Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week

I was going to avoid this topic this week, may it be due to burying my head in the sand, or scared to talk about so a huge topic.  But I sat there and thought maybe it is something I should talk about as I am aware of so many business owners who are suffering from stress.

Stressy Topic

Stress is close to home for many people, it does not single out any sex, race or religion, it can hit anyone at any time. It can also be subjective, what is stress to one may not be to another, but we need to be so mindful of this as well. Scoffing at others stresses never mind how little they are to you is not supportive at all, and can have such a detrimental effect, so be aware of how you support people. I have been on the receiving end of someone not being supportive to what to me felt like the most stressful situation I had encountered, they just laughed and said ‘you’ll get over it’ just not what someone needs!

Stress is the key focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week, I don’t think there is a single person I know that has not been hit somewhere along the line with high-stress levels. Stress can be:

🌸A new job, the worry of starting over, being the new person
🌸An old job causing you angst, office politics, workload
🌸Illness, any number of health problems can cause stress all round
🌸Money, never enough! Cant earn what you need, going without
🌸Family, disagreements, health, worries
🌸Exams, this week sees the start of exams, so stress starts earlier now
🌸Bereavement, we all lose people and this can trigger off stress levels
🌸Being self-employed, the pressure to earn what you used to earn, or the pressure of success.

As you can see there are many things that can trigger stress, but the keyword here is #awareness being aware of how you are feeling, being aware of those around you are feeling, I am not asking you to take on other peoples problems unless you have the mental capacity yourself. But support and acknowledgement are powerful.

My stress levels

You see, I am not excluded from this either, I have my worries and stresses, my goodness they certainly know how to make themselves known, I have the standard worries and stresses, some of which may be to you, are not stresses, but for me running a business is tough, making sure I earn a certain amount each month, being seen by my crowd, making sure people can see that I can provide value and really make a difference in their business.

I have my 2 young children going through school life, and that throws a lot of stress in the mix, watching them worry about friendships, worrying about homework, my eldest has been bullied, and he is aware that this time next year it will be him sitting doing his SATs.

I have a poorly mum myself, she is a huge priority for me, she has looked after me for the most part of my life and if I am honest she still looks after me now, but due to her health, I am always making sure she is ok, taking her to appointments etc.

I have a partner who stresses about things too and works very hard to help me stay doing what I love doing. And if I am honest, I worry about him as being the typical man of the house, he does tend to hold a lot in!

Sometimes those stresses can topple me over the edge, but its ok!

Tough pickings

Mix that with the month of May, and its a tough one for me, not only do I have the general stresses mentioned above, but I get to celebrate my children’s birthdays, as well as acknowledging the passing of my dad too, its a tough tough month and one that is full of mixed emotions, and a month that does not get any easier, whoever says time heals clearly is telling fibs!  So I am very aware of my feelings this month and how to keep a check on them.

But making sure I am aware of my feelings and my stress levels is a necessity, I will admit I don’t always have a handle on my stress levels, but I try. I would love to try some form of meditation, so if you have any recommendations please share them.

Watching out for my clients

I see so many business owners with the weight of the world on their shoulders, wanting to do well in business but just not knowing which way to turn can be the stress trigger they don’t need. I have had clients in the past tell me that the hour or two a month that I support them has been a massive game changer to their mental wellbeing, and that to me is 100% satisfaction.

We may be online more nowadays, let’s build that community for each other, I have an amazing support network in business, I would love to help you get one too.

If you feel like your business is just getting too much, let’s have a chat, let’s see if working with me can help you a little bit, get in touch HERE

#mentalhealthawarenessweek

Love and hugs

~Claire💜x~

Who needs a Virtual Assistant?

Who needs a Virtual Assistant?

Simple answer! Anyone.

Narrowed answer 

To narrow it down slightly, those that run a business and needs help with the multitude of tasks that come hand in hand with running a business.

As we know there are a lot of tasks that are necessary and thankless must do’s in business, and prior to employing someone, you are the one that has to do them all. But as you grow in your business you start to hear the whispers of outsourcing and you learn more about it.

This has been described as the ‘penny dropping’ moment, and this is when people start to realise there is affordable help out there.

