like:

Dear Claire, Here at XYZ Ltd, we like to keep on top of the latest trends to grow our business, with this in mind HR and your Line Manager Mrs Blog feel that you would benefit greatly by attending the 2-day intensive course.

Do you remember getting those through, and how the thought just filled you with sheer boredom! I remember them well, and for me, it was things that I had no major interest in but it was to the benefit of the company more so than me.

On the week running up to this 2-day course you would have to cram all your workload into a couple of days to cover you being out of the office, and then off you trot to this course that was always miles away, participate in the breakout sessions, lunch with random’s and stuck travelling home again to have to do it all again tomorrow.

I know I paint a dismal picture but some of those offsite training days for me were a nightmare, we always had a tonne of work on and they always fell at the wrong times.  But it was always something extra to put on your C.V. 🙂

Why is it different now?

So you are sitting there wondering why the heck have I titled this ‘Learning something new’ well you see this time you are learning to benefit YOU and YOUR business, I know it sounds selfish and probably ungrateful that any of my employers paid out money for me to attend these training courses, but learning something new now as a business owner, is something that interests you, and let’s face it, if you have to sit there and learn at least learn something that you want to learn.
Learn something new

I vowed to myself this year that I was going to learn a new skill or perfect an old skill each year, or if I am lucky maybe 2 new skills, this will not only benefit me but my clients too, I have since started my own business gained experience in many new fields, ones that I had no clue on as previously I would have had a department to call to sort the problem out.

So ask yourself a question, if you could learn a new skill or perfect an old skill for your business this year what would it be?

For me, I want to get to grips with basic photo/video editing, I have started to incorporate video marketing into my business as I feel this will help me get a step up in the small business world, as we as humans are so visual, we like to see or watch something over reading 80 pages of the same content, it’s just how we are.

Tell me in the comments box below what would you like to learn this year?

Don’t forget if you are struggling with your admin, or have tasks that you really just don’t want to do, why not contact me and see if I can help you.  You never know we could plan your future success together.

Also, why not sign up for my downloadable freebie, ‘Top tips for delegating to your Virtual Assistant’ a quick guide of an easy way to let go of some of your precious work.



Take care

Claire x

 
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