Habits can be broken!

Breaking habits

 

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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