Confusion 

There is a level of confusion surrounding Virtual Assistants, and how they work, how you pay them, what they can do for you as well as many other questions.  Mix that with yourself and the many excuses as to why you shouldn’t outsource, you will find that you will have reasons stopping you from taking that step, and guess what! This is perfectly normal, it may just feel like you are sabotaging your progress.

There are so many helpful sites out there to help you find your outsourcing solution.  There are a couple of VA Societies and associations that can guide you should you have specific needs, for example if you are in the medical industry than for you having a medical VA would be a better option for you, or if you in the legal field than sourcing a VA with legal experience would be more suitable for you.  There are VA’s out there that cover most if not all areas, it really is worth looking into it in detail.

Go slowly

Please take it easy when you start working with a VA, you are both getting used to each other and you work, your VA will be learning the ropes and how you have set your business up, they are here to help, not make it more difficult, so talk to your VA openly, holding things or processes back will only frustrate you and hinder your VA, in order for you to get that great working relationship you need to trust your VA and help them help you, and before you know it you gel and things just click.

But go slowly, don’t throw everything at your VA and expect them to have it done within 24hrs, be realistic, be kind, if you rush this you will end up regretting taking on a VA and that will then become a terrible experience and its totally avoidable.

So, in answer to my title, who needs a virtual assistant………YOU, I am assuming that you have found this blog via a search asking Google about virtual assistants, so you are possibly at that research stage.  If you need help with your tasks, then yes you could benefit from having someone to outsource too.

Make contact 

If you are at that stage, then why not get in touch 😊

 

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3 things that are stopping you from outsourcing

3 things that are stopping you from outsourcing

Hey everyone, so this week I wanted to run through the 3 biggest habits/reasons that are stopping you from moving forward on your outsourcing task.  We all know and I have spoken about in many past blogs that running your own business is amazing yet tough, but we do it as we love it, truly enjoy it.

For me supporting small and medium-sized businesses is super rewarding, I feel I offer one thing, yet my clients tell me I offer them so much more than the task in hand, which gives me an immense feeling of pride and accomplishment.

For one client, not only am I providing business support, but I give her a sense of security as well as having someone there to be your accountability partner, and sometimes that really does help us in business, as we can often talk ourselves out of a good idea, so thrashing out those ideas with someone kind of makes you less likely to sweep it under the carpet!

Why am I here?

If you are running a business, then you will be familiar with things like online marketing, this in itself is pretty much a full-time job, your blogs, your newsletters, your social media posts, keeping up with the latest update and trends, answering your crowd, then you have other tasks, emails, travel arrangements, meetings, diary, creating products or carrying out your services, the list can be quite extensive and daunting.

So why am I here pointing this all out to you, you run a business, you know what you have to do, but I am here to tell you, you are probably the main reason you haven’t taken that step to outsourcing!

 

Here are the 3 top reasons I hear that are stopping you from taking that leap:  

No idea where to start! I have heard of business support and VA’s but when I started looking at the world of outsourcing, it just overwhelmed me!

Firstly, don’t let it overwhelm you, you are doing this to better your business and help you move forward if this is something that is causing you stress then break it down, like with every task you do in business, small chunks are more manageable. Write down the tasks that are keeping you stuck, this is the first thing for you to do, most of my clients said they needed help mainly with their blogs and newsletters, it was something they wanted to do, but was struggling to find the time to either start up a blog and regular newsletter or had trouble keeping it up to date.

My advice is write down the tasks that you feel are keeping you away from the jobs that create your customers and income.  Then I would either connect in your local Facebook pages to see if there are any VA’s in your area, or failing that you can get in touch with a couple of VA societies that have lists of VA’s that either match you in location, price range, experience etc.  I have listed this here:

I am only a small business, its just me, I can’t justify or afford a VA!

90% of my current clients are solo entrepreneurs! I also have clients that have offices and staff, there is no wrong or right demographic to outsourcing, so don’t feel just because its only you are working from your house you cannot outsource! Secondly, most VAs cost around £20-35ph, as well as monthly retainer packages, you will find that most VA’s offer a standard of 1hour a month, and if that is what you need then that is all you need to purchase, do not feel that it is too small to ask for.  In that hour most VAs will be able to draft and or format at least one or two blog posts (how long would that take you?) most could source a couple of weeks’ worth of images for your social media, most can copy type several pages documents, most could make an indent on the powerpoint presentation that has been sat on your desk for a month! Stop justifying your desire to progress!

 

It’s my business, I know how everything works, and I should be able to cope with what my business throws at me!

Ah yes! We have those business owners that will NOT cut themselves any slack and will often be found in the dead of the night or over weekends catching up on EVERYTHING that their business throws at them.  Can I just say, yes, it is your business, yes you do know how everything works but that does not mean you have to do it all yourself! And equally yes there are a lot of things that you should be able to cope with whilst running your business, scheduling in posts, re-purposing your content, marketing your blog I don’t feel are those tasks you should be doing!

Solutions

There are so many solutions out there to help you run your business smoothly, effectively and efficiently, most VA’s are pretty flexible and work around you and your business, you need to stop putting obstacles in your way in moving forward in your business. As I mentioned most VAs can work on an hourly basis with a minimum of 1 hr, use this wisely, outsourcing is vital to your business and your sanity.

Discovery Call

If any of this resonates with you, or your business is picking up and you are finding you have fewer hours to do those tasks, then see this as an opportunity to put something in place now, before you do get into a spin that you cannot get out of, book a FREE call with me and we can run through your sticking points.

 

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Mindset is not just for January!

Mindset is not just for January!

As we say farewell to January, probably one of the toughest months for most, not just business owners, just everyone in general.  We have seen the end of the festive period, Blue Monday and what seems an age since we had money going into our bank accounts.

But the light at the end of the tunnel is here and we can breathe a deep sigh of relief, February is here, and Spring is ever closer! We have seen loads of goal setting, resolutions, how powerful 2018 is going to be, as well as the be kind (my motto) as well as mindset.

I have refrained from doing anything about mindset in January as I know there is a lot of noise on this matter through January and its true, mindset is everything, if you don’t have that straight, your balance is off, both in business and in general life, you have got to have your mindset balanced, it is so easy to be knocked off your balance, this could be a number of factors.  January is enough to knock anyone off kilt, but getting back on is key, so brush off those knocks and doubts and get back to balancing your mindset and actions.

Why is mindset so important? 

Believe it or not this is what makes us feel how we feel, do the things we do and when, the definition of Mindset is simply, your mood, your attitude, your intention, ideas and the approach you have on a situation, so if you are down in the dumps (as my dad used to say) then your mood is down, this alters your attitude to doing something, and you have less intention to get on with what you need to do.

So, it’s all about keeping that on the up, aligned and in check, having those knocks or talking yourself out of things will only push your mindset of kilter.

It could be a factor 

If you are finding that everything is a struggle, or your confidence in performing certain jobs and tasks, or even lacking confidence in your knowledge, this could be a result in your mindset being unbalanced, life is very much about can and can’t do’s, but we often tell ourselves we can’t do something quicker than we tell ourselves that we can, this boils down to confidence and your mindset.

To get this sorted you need to push that Self-talk fairy off your shoulder, (self-talk fairy a phrase coined by the lovely Emma Holmes of Rebels and Rockstars, who is guest blogging for me on this topic very soon).  Once you have got rid or at least gagged her for a while (your self-talk fairy not Emma) you can start to build your confidence which will have a staggering effect on your mindset, as you won’t be talking yourself out of things (mood and attitude part of mindset)

Drowning

Another biggie for your mindset is your workload, when you are swamped, and your to-do list is just screaming more hours at you, it hits your motivation, which then starts that huge ricochet ripple of doubt, angst and self-talk, if you are struggling with your workload do not look at it as a failure, spin it around and see it as a positive! Instead of telling yourself you are a failure because you can’t keep up with your work demands, say to yourself, I am getting busier, my clients are enjoying working with me, my products/services are resonating with my clients which means I am getting busier!

See the different mindset spin can really help you.

Discovery calls 

If your business is picking up and you are finding you have less hours to do those tasks, then see this as an opportunity to put something in place now, before you do get into a spin that you cannot get out of, book a free call with me and we can run through your sticking points.

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Wibbly Wobbly!

Wibbly Wobbly!

Hands up who has had a wobble whilst running their business? I raise my hand too, now how many of you have them regularly? Yep, my hand is up too! Has anyone told you that this is normal and not to beat yourself up?

I will let you into a little secret, I had a MAHOOSIVE wobble last Friday, it was quite possibly the biggest I have ever had, and it was all over my confidence and my self-belief! The lack of self-belief just sparked off this whiff of doubt which then turned into a complete anxiety attack!

A necessary evil 

I will go out on a limb here and say these doubts and little wobbles that we all have are a necessity in business, I think it’s our way of getting all the fears and obstacles that we put in our way, out there and we are made to address them.  I know if I have a concern I tend to shove it to the back of my mind and try to forget about it, but after a while the back of my mind gets a bit full, so when I go to shove a small issue in my back-office memory bank, my brain says ‘erm nope I’m too full time to get it all out’ and that’s where the wobbles come from.

When we have these wobbles everything comes out, you name it, it’s coming out, from that daft issue a few months back to the full on ‘aaaagggghhh I’m an imposter’ the imposter part comes out because you have reached a limit and doubting EVERYTHING, not because you are an imposter!

What should we do? 

So, what should we do when we have these wobbles or worse an anxiety attack, well don’t do what I did last week, which was to try and fight it and fob it off as it will just win and consume you, my Friday was a complete washout and felt like I had taken a battering my Mike Tyson!

What I should have done was step away from work, have a cuppa, grab a pen and pad, and offload everything that has been weighing on my mind, as well as reaching out to my close network of friends that I have gained in the online world since starting my business, and talking with them about my worries, because I know if I had done this within a short period of time from when it started I could have nipped this in the bud so much quicker than I did.

Pinpoint the issues

I was fortunate enough to e able to pinpoint where my wobble came from, it was down to subconsciously setting my sights too far ahead, yes you know the thing I told you not to do the other week! Well this will be why we shouldn’t, as it tends to sneak up on you and bite you in the derrière.  Don’t get me wrong I am not saying don’t plan, I am all for planning and goal setting, its great for you and your business to see where you are going.  I think for me it was more the panic of securing more clients, my goals are reachable and achievable, I just panicked and wondered am I good enough to serve the pants off more fabulous clients, and Friday my answer to that was no.

I can say that as of Monday this week, my whole mindset had shifted, I felt having that wobble was my way of clearing my head to make room for more amazingness and ideas on how to best support my current and new clients.

Reason

The list for this can be the long as your arm, you may find it is all the small things that have hit you or things you have been storing up over a course of time, then the smallest thing will tip that balance.

  • Not enough work
  • Too much work
  • Lack confidence
  • Imposter syndrome
  • General health, tiredness and diet catching up with you
  • Money worries

Those I have listed are some of the biggest wobble points for many business owners and most are fixable, it’s finding that workable goal.

Pick yourself up

The longer you wallow in the wobble pit the longer it is going to take to get yourself back on track, acknowledge why you are having the wobble, write down workable solutions and dust yourself down and start afresh tomorrow, you must look after yourself peeps! Being a business owner is the best thing I have done when it comes to work, but honestly, it is the most stressful thing I have done too, we are incredibly hard on ourselves as business owners.

So, acknowledge the wobble and the reasons behind it, stop dismissing yourself, and that is a warning to myself as well.

Get in touch

If you have had wobbles and they are connected to not knowing which way to turn with your workload then please do get in touch, I would love to sit with you and go through some solutions in order to make stress levels calm down, even just thrashing out some ideas can make things seem less angsty.

 

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Habits can be broken!

Habits can be broken!

 

Happy New Year to you all

I was going to start 2018 with a blog about being kind to yourself and going easy through the month of January, but I have done that in December, and reiterated it on my Facebook page, so I thought this week I would focus on shifting those habits, you know the ones that are keeping you stuck!

We all have them, and research shows we can break habits within 28 days, so if you are thinking of putting any resolutions in place remember to be patient as behavioural and habit changes take time.

Let’s look at those things that can stop you in your tracks and keep you stuck:

Procrastination

This is a biggie and one that hits everyone at some point in the day, yes, I said day, I would be very surprised and would want to work with the person who never gets hit by this.  But instead of beating yourself up over getting hit by procrastination, embrace it and look at it with a different view, look at what you are doing that is blocking you, is the task you are doing too big for the time you have? Is the task too complicated and you just haven’t a clue on how to progress or even start it?

Once you have figured out the why, the how is so much easier, its like drilling down when you search the Internet, can’t, won’t and don’t, won’t give you the answers, you have to be more specific and it’s the same when looking at the tasks that are keeping you stuck.

Tools

You can spend an age searching for the right tools for the job, keep this simple! Pick the tools you need to get by on a day to day basis, aim for the free versions, you’ll find most free versions will be enough to get you started, to be honest, 90% of my daily tools are on the free version and have been using them for the best part of 4 years.  Trello, Canva, Dropbox, most scheduling tools have decent free versions.

Distractions

There are 100s of distractions during your working day, most invade your space without you paying any attention, email, social media, phone, visitors, chores, you name it they are there in abundance, and they may not take up tons of your time, but together they can really eat into your productivity and time.

A couple of tips to get past those distractions:

  • Check your personal social media before you sit at your desk, maybe over breakfast or your morning coffee, this eliminates the need to check it when you log on
  • Log straight onto your business page, and turn off notifications
  • Only check your email twice a day and keep the actual program closed, this avoids over checking
  • If you get notifications on your phone put your phone out of sight or even on Do Not Disturb. If you can turn the notifications off.
  • Be firm with visitors, this took a long time for me as people would see my car on my drive and POP in for a coffee and a natter as I was home, of course, I’m home, my business is home-based, but nearly 4yrs into my business and I have this one under control, that is mainly due to having my office at the end of my garden, I don’t hear my doorbell
  • Chores! Now this one I did struggle with and sometimes still do, before heading out to my office I tend to fly around my house and do a quick tidy up after my children set the clothes bomb off, but I limit that to a certain amount of time then off to work I go, it’s finding that balance to make you feel like you have done some bits but also taking your business seriously.

Changeable

The things I have mentioned are the common ones that I have heard from my clients, these are the things that suck up their time, and make them feel stuck, but these are the things they can change. The small tweaks can make the biggest differences.

This Year 

If this year is the year for you to change what you do with your time, and try to gain control of hours, and outsourcing is on your list, then do get in touch, I am so excited to be able to carry on supporting my current clients and taking on new clients, supporting them and their amazing businesses.

 

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My last for 2017

My last for 2017

Well, we have made it to the last working week of 2017! And what a hectic one it was, I had visions of taking it easy this week, kicking back, doing a spot of office house cleaning, tidying up my downloads folder, clearing my inbox, scheduling in posts for the festive period, tieing up loose ends…………How many did it get done! Well as I sit and write this now, precisely none haha

 

I find myself in a bit of a reflecting mood as I pen my last blog of the year, I must say this year has probably been my best year since starting Remote Admin Services back in January 2014, a lot has changed in those few years.  I am rounding this year off totally different to how 2016 was finishing, this year I am finishing with a stack of work, and more happy clients than ever before.

 

What happened?

I think it is important to be flexible with your business, and not keep yourself stuck, we as people evolve and change this is the same with our businesses, we need to embrace how our business changes and go with the flow, so for me when I first started out I was Remote Admin Services, this year saw a change to my brand, it was given a massive overhaul by the ever so talented and gorgeous Vicki Nicholson of Branding Therapy, we gave my brand the personal touch and tweaked my name to Remote Admin Services with Claire, this gave it a more personal touch. Vicki is the lady you should speak to if you are looking on refreshing your brand, she even has amazing programmes that guide you to building a better brand, check it out HERE

I had the social media genius that is Beckie Coupe of Infinity with Beckie Coupe run through my social media, giving me every hint, tip, trick and advice she could. Beckie is the go-to lady when it comes to anything social media, she really knows a lot and has the ability to stop you from running around in a frenzy every time Facebook changes something.  Beckie also has the best monthly email services, its called The Social Media Accelerator, this is an email sent to you once a month with so many content ideas to see you through the month.

Then I had the super productive Sarah Cornforth of The Productivity Princess run through some of my processes to see where I could tweak my personal business time, I found that I was super productive with my client work, but my business was suffering, but Sarah helped me put that right. Sarah also has a fab monthly club that helps you move from stuck to productive, Her Zen Productivity club is fab and worth checking out.

Then there is what I can only describe as the female version of the Tasmanian devil, the little whirlwind of ‘getting sh!t done’ the one that knows what to say at the right time, the one that just knows what you are thinking and gives you the self-belief that you really can do this and that you really are awesome, or if that doesn’t work a swift kick up the backside! she really is the cream of the crop Emma Holmes of Rebels and Rockstars, she really has been the catalyst to my year being the success that it has been, I have several times contacted Emma having a wobble and she has put me right. I would love to set you a challenge to find someone as open, passionate, genuine, to the point, empathetic and knowledgeable as Emma. She is by far my biggest reason for doing so well this year.

I have also found massive support this year in my VA groups, I have found a great foundation of support and gives me ideas for further changes and tweaks to my business.  This is what I mean about being open and willing to give your business a helping had to evolve and change.

 

Upcoming in 2018

I don’t like to plan much before the year is out, and to be honest, I don’t plan much in January full stop, I find it a busy month and one that a lot of people struggle with, so adding goals and must do’s to an already depressing month doesn’t sit well with me.

So, it is a case of sit and watch this space, I know that I will be kicking as much backside as I have done this year if not more, I will continue to grow my confidence, my services and my client base, and more importantly enjoy what I do.

 

Log off and kick back

As I mentioned in my last blog Take having a break seriously you need this break, you need to step away from your business even if it is just for a few days, you need to unplug and recharge your batteries, we have all been working like lunatics this year, burnout isn’t an option, so make sure you take time off.  As much as we all love what we do, it can soon become a chore!

 

At the start of this blog, I had said I hadn’t done half the things I was planning to do this week, even schedule in posts for the festive season, and you know what! I may just go a little rogue not schedule and just play it by ear, I would normally have things planned in for this time of year, but I think this year, I will see what mood I am in on a particular day and post something relevant! Let’s see how that one works out, if it doesn’t work I will be crying to Beckie 🙂

 

So, for now, I want to thank you all for reading and engaging with me this year, it has been a full on year, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I hope 2018 brings you health, wealth and happiness.

 

All my love xx

 

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Take having a break seriously!

Take having a break seriously!

This is a pretty short but sweet blog post this week. Business owners are a rare and strange breed of people, in our employed days I am sure we would have been incredibly vocal on our rights and working hours etc, but as soon as we run our own business all normal services flies out the window.

I’m here to say…………

YOU NEED TIME OFF! You need to take a break from what you do, but saying it isn’t enough, making yourself accountable is what is needed!

So grab your diary and put in there your last working day and when you plan to return to work and put it out there on your social media, trust me you will not implode, your business will not collapse.  But you could come January.

We all need a break, its simple! Don’t get me wrong I never used to take time off, in fact this year was the first year I actually took 2 whole weeks off during the summer holidays and funny enough my business was still there when I returned, in fact, I came back full of steam and raring to go and I have had one of the best quarters.

And this year I will be taking time off over Christmas, I have 2 young children (9&5) and they rightly so want as much mummy and daddy time as possible, and I have many many dates with my hubby, chocolate and Jack Daniels 🙂

What’s stopping you?

I can see you are still hesitating! Why? Are you worried you going to fall off the social media earth? If you are worried about that here are some tips:

  1. Look at your social media now, and what your current strategy is, then think how many times over the festive break do you want to post? I would suggest from 23rd December onwards once a day would be enough to engage with your crowd, as most will be off enjoying their break.
  2. Schedule in those posts over the next few weeks.
  3. Don’t post anything that is too heavy, traction maybe less over the holiday period, most of your crowd will see your posts, but they may not be in the headspace to take in too much heavy content, so keep it light and bitesize
  4. If you are posting over the festive break try not to load your posts with questions, as you will have to be there to reply to everyone, I am sure your family will not thank you for this!
  5. One tip I heard from the lovely Beckie Coupe from Infinity with Beckie Couple, was to schedule in some extra posts so it’s not the first thing you have to deal with on your return to work, as I am sure there will be other things that need your attention when you go back in January.

My dates

So this year my last day in the office will be Thursday 21st December and aiming to be back in the office Monday 8th January, now this has changed since I was held accountable to take time off, I originally said I would be back on the 4th as that is the day my children go back to school, but I am actually going to treat myself to an extra few day, why not?

So what days are you going to take off?

Is it time?

Busy business owners can get so stressed, feeling like they are between a rock and a hard place, never knowing where to turn, or how they are going to get out of the backlog that is building up, but because we are often a one-woman ship we feel we should be able to do everything on our own.  Which is often not the case at all, so if you are thinking that your workload in 2017 was too much then chances are 2018 it will only grow.

Don’t let your pride or worry stop you from looking at outsourcing, f you are already thinking your workload this year was tough there is a high chance you have left asking for help for far too long, don’t leave it another year, start looking for outsourcing help sooner rather than later.  With a VA we don’t tie you into a large hourly package, most if not all like myself offer hourly rates, most and again myself are very flexible, our aim is to help support business
owners, not make your life more stressful.

Why not put on your list for January to book a FREE 30 minute discovery call with myself and lets see if we can get you back from your admin breaking point.

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How to work from home productively

How to work from home productively

I know when I was in my old employed job, working from home was a breeze, I would often long for a ‘WFH’ day just to catch up on housework and have an easy day, but those days are well and truly gone.

 

Ever since I started my business it has been a steep learning curve on how to be as productive with my hours during the day, I have set hours due to having primary school age children, so I need to make sure I am as focused as I can be.  Running your own business throws up a lot of tasks that you wouldn’t have thought of when you were in your employed role.  So now you wear all the hats, you need to be able to juggle your time in the best way possible.

 

Granted, it this took me a really REALLY long time to get into the swing of, first my office setup wasn’t ideal at all, it was in a place in the house that was constantly busy, I moved around the house for a good year before I realised that this was a big problem to my productivity as I wasn’t able to close a door from the distractions, so for me I was lucky enough to have a wooden cabin at the end of my garden, and a lot of time and work (hubby’s blood and sweat) I finally got my office space!

But you do not need to have a cabin at the end of your garden, a space in your bedroom, a spare room or a space that isn’t in the thick of it will help, I have on occasions, when I must work when my children are home, I work from the kitchen! Thankfully that does not happen often as that is an even bigger distraction, I can see breakfast bowls in the sink and washing needs doing etc etc.

 

So, my tips for being as productive with your working day as possible are:

Suitable space 

As mentioned above having the right space is key, working from your kitchen may not be the best solution long term, look at trying to find a place in your house that you can close a door too.  Failing that maybe trying to rent a desk at an office block (like Regus) for a morning a week, to give you that away time.

Having that space will really help your productivity.


Plan

Before you log off the night before, grab your diary and plan for the following day. I use both a paper diary and my diary on my email system.  I make sure that whatever I have planned for my day is electronically logged with an alarm or timer.

I am slightly crazy with colour coding, so I have colours for each of my clients, colours for my personal work like content creation morning, or source images for memes etc, I make sure that
before I switch off my day is as planned as I possibly, now I know the unexpected can happen at any time, so I factor some time in just in case.  Always best to be on the safe side.

Timer

Now, I mentioned timers in my last point, this is quite important, and its one that I am getting used to as well, I actually log my hours now, as I found there were times where I would sit there and think ‘blinking heck where did today go’ and have that feeling of not achieving much.  So, I use a timer for my client work and have been using it for my business time too (timer is on now as I write this blog!) this gives me a clear indication of how much time I am spending on client work vs my business time.

If you do not want to use a timer on your PC then you can always do the visual aid of a timesheet and block out time physically, it is what works for you.  But you will start to see a pattern and you will see that you faff a lot too (I have a faff category on my timer!)

Set a duration

This may sound weird but give it a go.  So, I know that I can lose HOURS yes HOURS sourcing images for my blogs or my memes, so I now set myself a duration, 30 mins a day or 2hrs a month etc to do that task, and set an alarm, it’s as plain as its simple, some tasks can literality suck up crazy amounts of time (social media being a biggie).

It is all about making sure you have the right balance of time on your tasks that need to get done to the ones that would be nice to do, we can’t run our businesses on doing the tasks we love, sadly that doesn’t work, we all must do those we dislike (or outsource them) both tasks go hand in hand. You will find if you spend too much time on those tasks you dislike you will start to procrastinate and put it off which is when things get out of hand.


Regular breaks

This is so important to your day, sitting at your desk FORCING yourself to do things for hours, is going to only put a negative spin on your day and you will become disheartened, it is impossible to stay focused on any tasks loved or loathed for hours on end, we all need breaks, not just for our mind but for our body too. We need to get up and walk or stretch and clear your mind. So, schedule in short breaks every 1hr -1.5hrs your mind and body will thank you for it, trust me!


Be forgiving

We are our worst critics, we are honestly the worst, we almost bully ourselves, if we don’t get something done on time, or we haven’t pulled 4 blogs out of thin air in an hour we chastise ourselves
and make ourselves feel incompetent! And why? Could you imagine your old boss doing this to you? You would be in HR filing a complaint, so why do we do it to ourselves? Be forgiving to yourself, you may not have done everything you wanted to for that day, if you haven’t managed to get something done that day when you go to plan for tomorrow and add that task onto your plan, schedule it in and give it a duration.

When being creative, you can’t force those creative juices, and sometimes in small batches, you get more done, instead of forcing hours of paper staring do lots of small blocks of 20 mins! Mornings are also better for me to create my content.

Don’t bully yourself! You are only human after all 💕

If there are tasks that you are constantly struggling with, instead of suffering why not think about outsourcing them, I am always happy to have a chat with you and see if I can help you moving forwards, book a discovery call with me and lets see if I can take some or even one of those dreaded tasks from you.

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5 Ways to start your day right

5 Ways to start your day right

Now you are either a morning lover or not, you can’t be both.  And it’s the same if I was to ask if you are a night owl?

Me, personally am a night owl, always have been, but I know that I need to start going to bed earlier, as I have a 9 and 5-year-old which at times wake up early, and even though they have tiny feet, the noise they create would be similar if bigfoot lived in my house!

Anyway, I digress…….If you are already a morning person you will probably already have a decent routine to kick-start your day, if you are trying to become a morning person and want to get the most out of your day, then starting on the right foot is a must.  Here are 5 tips that can help you to get your day started to give you the best day possible: –

1. Wake up earlier

If you have children this may be a tad difficult, as I know it is my house, but try and get up 30-60mins before they rise, if you are unable to wake before them, then set your alarm for half hour earlier, this will give you that time to get up and jump in the shower and wake up.

2. Social Media!

Ok so I have found this one to be invaluable, I have found that checking my own personal social media before work has helped me start my working day with a clear focus.  I found that prior to this new addition to my routine I would sit down at my desk and logged on I was side-tracked with my personal newsfeed, now I have found time to squeeze in my personal newsfeed I am able to crack on with my work

3. Breakfast!

Ok this is a contentious one for me, I have always struggled to eat early in the morning, I’ve never been a breakfast fan during the week, probably due to the fact I was always out the door early, off to meetings or travelling that there was no time to eat, but I have found that now I have the time to eat, I am making more effort to grab something filling and healthy, stay away from sugar-laden cereals, these are great to start with that sugar boost by half hour later and your flagging again.  I have started to make these little egg muffins things that I can make at the weekend, freeze then throw in the microwave in the mornings for a few minutes!

4. Hydrate……

This one is key, I can’t tell you how important this one is, keeps you in tip-top form and your brain on fire (technical I know!) – its a little harder this time of year, as you find you are not trying to quench your thirst as much as you do in the summer months but to make water have more appeal in the winter months, maybe look at adding a little barely squash to a few glasses, or have hot water and lemon?

5. Fresh air,

I am lucky enough to do the school run daily, so I get a good half hour fresh air before I sit at my desk for the morning, but I do feel ready for my day once I have had that walk and fresh air, it just kind of blows those cobwebs away. Remember those days of commuting to the office either by public transport or driving, it’s that being out and about in the hustle that wakes you up and feel ready for the day.

Now, I am not saying these will work for you, I am not an expert in this field,  but I know I have put them in my morning routine over the last few months and I feel personally it has made a difference to me. I wished I had the time to get to the swimming pool in the mornings but now logistically it’s just not possible.

What is your current routine? Do you feel your routine needs to be revitalised?

 

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